Best & Worst Years Nissan Altima: The Best Options

When it comes to finding a reliable mid-size sedan, the Nissan Altima stands out. Known for its cozy ride, great gas mileage, and features that make driving easier, it’s no surprise it’s a top choice. But not all Altimas are the same. Some years are winners, while others might give you a headache. That’s why we’re here to break down the best and worst years of Nissan Altima, so you can shop smart. Our goal? To guide you to the Altima that gives you the most zoom for your buck and steer you clear of the clunkers. Stick with us as we dive into each model year and show you which ones shine and which ones to skip.

Nissan Altima Generations

Nissan Altima’s Journey

We’ve seen the Nissan Altima grow up from a small car in 1992 to a roomy sedan that’s now a hit on the roads. Let’s take a quick walk through its past:

  • First Gen (1993-1997): The Altima made its first splash as a zippy little car, easy on the wallet and great on gas.
  • Second Gen (1998-2001): It got bigger, with more room to stretch your legs and a stronger engine to boot.
  • Third Gen (2002-2006): The Altima bulked up, flexing a V6 muscle and a sporty vibe.
  • Fourth Gen (2007-2012): Tech took the wheel with gadgets like a button to start the car and a smarter transmission to save gas.
  • Fifth Gen (2013-2018): It dressed to impress with sleek looks and started watching out for you with new safety tricks.
  • Sixth Gen (2019-Present): Today’s Altima is all about staying connected on the go and driving with less worry, thanks to top-notch tech.

What Makes Each Altima Stand Out

Every Altima brought something cool to the party:

  • First Gen: It was all about saving cash and sipping fuel.
  • Second Gen: More choices under the hood and more wiggle room.
  • Third Gen: It got a sporty kick and a fresh look.
  • Fourth Gen: Stepped up with gadgets that made life easier.
  • Fifth Gen: Got a sharp new suit and eyes on the road for safety.
  • Sixth Gen: It’s like your smartphone on wheels, with tech that helps you drive smoother.

Tech and Style

  • Tech Talk: Nissan keeps throwing in the latest features that make you say “wow,” like touchscreens that keep you hooked up and driver aids that have your back.
  • Style Files: The Altima’s looks have changed with the times, going from boxy to beautiful. These cool designs have helped keep the Altima on folks’ wish lists.

How We Pick the Good and Bad Years

We look at a few important things to decide if a Nissan Altima year is good or bad. The best ones are usually the most reliable, safest, and make their owners the happiest. These cars don’t break down much and keep their value well. The worst years, though, often have a lot of recalls, big problems, and don’t last as long. They might have issues like gear troubles or use too much oil, which can be a headache for their owners.

We’ve been through lots of reviews and reports about the Altima. Some years get lots of praise for being tough and lasting a long time, while others get a thumbs-down for not doing so well. People expect more from newer cars, like cool tech and comfy seats, which means those newer models have to be good at everything to get a gold star.

There are some years of the Nissan Altima that are just okay – they’re not the top of the class, but they’re not failing either. These might be a great pick if you want a good car without spending too much. They’re usually reliable enough and have a fair price, making them a safe bet if you’re not looking to take a gamble on your ride.

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Best & Worst Years for Nissan Altima 3rd Generation (2002-2006)

The 3rd Generation’s Key Features

When the Nissan Altima got a makeover in 2002, it came out with cool new stuff. It got a fancy system to make the gas pedal work better and stronger engines for those who like a zippy ride. The Altima also looked sharper on the outside and felt comfier on the inside, making it a big hit for folks who wanted a fresh and snazzy car.

Reliability and Performance

Looking at all the Altimas made from 2002 to 2006, we see that the 2003 and 2004 cars are the champs. People who own these say they run like a dream and don’t give them much trouble. They scored big points for being cars you can count on, so if you’re hunting for a good used Altima, these are the years to keep an eye out for.

Common Issues Reported

But, not all Altimas from these years are stars. The 2002 and 2005 Altimas have had some hiccups. Some had to go back to the shop for fixes because of parts that didn’t work right, like the transmission taking a nosedive or the engine being super thirsty for oil. These troubles gave these specific years a bit of a bad rap. So, if you’re thinking about getting one, you might want to skip these and pick another year.

4th Generation Altima’s Cool New Stuff (2007-2012)

We saw the Nissan Altima get some cool updates between 2007 and 2012. It got a start button so you didn’t need a key to turn it on, and it used less gas which saved you money. The biggest change was a new kind of transmission called CVT. It was supposed to make the ride smoother and help save even more on gas.

The Best Years to Get

If you’re looking for a good used Altima, go for the 2009 or 2011 models. They had the right mix of stuff that worked well and didn’t cost too much. Plus, they won awards which means a lot of people thought they were great cars.

Years with Some Trouble

But not all Altimas from this time were winners. The 2009 and 2010 cars had some trouble with their transmissions. They weren’t as smooth as they should be and broke down more than we’d like. There were also some steering problems. Because of these issues, those years got a bad rap, and people were less excited to buy them. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a used Altima; you might want to skip these years.

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Best & Worst Years for Nissan Altima 5th Generation (2013-2018)

Big Changes in the 5th Generation Altima

From 2013 to 2018, the Nissan Altima got a cool makeover. It looked better and moved smoother, saving you gas money. It also got some new safety stuff to keep you safe on the road, like warnings for when you drift out of your lane. Plus, you could hook up your phone and use neat tech to help you drive.

The Best Years for Happy Altima Owners

Looking at what people said and what the car experts think, the 2015 and 2016 Altimas were the stars. They didn’t break down much, and they had all the cool new extras people wanted. If you’re thinking about getting a used Altima, those years are your best bet.

The Years to Watch Out For

But hey, not all Altimas from 2013 to 2018 are winners. The 2013 and 2014 cars had some trouble, especially with the gear shifting part, called the CVT. They also had to go back to the shop for fixes more than we’d like. These problems messed with how much the car is worth now. So if you’re looking at one of these, check it out really well first, or you might end up spending more on fixes later.

Best & Worst Years for Nissan Altima 6th Generation (2019-Present)

What’s New with the 6th Gen Altima?

The latest Nissan Altima is a big step up! It’s packed with cool tech like ProPilot Assist, which helps with driving, and a fancy dashboard screen that makes picking your tunes easy. They’ve also put in better engines that save gas and give you more zip when you hit the pedal. We’ve checked them out, and these updates make the Altima a top pick for a smooth ride and keeping up with the times.

Ups and Downs of the New Altima

Every new car has its shiny moments and its hiccups. The new Altima’s cabin looks great, and it’s safe, with lots of gadgets to keep you out of trouble on the road. But, like any fresh design, some drivers have run into small tech troubles. It’s not a big deal—most times, the car company can fix them up with an update or a quick visit to the shop.

Which Years to Go For?

We’ve been digging into the details to help you spot the best and not-so-great years for the latest Altima. Since it’s still pretty new, we’re just starting to see how these cars do over time. The first year, 2019, had a few bumps as all new models do. But the next years, 2020 and 2021, look like they’ve ironed out those wrinkles. If you’re thinking about a newer Altima, these years are looking solid so far. We’ll keep an eye on them and let you know if anything changes!

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Nissan Altima Average Resale Values

We’ve noticed that the best years for a Nissan Altima can sell for more money. That’s because these cars don’t break down as much and people like them a lot. But the Altimas from years with lots of problems don’t sell for as much. Also, if there are many Altimas for sale from the same year, the price might go down. But if there aren’t many, the price could go up.

Let’s look at the numbers. A Nissan Altima from a good year will keep its value and won’t lose worth as fast as one from a bad year. Cars from bad years can have a lot of things wrong with them, so they get cheaper faster.


Our researches show which Altimas are stars and which are duds. Knowing their past can help you pick a good one. Some have it all – they run smoothly, last long, and don’t cost too much. Others? Not so much. They might cost you more trips to the car fixer.

Thinking about getting a Nissan Altima? We’re here to help. Our tip: go for the years we said were best. They work well and keep your wallet happy. An older, well-loved Altima can be a hidden gem. Trust our advice, and you’ll find an Altima that’s a perfect match for you.