The Nissan Altima is proof that not every vehicle has to compete with supercars. Since its introduction in 1992, this compact car has excelled thanks to its economical price, fuel economy, and subtly sleek styling. 

The Nissan Altima: A Thoroughly Modern Passenger Car

The Nissan Altima is one of the best examples of a modern compact car, and is built to provide affordable performance, reliability, and top-of-the-line features at an affordable price. It’s a four-door, compact or midsize sedan, with a front engine and front-wheel drive, and plenty of interior space for both cargo and passengers.

The History Of The Nissan Altima

Today’s Altima can trace its heritage back to the Nissan Bluebird, which is a Nissan compact car that was first introduced in 1957. The Bluebird, in turn, originated from the very first vehicles built by Nissan in the early 1900s – so the Altima can trace its heritage back more than 100 years!

The current Altima was first introduced in 1992 to replace the Bluebird. Since then, the Altima has gone through six generations of model changes, and has sold more than 4 million since 2002.

The Nissan Altima Introduced Luxury Features To Economy Cars

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One of the unique things about the first-generation Altima was that it had great performance and upscale features even in the mid-range GXE models. All Altimas had a 150 hp I4 DOHC engine, with either a 5-speed manual transmission of a 4-speed automatic, providing the cars with surprisingly good acceleration of 9.4 seconds from 0-60 mph. 

Other features included power windows and power retracting antenna, 6-inch speakers, and a digital clock in the dashboard. In addition, the luxury GLE models had a heads-up display (HUD) which is still a rarity in modern vehicles. 

A History Of Nissan Altima Models 

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In total, there have been six generations of Nissan Altima:

  • U13 (1993-1997) – The initial generation of Altima featured plenty of power and features, as well as advanced safety features like automatic shoulder belts.
  • L30 (1998-2001) – The second generation Altima included a roomier cabin, new styling, and a revised glove box and cup holders, as well as available features like fog lights, alloy wheels, and white-faced gauges.
  • L31 (2002-2006) – The L31 was built on the Nissan FF-L platform, and marked the transition of the Altima into the midsize segment from the compact segment, with 118 cubic feet of interior volume.
  • L32 (2007-2012) – The L32 was available with features like Smart Key system, Bluetooth, ABS braking, and an optional V6 engine, and was one inch shorter than the L31 model.
  • L33 (2013-2018) – The L33 Altima was larger than the L32 model, but over 100lbs lighter, and included modern features like a fuel-efficient CVT and more angular appearance. 
  • L34 (2019-present) – The latest Nissan Altima is available with features like semi-autonomous driving with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility Suite, a variable-compression turbocharged engine, and all-wheel drive on some 2.5 liter models.

The Nissan Altima In The News

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Some Nissan Altima owners have reported that their CVT transmissions are failing at a high rate, but the NHTSA has not issued a recall of the affected models. More recently, Nissan spent more than $170 million at its Smyrna, Mississippi plant to prepare it for the production of new Altima models.

Celebrity Endorsements Of The Nissan Altima 

Unfortunately, economy cars like the Nissan Altima do not have many notable celebrity owners. Celebrities who drive Nissans – like Robert Downey Jr. and Usain Bolt – tend to opt for the high-performance Nissan GT-R, rather than the Altima.

The Most Popular Nissan Altima Groups 

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A few of the best user groups for Nissan Altima owners include the Nissan Altima Forum, and Nissan Club. 

The Nissan Altima – 100 Years Of Passenger Car Heritage

The Altima can trace its history directly back to some of the first-ever passenger cars – and today’s Altima does its job well, functioning as a reliable, easy-to-drive, and fun passenger vehicle with plenty of modern features.