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So I was traveling again last week and I had a new Nissan Altima for a rental. This was a base model 2.5 S with no options. It was black (green due to the pollen) with gray interior, 4 cyl and CVT, pwr windows, mirrors, locks, single CD player. I drove it about 100 miles- mostly hwy- but got a good sense of what it was made of.

First the good points. I think the styling is great- a nice freshening of the previous style that got rave reviews when it debuted back in '02. There's not much about the exterior that I didn't like, except the 16" wheel covers that came on this base model (an easy fix). I really like the new grille, but foglights would have helped the front end (fogs are available as an option on the 2.5S).

The interior was a nice updating of the original interior which was a significant issue in the previous model. The stalks protruding from the steering column felt substantial and had a luxury car feel when using the wipers or turn signals. The speedo/tach were red/orange pointers with white numbers- very easy to read and far superior to the "stuck in the 80's" look of the Fusion. The seats were comfortable (butt and back area) and the armrest- covered in a faux swede fabric- felt nice and was just the right height. The driving position was very comfortable except for needing a little more thigh support from the seat. I imagine the power seat option would fix this due to having more adjustability. It also had the push button starting which was cool and convenient.

The engine makes 175 hp and 180 lb ft and it moves the Altima quickly. I've never driven a 4 cyl Fusion but the Altima felt as quick as my V6. I was very impressed and could probably be satisfied with the performance of the 4 cy. I can't imagine how much fun the 270 hp V6 would be (are you listening Ford). The CVT, which takes some getting used to, did a great job of balancing economy with performance- and always kept the revs where they needed to be. Handling was excellent, even with the small factory wheel size and all season rubber. Lastly, it had a very tight turning radius, was easy to park and visibility was excellent.

Now for the negatives. The steering felt a bit too boosted for my taste (but I consider the Fusion not boosted enough- at least at parking lot speeds). ABS isn't standard ($300 option). I didn't get a good read on fuel economy but my lead foot didn't help.

Overall I liked the Altima a lot. It was the least optioned rental car I've driven, but it was my favorite. Add a few luxury options and you can still get a great car without spending a lot of money. All else being equal, I would choose the Altima over the Fusion without a second thought. Makes me really excited about the new Altima Coupe due out later this summer.
 

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Nice review. Just a point though. The new Altima is ALL new for 2007. It is not a refresh. It is a new chasis with everything new (including dimensions). Only thing carried over are the drivetrains. The styling was supposed to be evolutionary on the new Altima.
 
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I think they look hot.


I'm going to test drive one soon, only cuz my friend works at the dealer. I will let you guys know what I think.
 

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I personally don't like the looks. Not a big fan of CVT transmissions either reliability can be sketchy and they're actually better for performance than MPG. Ford could definetly use upgraded engines and push button start. Visibility and turning radius could use improving as well. Altimas have always been nice cars to drive though for the most part. Nice review as always
 

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Anyone know the top speed of the 2.5 altima? I read online that it is 112, but you can't always trust online sources.
 

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Good review, Ming, as always. Sorry you liked the Altima more than the Fusion though.
 

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Well my brother bought one yesterday so I decided to test drive one. I test a 2.5s with the convenience package plus and cvt, MSRP $23,225 Here's my quick thoughts.

What I liked:
Very quite
Smooth
Style
Gauges

What I didn't like:
CVT, feels gutless on the top end
Engine to quite
Throttle feels lose
Car felt balky, like it was fat
Over-assisted steering, no road feel at all
Over assisted brakes, way to touchy and again no feedback
Stereo lacked feel
Push button start/stop

I left the test drive thinking to myself that my grandma would love this car. It's extremely quite and smooth and take no effort at all to control. If I had the option to get my Fusion all over again or get the Altima, I'd keep my Fusion. The Altima just just didn't have the fun to drive factor the fusion does, and this is coming for an I4 auto guy. I'd much rather get a SEL V6 Fusion, MSRP $22,895 compared to the Altima at over $23k
 

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I have to agree with Mechanicboy18. I experience similar results. I went out early this year to test drive the 3.5L Altima for the MOTHERinLAW :( and the prices are just to high for these foreing vehicles. I rather buy a German vehicle or a Mustang GT. A good thing about the Nissan vehicles, Toyota, and Honda's are that they are great vehicles for the commuter and point A to point B drivers, but for the show car afficionado/ street cruiser these vehicles just do not fly in that category; why you ask? Because everybody and their grandmother has one of these fine cars. I'll take a 2.3L Fusion over a 2.5L Altima anytime or a 3.0L Fusion over a 3.5L Altima anytime, because you will rarely see a vehicle like that on the road.

[quote author=mechanicboy18 link=topic=74238.msg1429789#msg1429789 date=1179876958]
Well my brother bought one yesterday so I decided to test drive one. I test a 2.5s with the convenience package plus and cvt, MSRP $23,225 Here's my quick thoughts.

What I liked:
Very quite
Smooth
Style
Gauges

What I didn't like:
CVT, feels gutless on the top end
Engine to quite
Throttle feels lose
Car felt balky, like it was fat
Over-assisted steering, no road feel at all
Over assisted brakes, way to touchy and again no feedback
Stereo lacked feel
Push button start/stop

I left the test drive thinking to myself that my grandma would love this car. It's extremely quite and smooth and take no effort at all to control. If I had the option to get my Fusion all over again or get the Altima, I'd keep my Fusion. The Altima just just didn't have the fun to drive factor the fusion does, and this is coming for an I4 auto guy. I'd much rather get a SEL V6 Fusion, MSRP $22,895 compared to the Altima at over $23k
[/quote]
 

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Recently i drove a Camry 4-cyl. for several days to satisfy my curiosity about this seemingly all conquering product from Toyota.
By all objective standards it is a standard bearer. I was very impressed. The 4 cylinder motor emits barely a murmur at idle but is appropriately vocal when called upon to accelerate quickly. Before driving this product I dismissed all N/A four cylinder cars as
unexciting and appliance-like, but the 2007 Camry's billet-like chassis, fluid steering and refined motor all combined to provide a very
satisfying driving experience. I have been considering trading up to the new Taurus but I will add the Camry and the nissan 2.5S to
the list of brands under consideration.
 

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Had to add my two cents. I test drove the Altima and Camry b4 gettying my Fusion. I actually planned on getting the Camry BEFORE I drove it. It got MotorTrend's COTY and looked pretty sweet. It got good reviews. The news papers had thinking Toyota was going to be the king of the world. So I planned on getting A Camry.
Anyway. I drove an I4 Camry le with no options going for $21,000. Man was I let down. It was slow. Wallowed. Wasn't even as smooth over bumps as my Fusion. I still figured I might buy one b/c it's a still a well made car with a good reputation.
Oddly as a whim, I talked to a man in a parking lot getting out of a Fusion. Asked him how he liked it and so on. Ended up going and seeing his dealer. I test drove a an $18,000 Fusion SE (I4). Holy sh*t. The car was smooth. Quick. Had rims and foglights. Tinted windows. Free car washes for a yr. (from the fancy wash that wipes your car down by hand) And the dealer treated me with way more respect than the import dealers.
I am SO glad I bought my Fusion. I have a six yr bumber to bumper warranty (yeah... it was extra) and the car was so much more satisfying than either import for THOUSANDS less.
I do agree that the instrument cluster looks like poo poo. And the MKZ has a SWEET blue cluster. Go fig.
Oh yeah. And the Fusion has STANDARD airbags out the wazoo (since 07).
You could argue that the imports last longer. Or that they're better made. And it could be true. But when I pay 3 thousand dollars LESS and get more equipment and the car rides and looks better.... You can't convince me the Toyota is worth that much more. Or the Nissan. And I know a Nissan dealer that hates the CVT. He said it always revs and revs and revs.
I love my Fusion.
 

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The Toyota and Altima are thousands more then what I paid for my much better looking Fusion. Now, I did not drive them but did test a '06 Civic, it too cost more then my Fusion and I much prefer my Fusion. As for reliability, today's cars in general are damn impressive. Or put another way (according to Consumer Reports) the least reliable 5 yr old car on the market is: Mercedes-Benz, so if every other 5 yr old car is better then that.......well, you get the idea.
 

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Just saw the commercial for the two-door Altima. :klavergreg:

Quite nice!

Hopefully it does well and Ford sees that and decides to make a Fusion Coupe to compete.

I'd certainly buy a Ford Fusion Coupe!
 

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Maybe I missed it...but the Fission trunk is pretty large at 15.8/15.9ft^3...the Altima is around 18ft^3 if I remember right. Impressive. But being a gaijin Yankee mofo, I'll take a Fusion and support my fellow Detroit engineers (and Miguel, Manny and Hector down at Hermosillo and Chihuahua).
 

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[quote author=mtl1977 link=topic=74238.msg1623535#msg1623535 date=1186626306]
Maybe I missed it...but the Fission trunk is pretty large at 15.8/15.9ft^3...the Altima is around 18ft^3 if I remember right. Impressive. But being a gaijin Yankee mofo, I'll take a Fusion and support my fellow Detroit engineers (and Miguel, Manny and Hector down at Hermosillo and Chihuahua).
[/quote]

I couldn't agree with you more.
American Pride, FTW!!!!!!
 

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The Altima is a very nice car. The VQ powered ones blow any Fusion away, but you also end up paying more up front for it. Avoid the 4 cylinder one at all costs, the QR25 is one of the worst engines in recent memory. Constantly plagued with catastrophic/chronic problems, even after 5 model years under its belt.
 

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[quote author=otaku link=topic=74238.msg1323579#msg1323579 date=1176176806]
Not a big fan of CVT transmissions either reliability can be sketchy [/quote]

(regaqrding the NISSAN Altima CVT Tranny)
Nissan has been usung CVT's for many years especially in Europe, very few problems with them, they're very reliable.
 

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To each his own, but the "stuck in the 80's" look of the Fusion that you refer to is the reason I bought it.

IMHO, the new Altima, like most new Japanese cars these days, looks like a horrid machine from outer space.

I previously drove a 96 Honda Civic, which I loved the looks of. To put it politely, the new model looks like ass.
 

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I drove the new Altima 4 banger as a rental and the car really didn't fit me that well. But the best rental car that I drove was the 07 MKZ 2WD..... thats what kind of prompted me to get my MKZ lol
 
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