The model name Altima came first in on 1992. Nissan Altima was to be set between the Nissan Sentra and Nissan Maxima. So it was bigger, more luxurious and more powerful than Sentra but not much as Maxima.
Nissan Maxima was produced in USA and was offered in North and South America, Australia and Middle East. In other countries there was another model offered that fit by dimensions between the Altima and Maxima which was called Teana. The fifth generation Nissan Altima (L33) was rebadged as Nissan Teana in some other target markets than USA including Japan.
The term Altima was first a trim level of Nissan Leopard offered only in JDM. Then the term made way to trim levels of Laurel model sold in Central America and Caribbean. Wen Nissan decided to discontinue the Stanza model, Altima took its place as a compact car for the first generation. Through time Nissan Altima grow bigger into mid-sized car. Interestingly all Altima models have been built inside USA along with Japan and then other places of the planet to provide the demand.
The main competitors of Nissan Altima today are Honda Acord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda 6, Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, Ford Fusion and VW Passat.
Following up the FF drivetrain layout (Front Engine/Front Wheel Drive), Nissan Altima was never intended to be a performance sedan. The current Nissan Altima on production is from the sixth generation which come in seven different trim levels for USA car market.
Power comes from two Inline-4 gasoline engines. The base model engine is a 2.5L direct injection naturally aspirated rated at 188 hp and 180 lb.ft. It is derived from the previous generation but was intentionally retuned for better output power and fuel efficiency. The top end engine choice is the 2.0L Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) rated from 236 to 248 hp and 267 to 273 lb.ft. The Variable Compression technology makes the engine capable of producing different power output in different compression ratios. This engine came to replace the older V6 powertrain from the previous generation. This very engine is the world’s first production ready turbo engine equipped with the Variable Compression technology.
The sole transmission offered with all seven Nissan Altima trim levels is the automatic X-Tronic CVT. There is also an Intelligent AWD system available for the first time on Nissan Altima but unfortunately it is only offered with the base engine option, the 2.5L Inline-4.
Back in 2002 when it first came to the market, Nissan Altima was named “North America Car of the Year”. In 2010 NHTSA gave Altima the “Highest Front-Impact Crash Safety Rating: 5 Star”. In 2019 Green Car Journal picked Nissan Altima as one of the finalists into the list of “2019 Green Car of the Year”.
In 2019 and 2020, IIHS gave Nissan Altima the “Superior Rating” for front crash prevention system (Vehicle to Vehicle) in midsize sedan segment. It was also IIHS “Top Safety Pick” of 2020 for the 5th straight year. In 2018, JD Power and Associates gave the “Highest Rank Midsize Car in Initial Quality” award to Nissan Altima. In 2019, Nissan Altima won Automobile Mag’s “2019 All-Stars”, Autotrader’s “One of the Best New Cars” and AutoPacific’s “Best in Class Vehicle Satisfaction Midsize Car” awards as well.
Nissan Altima stands behind Rouge model as Nissan’s second best-selling model of first quarter 2020. On third of which went to rental fleets. Although high sale figures are joyful to the automakers but It was shown that high volume sales to rentals affected Nissan Altima’s value as a used-car and Nissan’s brand image both in a negative way.
Nissan Altima lacks the character and the performance of Maxima model. Well, at first it was never intended to be a performance vehicle but a daily drive sedan and besides, if one is looking for more performance, 300 horsepower Nissan Maxima can do the trick.
The starting retail price of Nissan Altima is at 24,100 USD for the base S trim level and reaches high as 35,180 USD for top of the ladder Platinum VC-Turbo version.