These Are The Nissan Altima Best Years to Buy Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you ready to hit the road in a sleek and stylish Nissan Altima, but feeling overwhelmed by the array of model years to choose from? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

As one of the most sought-after cars on the market, the Nissan Altima has earned a reputation for its unbeatable combination of affordability, comfort, and fuel efficiency.

But with so many options, how can you be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck?

Fear not, as we take you on a journey through the highs and lows of the Nissan Altima’s evolution, revealing the top model years for reliability and value.

Buckle up and get ready to make an informed decision that will have you cruising down the highway in style!

Nissan Altima Best Years

Top Nissan Altima Model Years

When you’re considering a Nissan Altima, it’s essential to know which model years are the best and which ones to avoid. In this section, we’ll explore the top Nissan Altima model years and their features.

Best Model Years

Some of the best years for Nissan Altima include 1993, 1996, 2005, 2011, and 2020-2023. Let’s discuss these years in more detail:

  • 1993: The introduction year of the Nissan Altima. It offered excellent dependability and a smooth driving experience.
  • 1996: Lauded for its reliability, this model year featured a comfortable ride and responsive handling.
  • 2005: A great choice if you want a reliable and fuel-efficient sedan. This model offers a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine providing 175 horsepower.
  • 2011: One of the most reliable years for the Altima, the 2011 model boasts minimal registered complaints and impressive features, including beautiful design, responsive handling, and exceptional fuel economy.
  • 2020-2023: These recent models continue the trend of excellent dependability, with modern features, advanced technology, and few reported issues.

Worst Model Years

On the other side of the spectrum, the Nissan Altima Years to Avoid are due to engine, powertrain, and electrical issues:

  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2009
  • 2013
  • 2016
  • 2019

These specific model years have been reported to have higher instances of problems and should be carefully considered before purchase.

By familiarizing yourself with the best and worst years for the Nissan Altima, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your next vehicle.

Performance and Comfort

Driving Experience

When driving a Nissan Altima, you can enjoy a comfortable and smooth ride, especially in the 2011 and 2012 models.

The Altima is praised for its reliability and comfortable interiors. The V6 engine offered in certain models provides a strong performance that makes your driving experience even more enjoyable.

For a midsize sedan, the Nissan Altima delivers on both comfort and performance.

As a result, you can expect a well-rounded vehicle that can cater to your needs, whether you are driving for daily commutes or longer road trips.

Fuel Efficiency

The Nissan Altima is known for its fuel efficiency. When equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, the Altima can achieve up to 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

This is due to its efficient engine design, which includes a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with some models also offering a 3.5-liter V6 engine for increased power and performance.

To further improve gas mileage, the Altima features a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that optimizes engine efficiency. This helps you save money on fuel costs while reducing your environmental impact.

With the right balance of comfort, performance, and fuel efficiency, the Nissan Altima can be an excellent choice for a midsize sedan.

Affordability and Budget

The 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2012 models are known for their affordability, reliability, and smooth driving experiences.

On the other hand, you should avoid the 2002, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2016 model years due to reported issues with the engine, transmission, and other components.

A used Nissan Altima from the beginning of the current generation can also be a solid option if your budget supports a newer model.

However, if you’re looking for something more affordable, the older models are still a great choice as they are plentiful and easier on your wallet.

Here are a few factors that can influence the affordability of a Nissan Altima:

  • Depreciation: As with any car, depreciation impacts the overall cost of owning a Nissan Altima. The good news is that older models tend to have a lower depreciation rate, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  • Insurance rates: A car’s insurance rate is influenced by factors like age, mileage, and features. Older models typically have lower insurance rates when compared to newer ones, so you may save some money when insuring an older Nissan Altima.
  • Fuel efficiency: The fuel efficiency of a Nissan Altima will vary depending on the model year and engine options. Make sure to check the EPA estimated fuel economy numbers for the specific model you are interested in. Generally, newer models will have improved fuel efficiency, which can help you save money on gas over time.
  • Maintenance and repair costs: As a car ages, maintenance and repair costs may increase. However, Nissan Altimas are known for their reliability, so you can expect a reasonable cost of ownership. By choosing one of the recommended model years, you’ll likely minimize any unexpected repair bills.

Safety and Equipment

When it comes to safety equipment, the Nissan Altima has you covered. In recent years, the Altima has received high safety ratings.

The 2020 model being a Top Safety Pick at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and receiving five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash testing.

The Altima comes standard with a rearview camera, making parking and backing up a much easier experience. You’ll have a clear view of what’s behind you and any potential obstacles in your path.

Climate control is another feature you can enjoy in your Nissan Altima. The sophisticated climate system adjusts the temperature inside the cabin based on your preferences, ensuring that you and your passengers stay comfortable during long drives.

The equipped keyless entry system adds an extra layer of convenience to your daily routine. With this system, you won’t have to fumble around with your keys to unlock your car.

Simply have the key fob on you, and the doors will unlock as you approach the vehicle.

You can also look forward to a premium audio system in the Nissan Altima. The available Bose sound system offers exceptional audio quality, so you can fully enjoy your favorite tunes while driving.

In summary, the Nissan Altima offers various safety features and equipment, such as a rearview camera, advanced climate system, and keyless entry system, to make your driving experience as comfortable, safe, and enjoyable as possible.

Notable Generations and Model Years

First Generation (1993-2001)

The first generation of the Nissan Altima started in 1993, offering a mid-size sedan that packed reliability and affordability. In 1996, the Altima received a minor facelift, making it an appealing choice for a used vehicle.

During this time, the Altima was praised for its smooth engine performance and comfortable ride.

Second Generation (2002-2006)

The second generation began in 2002, bringing some changes to the exterior and interior design.

However, the 2002 and 2005 models are considered some of the worst years for the Altima due to engine problems.

If you’re searching for a used Nissan Altima, you might want to avoid these years. From 2003 to 2006, the Altima had improvements in performance, but some engine issues persisted.

Third Generation (2007-2012)

The third generation of the Altima started in 2007, featuring a sleeker design and improved fuel efficiency. The 2009 Nissan Altima is another model to avoid due to engine-related concerns.

However, 2011 and 2012 were good years for the Altima, offering budget-friendly maintenance and a reliable performance.

Key features of the 2007-2012 models:

  • Available in sedan and coupe body styles
  • 2.5L inline-4 or 3.5L V6 engine options
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) available

Fourth Generation (2013-2018)

The fourth generation began with the 2013 Nissan Altima, which had a stylish redesign and improved fuel economy.

Unfortunately, the 2013 model also experienced engine problems, making it another year to avoid if you’re considering a used Altima.

The following years, including the facelifted 2016 Nissan Altima, saw improvements in reliability and performance, however, some concerns about the CVT transmission remained.

Fifth Generation (2019-Present)

The current fifth generation started in 2019, with the Altima receiving significant upgrades in technology, performance, and design.

The 2019 Nissan Altima is considered one of the best years due to these enhancements.

Moving forward, the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Nissan Altima models continue to provide excellent dependability and advanced features like available all-wheel drive, making them great options for those looking for the latest Altima models.

As you explore the different generations and model years of the Nissan Altima, remember to consider their performance, reliability, and any known issues.

Comparisons With Honda Accord Models

Honda Accord

It’s also helpful to compare the Altima to other midsize sedans, such as the 2021 Honda Accord.

  • Performance: Engine options and performance may vary depending on the year and trim of the Honda Accord. Some years offer more powerful engines, while others have a focus on fuel efficiency. Be sure to check the performance specifications for the models you are considering.
  • Features: Depending on the year, the Honda Accord may offer varying levels of technology and safety features. Research the standard and optional features available for each year to find the best fit for your needs.

By considering these factors and comparing the Honda Accord to other midsize sedans, you can make a more informed decision when looking for the best years of the Nissan Altima. Happy car hunting!


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