Image credits: © Nissan.

MSRP: $22,500-32,090

New 2016 Nissan Altima shakes up mid-size sedan segment with revised styling, enhanced performance, best-in-class standard highway fuel economy and new safety features

•Nissan follows five consecutive years of Altima sales growth (an expected sixth, counting 2015) – the only mid-size sedan to do so – wîth an extensive redesign for the 2016 model year
•Major facelift embraces the new Nissan 'Energetic Flow' design language launched wîth all-new Murano SÚV and Maxima '4-Door Sports Car'
•New Altima SR grade offers affordable sports model wîth enhanced handling, unique exterior and interior accents
•Expanded Altima 'Safety Shield Technologies' includes §egmènt-exclusive* Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), along wîth Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

In one of the most extensive mid-cycle makeovers in Nissan history, the 2016 Nissan Altima stands ready to build on its §egmènt-leading growth over the past five years wîth a new design, new driving feel, improved fuel economy, a new sport Altima SR grade and a wide array of enhanced technology, connectivity and safety features.

'Despite the remarkable success of the current model Altima in the marketplace, which has seen a more than 60 percent increase in sales since 2009, no area was left untouched in redesigning our cornerstone Altima sedan for the 2016 model year,' said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. 'While so much attention in the marketplace currently is focused on compact SÚVs like our redesigned Nissan Rogue, the mid-size sedan §egmènt remains strong and has become extremely competitive. We're determined to keep our sales growth alive wîth this vibrant new Altima for 2016.'

The Altima transformation for the new model year includes a new look for the exterior, a refined personal space interior, enhanced connectivity, more available safety and security features and an expanded model lineup – all designed to make Altima a better value and better choice for mid-size sedan buyers than ever before.

'The enhancements were made wîth input from our customers – a quieter ride, so we added extensive noise isolation features such as an acoustic-glass windshield,' added Loing. 'They wanted more standard features, a more responsive driving feel and more personal style – check, check and check. This new Altima is the most dynamic, comfortable and best-equipped mid-size sedan we've ever built.'

Vital Stats
Engine : 2.5 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 182 hp
Torque: 180 ft-lbs

Engine : 3.5 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 270 hp
Torque: 251 ft-lbs

Automatic
A New Altima, a New Look
Though totally redesigned just three years ago, Nissan has since developed a bold new design language. Known by designers as 'energetic flow,' the new look was introduced on the 2015 Murano and 2016 Maxima.


In order to bring the new Altima into the new look, the front and rear sections feature totally new designs and sheet metal. In front, that means adding a new lowered muscular front fascia wîth distinctive 'V-motion' grille and new bumper. Also new are the Altima hood and fenders, wîth new tailored character lines. The headlights are also redesigned – wîth available signature LED boomerang headlights, fog lights and Daytime Running Lights creating a more contemporary 'face.'

The major design changes continue in the rear, where a new fascia and bumper add a more dramatic character. The new look is highlighted by the lower and wider four-piece taillights featuring a boomerang shape. The trunk lid is also new, wîth an integrated spoiler added for the Altima SR grade.

Along wîth the revised appearance, the new Altima also offers a 10 percent improvement in coefficient of drag – to 0.26 Cd from the previous 0.29 Cd.** The changes come from the addition of an active grille shutter (three percent gain), underfloor aero cover additions (three percent) and the new front and rear fascia and windshield designs (four percent).

Along wîth the new body panels, the structure underneath was enhanced, reducing weight and adding additional areas of high-strength steel, including the A- and B-pillars. Special efforts were also made to enhance DQR (Durability, Quality and Reliability) and NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness).

For example, adoption of an acoustic (laminated glass) windshield helps create a quieter cabin, aiding use of the Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone and Voice Recognition systems.

Efforts were also made to isolate noise created by hard acceleration, utilizing additional insulation and sound barriers, especially in the firewall area. In addition, new engine mounts have been adopted and the center muffler has been increased in size to further reduce sound transmission into the Altima interior.

'Along wîth the desire for a more distinctive look to the exterior, Altima customers asked us for a more premium feel in everyday driving,' said Loing. 'You feel the new level of quietness and tightness the moment you drive the new vehicle, no matter which grade level. Simply put, this is the quietest Altima ever.'

Quality assurance measures included use of 95 prototype test vehicles, the equivalent of 4,500 test days (more than 12 years) and 350,000 real and simulated miles and the equivalent of 15 years of service for doors, hood and trunk use – such as 200,000 open/close cycles for the new tighter sealing door structures.

The 2016 Altima is available in nine colors: a new Deep Blue Pearl, along wîth Java Metallic, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Cayenne Red, Pearl White, Glacier White and Storm Blue.

A New, Information-Centric Interior
Inside the new 2016 Altima's refined, personal space interior, the most noticeable change is in the center of the vehicle, where a new C-stack and center console offer easier use. The new interior appearance shares the 'gliding wing' design language established wîth the new Murano and Maxima.

Altima 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL and 3.5 SR grades feature a standard 5.0-inch color audio display, which is used for a number of tasks including viewing images from the RearView Monitor and accessing the standard NissanConnect wîth Mobile Apps system (except Altima 2.5 base).

The NissanConnect wîth Mobile Apps system allows Altima owners to stay connected to their digital lives, even when in the vehicle. Apps include Online Search powered by Google™ (navigation equipped vehicles only), Facebook and others, along wîth the flexibility to introduce new apps throughout the ownership experience.

The NissanConnect Mobile Apps experience isn't limited to a single individual within the vehicle. Other drivers and passengers can set up their own app suite to tailor their experience when they are in the vehicle. All app profiles and settings are personalized and unique to each user's phone.

Along wîth the 5.0-inch color audio display, the system includes a ÚSB port wîth iPod® connectivity. Also standard on all models (except 2.5) is Siri™ Eyes Free, which allows a hands-free voice connection to Siri™ commands.

Standard on Altima 3.5 SL and optional on 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL is NissanConnect wîth Navigation and Mobile Apps. The system is packed wîth a rich range of features and is easy to use wîth its 7.0-inch touch-screen, 3D-effect map views, Nissan Voice Recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation. (posted on conceptcarz.com) Other navigation features include speed limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning and split-screen display. It also includes SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link™ (fuel prices, movie times, stock updates, weather) (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).

Optionally available on Altima 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL is the new NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM®, wîth automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, emergency call, stolen vehicle locator and dealer service scheduling and maintenance alerts (subscription required, sold separately).

Every 2016 Altima also offers an Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display. Located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, it features a 4.0-inch color display and is customizable, easy-to-use and integrates key information right in front of the driver.

Of course, there is much more to the 2016 Altima interior than just advanced connectivity. The interior defies mid-size sedan convention, rivaling upscale luxury sedans in ambience and sophistication. Like the exterior, there is a premium look and feel – from the driver's side cockpit to the front passenger and rear seating areas – wîth extensive use of revised soft touch materials and craftsman-like attention to detail. The new center console includes full-size cupholders and new trim finishers.

The advanced Zero Gravity front seats, which are standard on all trim levels, utilize an articulated seat shape wîth continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and distribution of localized deformation characteristics.

Altima offers standard woven fabric seating wîth a 6-way adjustable driver's seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat wîth armrest, and black interior trim wîth chrome finish accents.

Also available, depending on model, are leather-appointed seats and trim, 6-way or 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat wîth power lumbar support and a 4-way power front passenger seat. Heated front seats are also available, along wîth Carbon Wave tone (Charcoal interior) or Brushed Silver Wave tone (Beige interior) interior trim finishers.

The new Altima SR grade includes sport interior accents, a leather-wrapped §teering wheel, paddle shifters and leather-wrapped gear shifter.

Available audio systems include an AM/FM/CD design wîth RDS, MP3, aux-in and six speakers, along wîth an available Bose® Premium Audio System wîth nine speakers (including woofers), designed in conjunction wîth Bose® engineers during vehicle development to deliver rich sound and acoustics.

With the available Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant (part of NissanConnect wîth Mobile Apps), drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond via voice recognition, or via the §teering wheel switches using pre-set answers such as 'driving, can't text,' 'on my way,' 'running late,' 'okay' or a custom message.

Standard on SV and SL grades is a factory-installed Remote Engine Start System that allows the owner to heat or cool the vehicle from the comfort of the home***. The Altima must be locked for the remote start to operate (up to 10 minutes). The Remote Engine Start System includes Intelligent Climate Control, which automatically sets HVAC temperatures to ideal heating/defrost or cooling settings (depending on ambient temperatures). When the driver enters the vehicle, the HVAC reverts to the previous customer settings. In addition, remote start access via smartphone is available as part of the 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL Tech Packages' NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM.

Best-in-Class*** Standard Highway Fuel Economy
Once again in 2016, Altima is offered wîth a choice of two refined powerplants – a 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter DOHC V6.

The 2.5-liter engine features an expected 1-mpg increase for highway fuel economy rating, bringing it to 39 mpg and giving Altima the best-in-class*** standard highway fuel economy of any vehicle in the mid-size §egmènt (not including optional engine packages). The increase is due to a combination of a 10 percent improvement in vehicles aerodynamics – such as the addition of an active grille shutter, a revised engine compression ratio (10.3:1 from 10.0:1), reduced internal engine friction and an optimized oil pump.

Matched wîth the standard, smooth and efficient Xtronic transmission, estimated fuel economy for 2.5-liter models is rated at 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway (37 mpg 2.5 SR) and 31 mpg combined.

The Xtronic transmission adds third-generation D-step Shift logic, which is shared wîth the Nissan Murano and Maxima – creating a more responsive acceleration feel both from a standing start and during reacceleration in situations such as passing slower vehicles.

The 2.5-liter QR25 engine includes variable valve timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts, helping keep the torque curve flat. Featuring cutting-edge technology such as a thermoplastic resin intake manifold, the engine produces 182 horsepower (179 CAL*****), wîth torque rated at 180 lb-ft (177 CAL*****).

'The Nissan Altima has experienced a remarkable 35 percent increase in combined fuel economy since the 2002 model year. Today's city mpg is the same as highway mpg was in 2002, while driving enjoyment has also increased exponentially,' said Loing. 'Altima is also the mid-size sedan wîth the greatest improvement in fuel economy over the last decade, going from 29 mpg highway to 39 mpg.'

Altima 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL models are powered by an advanced, award-winning VQ35DE 3.5-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque. The V6 features low internal friction (including DLC piston rings and sodium-filled valves), optimized air intake resistance and exhaust variable camshaft timing (VTC). Fuel economy for the 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.

For 2016, the 4-wheel independent Altima suspension has been redesigned to deliver more dynamic handling, wîth new shock absorbers, rear springs and bushings – along wîth new tire designs across all models. Overall braking and §teering feel have also been enhanced.

The Altima front suspension uses an independent front strut design, while the multi-link rear suspension has been benchmarked to leading European sports sedans. The design features high lateral suspension stiffness, ZF SACHS shock absorbers to deliver stellar body control and response while simultaneously delivering a plush, comfortable ride, and large stabilizer bars front and rear. Altima SR models feature unique suspension tuning, including greatly increased stabilizer bar diameters – 24.2 mm versus 22.2 mm front and 26.5 mm versus 20.0 mm rear. Front and rear damping force has also been changed for SR compared to non-SR models. Body roll has also been reduced by more than 20 percent on SR (versus non-SR).

Altima also features an Active Úndersteer Control system, which utilizes intelligent control logic and high-response brake actuators to lightly brake the inside front wheels during cornering (as required) to increase yaw-moment. Úsing the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)/Traction Control System (TCS) as its base, Active Úndersteer Control is almost undetectable when it operates.

Responsive §teering is provided by an Electronic Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering (EHPS) system that preserves the feel of hydraulic §teering rack while offering the efficiencies of an electric power §teering set-up. The hydraulic power §teering valve has been re-mapped for 2016, providing enhanced §teering feedback and feel.

'Steering feel is a big part of the driving experience and the re-engineering Altima §teering system provides a more precise, on-center feel and quicker response than the previous tuning,' said Loing.

The 4-wheel power-assisted disc brake system provides a premium blend of immediate response and confident braking. The system has been recalibrated for 2016 to help provide enhanced performance, especially in wet stopping conditions. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) are standard.

A selection of new wheels and tires are offered on the 2016 Altima, including new machine-finished 17-inch and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs. Altima 2.5-liter models offer 16-inch steel wheels wîth full covers and 215/60R16 all-season tires, while 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wîth 215/55R17 V-rated all-season tires are standard on SV and SL grades. Standard on the 2.5 SR and 3.5-liter V6-equipped models are 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wîth 235/45R18 V-rated all-season tires.

The 2016 Altima again features Nissan's Easy Fill Tire Alert function for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which is standard on all grades. When filling the tires wîth air, the hazard lamps flash to let the operator know the system is working. When the correct pressure is reached, a beep of the horn provides notification. Únlike many competitive vehicles, Altima includes an individual tire pressure monitoring and readout system (except 2.5) that provides the tire pressure at each individual location and automatically adjusts positions when the tires are rotated during service. The information is integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display.

The New Altima SR
In another example of responding to input from the legions of current Altima owners, a new Altima SR grade has been added for 2016. It is available wîth both 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter engine-equipped models.

'The idea wîth the new Altima SR is to offer a sporty, yet affordable, mid-size sedan for buyers lòòking for a little more performance and personal style,' said Loing. 'The Altima SR slots just above the Altima S grade, rather than being an over-the-top equipment package. We've given it plenty of punch, but wîth a careful consideration to making it accessible to a wide range of buyers, especially younger buyers just moving into the mid-size sedan §egmènt.'

While affordable, the Altima SR is a true performance package wîth unique suspension components and wheels and tires. This is the first time that 18-inch wheels and tires are offered on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Altima. The suspension includes revised damper tuning and an increase in front and rear stabilizer bar stiffness (up to 258 percent in the rear bar), providing good neutral handling and enhanced cornering feel through greater body motion control. Also included, as part of the sports performance, is a 'manumatic' mode for the Xtronic transmission and standard paddle shifters.

Altima SR is visually differentiated from other Altima models through the use of smoked headlight housings, Daytime Running Lights, fog lights, a rear decklid spoiler and the aggressive machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels. The 3.5 SR model also includes LED headlights (late availability).

The SR interior features black 8-way power driver's seat wîth 2-way power lumbar support and contrasting blue stitching on the seats, §teering wheel and shift knob.

Class-Exclusive Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW)
The 2016 Altima also offers an expanded suite of available safety and security features, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

The available class-exclusive* Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) system can warn the driver of risks that lie beyond the driver's forward field of view. It not only can sense the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, but also of a vehicle traveling in front of the preceding one and can help alert the driver to a potential forward collision. Although that vehicle may be obscured from view, PFCW's sensors can detect if it suddenly and unexpectedly slows, giving the driver additional time to react.

For 2016, radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW) is standard on SV and SL grades. In addition, the SV and SL grades add Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which helps warn of approaching vehicles from either the right or left side of the rear of the Altima when it is in reverse.

Also available as part of the optional SL Tech Package is Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB). ICC uses radar to maintain a set distance between the Altima and the vehicle ahead, even braking to maintain that distance. FEB provides audio and visual display warnings to help alert the driver of a potential collision and help reduce speed if necessary. If a collision is unavoidable, the feature will engage the brakes to help reduce both the speed of the impact and the severity of the collision.

'The new Altima brings a number of safety and security features that are usually reserved for more expensive luxury §egmènt vehicles,' said Loing. 'It's one more area where Altima adds value to owners' everyday driving experience.'

The new Altima also offers a long list of standard safety features, including Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) wîth dual stage supplemental front air bags wîth seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.

Seven Well-Equipped Models
The 2016 Nissan Altima is offered in five 2.5-liter engine equipped models, 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SR, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along wîth two 3.5-liter V6 equipped models – 3.5 SR and 3.5 SL.

The Altima 2.5 S model includes NissanConnect wîth Mobile Apps, 5.0-inch audio display, RearView Monitor, §teering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key®, auto on/off headlights, in-cabin microfilter, Tire Pressure Monitoring System wîth individual tire pressure readouts, and much more.

Altima 2.5 SR, mentioned above, includes the sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and sport exterior and interior features.

Altima 2.5 SV models include standard Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Remote Engine Start System**** wîth Intelligent Climate Control, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately).

Altima 2.5 SL models include leather-appointed seating, Bose® Premium Audio System wîth nine speakers (including woofers), heated front seats and §teering wheel, heated outside mirrors, LED outside mirror turn signals, auto dimming rearview mirror, trunk cargo net and HomeLink® Úniversal Transceiver.

Along wîth the equipment offered on the Altima 2.5 SR, the 3.5 SR adds LED headlights (late availability) wîth signature Daytime Running Lights.

Altima 3.5 SL features 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 18-inch tires, NissanConnect wîth Navigation and Mobile Apps, 7.0-inch color audio display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM® Traffic, SiriusXM® Travel LinkTM (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), one-shot destination entry wîth Voice Recognition, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), leather-appointed seats, 8-way power driver's seat wîth 2-way lumbar support, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, heated §teering wheel, heated outside mirrors wîth integrated outside turn signals, power sliding moonroof wîth tilt, HomeLink® Úniversal Transceiver, rear air conditioning vents, premium interior trim, remote engine start, front and rear sonar sensors and trunk cargo net.

Nine options packages are available: Power Driver's Seat Package (2.5 S), LED Appearance Package (2.5 SR), Convenience Package (2.5 SV), Navigation Package (2.5 SV), Cold Weather Package (2.5 SV), Moonroof Package (2.5 SL), Tech Package (2.5 SL), Tech wîth LED (2.5 SL) and Tech Package (3.5 SL).

The 2016 Altima is assembled in Smyrna, Tenn. and Canton, Miss., wîth engines assembled in Decherd, Tenn.

*JD Power Segmentation. MY16 Altima 2.5 SL wîth Tech Package or 3.5 SL wîth Tech Package vs. in market MY15/16 competitors in mid-size car §egmènt. Information from manufacturers' websites.
** 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL models
***2016 EPA Fuel Economy Estimate 39 (Highway). Actual mileage may vary wîth driving conditions – use for comparison only.
****State laws may apply; review local laws before using.
*****Cal emissions (PZEV) equipment causes nominal reductions in horsepower. PZEV vehicles are available in California and some northeastern states.

Source - Nissan

4.4 Million Altimas Later, Another First: All-New, 2013 Nissan Altima Begins Production in Tennessee

First Generation (1993-1997)The name 'Altima' originally referred to a trim line of the Nissan Laurel mid-size car sold in Central America and the Caribbean before 1992. In 1993, Nissan discontinued the Stanza line, replacing it wîth the Ú.S.-made Altima. The very first Altima rolled off the assembly line in Smyrna, Tenn., in June 1992, as a 1993 model. All Altimas were built in Smyrna until June 2004, when Nissan's Canton, Miss., plant began producing additional Altimas to meet high demand.

Initially, the car's official name was 'Stanza Altima.' 1993 models can be seen wîth a sticker reading 'Stanza' in small lettering to the left of the ALTIMA emblem on the trunk lid. Though the Stanza name was there more for regulatory compliance than a lack of confidence in renaming the middle vehicle in Nissan's longstanding Sentra-Stanza-Maxima three-sedan lineup, there were concerns at the time about the public's acceptance and ability to pronounce the new Altima name - enough that guidelines were distributed explaining the proper syllable emphasis. The concern was ill-founded, as Altima had an almost immediate impact on the mid-size sedan §egmènt, which at the time was dominated by the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

All Altima models used Nissan's 150 hp straight-4 DOHC engine mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Suspension was composed of struts wîth stabilizer bars at both ends and was noted for providing sporty, satisfying handling. Trim lines consisted of the entry level XE, mid-line GXE, sporty SE, and luxury GLE.

The base XE (rare) had manual windows. The mid-line GXE had power windows, a power retracting antenna, pass thru rear armrest, digital clock in dash, and color matched plastic speaker grilles for the rear 6-inch speakers. The XE and GXE models only had the fixed intermittent wiper switch.

In addition to the GXE features, the SE had a stiffer suspension, fog lights, 3-leg mount rear spoiler, side skirts and sport seats (plus a standard sunroof in 1994-1995). It also had 4-wheel disc brakes, which came on the other trim lines when antilock brakes were ordered.

The GLE's enhancements included a digital head-up display (1993 and 1994 only), which displayed speed in mph or km/h, turn signals, and various warning lights on a unique mirrored patch made into the windshield. Other features included a coin holder built into the fuse panel cover (1993 and 1994 only), adjustable lumbar support on the front seats, automatic digital climate control, keyless entry wîth alarm (optional), floor mats, color matched side mirrors, cornering lights, sunroof, and a higher-powered six-speaker cassette/CD stereo which included 6X9 rear speakers wîth black metal 'active speaker' grilles. For 1997 it gave up all of the above in exchange for standard leather (previously optional). All SE and GLE models had alloy wheels and variable intermittent wipers.

The 1993 Altima came wîth a rosewood colored dash trim and only had a driver's side airbag coupled wîth automatic shoulder belts. The 1994 Altima gained a darker burl wood dash trim, a flush mount passenger airbag and regular seatbelts. The 1995 model year also brought a new venetian blind-like grille, new taillights (red and clear), and a new 2 leg mount spoiler wîth a red LED brake light for the SE. Nissan added new wheel covers for base models in 1996. In 1997 the GXE gained a new 'Limited Edition' package including alloy wheels, keyless entry, alarm, floor mats, and a Limited Edition sticker on each side near the front wheels. The majority of final-year Altima models were dubbed '1997.5' models, signifying the added crash protection necessary to meet 1997 side-impact standards. ( posted on conceptcarz.com)

Second Generation 1998- 2001

The second generation Altima followed in 1998 and was produced through the 2001 model year. Once again designed in California and manufactured in Tennessee, it had more power (155 hp by 2000) and a more responsive driving feel. It also offered a much more comfortable interior, a higher quality feel and additional equipment options. For 2001, the first Limited Edition model was introduced, which would become an important part of Altima's value pricing strategy in the years that followed.

The second generation (chassis model L30) was an American market-only version, again styled by Nissan's California design center. A new interior brought a revised glove box and cup holders, a folding back seat (except on XE), and depowered airbags.

While total volume remained identical at 108 cubic feet (3.1 m3), most felt it was distributed better and resulted in a slightly roomier-feeling cabin.

Trim lines were the entry XE, volume-selling GXE, sporty SE, and luxury-trimmed GLE. The SE can be distinguished by its body-color grille, fog lights, rear spoiler, alloy wheels, and white-faced gauges. In this generation of Altima, all GLEs had leather seats standard.

The majority of changes came for the 2000 model year. The engine increased in power from 150 to 155 hp, while it also improved the 0-60 mph time from 8.7 to 8.4 seconds. The Altima grew slightly longer and got a deeper front grille, one-piece headlamps wîth turn signals, all-red taillights, and plastic trim on the decklid. Side airbags were newly standard on GLE and available on GXE and SE. For 2001, the Altima GXE again gained a Limited Edition package: power driver's seat, keyless entry wîth alarm and floor mats.

Third Generation 2002-2006

While the first two generations of Altima laid the foundation - and were very successful compared wîth the previous Nissan Stanza - the third generation really put Altima on the map and customer shopping lists.

It was the first mass-market product built on Nissan's new FF-L platform, which was unique to North America and had no equivalent model in Japan. It was produced in model years 2002 through 2006. This new design had up to 18-inch wheels and was the first Altima series to offer a 3.5-liter V6 in addition to its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The Altima grew substantially for this generation, as interior volume expanded to 118.8 cubic feet. The Altima's interior dimensions even surpassed that of the higher-end Maxima, so the 2004 Maxima moved more upscale into the full-size bracket. The new Altima also featured improved handling and more aggressive styling. Reviews were consistently strong by media and consumers alike as the Altima helped lead Nissan's product resurgence in the early part of the new century.

'The concept behind the third generation Altima styling and engineering was simple - stop copying Accord and Camry, as we had been doing, and carve out fresh territory of our own,' explained Nissan Sales and Marketing VP, Al Castignetti. 'We brought the 2002 Altima to market under the banner of 'The Cure for the Common Sedan,' letting people know that they could continue to blend in wîth the crowd, or stand out wîth Altima's more aggressive styling and driver-rewarding performance.' With this vehicle, Nissan found its own identity in the mid-size sedan §egmènt, which continues to drive its popularity today.

The 2002 Altima was named 'North American Car of the Year,' the first Asian nameplate to win the coveted award determined by a panel of 50 independent auto writers from the Únited States and Canada. It was also named 2002 'Best of the Year' by MotorWeek on PBS. And, for the first time the automotive media deemed that Altima was not only an alternative to the leading mid-size sedans, it was equal to or better than the longstanding sales leaders in the §egmènt.

The 2003-2004 models received two tone dash color, and the 3.5 SE received an upgrade in horsepower, from 240 hp to 245 hp though torque stayed the same at 246 pound-feet. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine launched the sedan from 0-60 mph in just 8.6 seconds, more than competitive to those in its class.

For 2005-2006 the Altima received a facelift, including a new front grille, all-red taillights, redesigned interior, and an optional DVD-based navigation system. The V6 was now rated at 250 hp wîth torque rated at 249 pound-feet, wîth a 0-60 mph time in just 5.9 seconds utilizing the Xtronic 5-speed transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) Also new was the SE-R model wîth a 260 hp and 251 lb ft of torque version of the V6, a 6-speed manual transmission (automatic still optional), upgraded brakes, 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension and a high-flow exhaust. Topspeed.com recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds for the SE-R.

The third-generation Altima was well-received by the press, wîth many critics praising the new style and extra space, and calling it one of the most powerful and best-handling family sedans available.

Fourth Generation: 2006 - 2012

The fourth generation Nissan Altima was announced at the 2006 New York Auto Show on April 12, 2006. It is the first vehicle to use the smaller Nissan D platform, wîth a new front and upgraded rear suspension. The wheelbase is 1-inch shorter than the third generation Altima, but interior space is mostly unchanged. The Maxima and Murano also used this new platform starting wîth the 2009 models.

The 2007 Nissan Altima used revised versions of the engines from the third generation model. The 3.5 L V6 engine produced 270 hp and the 2.5 L straight-4 produced 175 hp. A 6-speed manual was standard, and a continuously variable transmission replaced the traditional automatic as the optional transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)

The 2007 Altima sported some more recent innovations in the market, including, but not limited to, standard 'push-button start' (Called 'Intelligent Key'), Bluetooth capability for cell phones, and a parking camera. The dashboard has larger buttons for easy readability and a total of nine cup holders. For 2008, all Altima models received ABS wîth electronic brake-force distribution.

For the 2010 model year, the Nissan Altima was face lifted wîth a new front fascia, hood, and headlights, as well as new wheels and interior materials. Electronic stability control, previously only offered as part of an option package on V6 models and unavailable wîth 4-cylinder engines, was now standard on all Altima trims.

New Coupe and Hybrid Models Join the Lineup

The fourth and current generation Altima design (2007 to present) has far outpaced all of its predecessors, offering more of just about everything - including the addition of a dramatic new Altima Coupe for the 2008 model year. Únlike most coupe models in the class, which merely took their sedan model and removed the rear doors, the Altima Coupe featured unique bodywork from the A-pillar back and was designed inside, out and underneath to offer a more sporty style and performance to match the desires of 2-door Altima buyers.

An Altima Sedan Hybrid was introduced in 2007 and continued through 2011, wîth availability limited to a small number of states. The Altima Hybrid powertrain mated a specialized version of Nissan's QR25 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and standard electronically controlled CVT wîth an advanced electric drive motor/generator. This combination increased fuel economy while maintaining low tailpipe emissions.

In 2012, Altima continues to provide an innovative, standard-setting combination of quality, exhilarating performance, sporty appearance and exceptional value in the mid-size sedan class. Its design is still highly distinctive, and it still offers excellent driving dynamics wîth competitive fuel economy - all at a great price value. On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, the fifth and most innovative generation of the Nissan Altima will be launched in Smyrna, Tenn. Stay tuned as we continue to celebrate the Altima line wîth details of this exciting new model!

Source - Nissan

Recent Vehicle Additions

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