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Just to avoid 50 seperate posts on the same thing...

Me and the wife saw one today (2 actually) on the way to Orlando just leaving home.... We live down the street from the dealer and they were testing it

I was about to turn left at a light, and the car was in front other side turing same direction. We sped up and my wife was drooling it was so nice.. it was the 3.5SE... They stopped at a light and we asked at the same time how'd they like it.. The lady was like she loved it.

Damn that car was sweet...

So when I got back, I stopped at the dealer and looked. They had 5. 3-2.5S, 1 I don't know what, and the 1 SE...

A young couple were getting into the SE to look. gonna go testing next week.
 

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I test drove the 2.5 and 3.5 auto.

The 2.5 didn't seem like it was especially fast, but it felt reasonable, but I expected more for 175 h.p, 5spd should be quick though.
So when I got back, the saleman was like the way to go is the 3.5. So we drove it, It had lthr and the wood, the wood is too light though, and the arm rests on the door, have no padding. But it was pretty fast, it pulled hard and I noticed some torque steer. The engine was kinda noisy when full throttle, Maxima seems quieter and my Accord is quieter. But all in all it was a nice car and its beautiful and has a lot of room, the trunk is huge. What I liked the most is that the foglights can be on with the just the parking lights.
 

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2.5S w convenience pkg,sunroof,bose,abs test drive report

I tried to post this at Edmunds, and then remembered this board:

I called a dealer on the way home and told them I was seeking a 2002 Altima SE 5-speed. They replied they have one that they just received, but the salesguy didn't know which it was. He offered to check for me, but I told him I'd come by anyway to take a look at it and check to see if I fit in the driver's seat -- my big question.

When I arrived, The dealer took me into the back lot to the only new Altima they had, a silver 2.5 S. They had just peeled the white plastic off of it, which was bundled on the ground behind it, and some residue remained.

(They did still have a couple of '01 Altimas right next to it with the white plastic still stuck to them -- I'll bet they're ready to *give* those away by now.)

I immediately liked the styling, especially the back end. To me, it's very appealing in person, although I admit I liked the pictures of it as well. Although I have seen some posters suggest that the rear seems inspired by other cars, it looks truly unique and very clean to me, with a graceful hint of sporting pretentions thrown in. I like the Passat's styling better overall, but IMO the Altima has the best rear around.

The dash was a huge disappointment. I was hoping I would be pleasantly surprised because of all the negative things I have heard about it (in other words, I didn't expect much), but my hopes were completely dashed (pun intended).

There truly was a visible gap between all of the hard materials, including the seam above the instruments and on both sides of the central "cascade". A close visual and tactile inspection showed that the gaps are uniform and symmetrical, so I think it is well assembled, but poorly designed and built with cheap materials. The seam behind the instruments feels especially tacky. Yeah, camcord dashes aren't inspiring, but they feel blandly competent, just like the rest of those cars (which I would never consider buying – a test of a 2002 Camry SE was quite disappointing to me in comparison).

I am curious about Nissan's assertion that the Passat interior was their target. What were they shooting with? I was able to apply moderate pressure on the dash panels and make them bump into each other momentarily with a light cracking sound, and I pondered future rattle problems in my mind. I wonder, were these materials Renault's contribution? Perhaps the worst part is that even though the gaps are even, they do not appear that way from the driver's seat because you are sitting on one side.

Okay, so do I fit in the driver's seat? This one has a sunroof, which is always a problem for my 6'8" height. I have already read comments in forums that the interior was disappointingly small. Uh-oh. However, I was very surprised. The fit proved quite adequate for my legs with the tilt/telescope wheel and seat adjusted. It was just slightly tight for my head, good enough that removing the sunroof would just about leave me enough room. As it was, I was able to get comfortable by cocking my head slightly to the left (not something I am unused to). As I had the seat adjusted, there was still room for an average sized adult to sit comfortably behind me.
(I purposely left the seat where I believed I would be comfortable without the sunroof.)

I didn't spend a lot time studying the seat cloth, but it didn't impress me with its feel or appearance. The controls seemed average, although during the test drive (at night) I accidentally turned the lights off when I flipped the blinker on because there was so little turning resistance to the light control knob at the end of the stalk.

The car had just 8 miles on the clock, and the dealer talked me into adding 11 more. They really had to twist my arm ...

They were very aggressively pitching this car to me, although I insisted I was on a quest for a 3.5. I was surprised at their eagerness for me to drive and buy this car. They even hinted that they would come down off of the MSRP, although they mentioned that "there's not a whole lot of markup on these."

The 2.5 felt adequately powerful and reasonably smooth at first, with no noticeable torque steer problems, although on a hill I felt it made a lot more noise than power. I would clearly need the 3.5 to fulfill my thirst for power that has been unquenched for too long.

I didn't lay on the engine constantly, keeping in mind that this car would be in an owner's garage someday and deserved a chance at most of a reasonable break-in. (I did do two or three full throttle acceleration runs, and a few quick-shift-down full-throttle turns, since this was, after all, a test drive.) I gave the handling a full workout, and was impressed. This is a fun car to drive, without a doubt.

After all was said and done, I was left impressed with the car's appearance and handling, but very concerned with the cheapness and especially the long-term robustness of the interior. And that's when I started considering the price seriously for the first time. I don't mind paying in the high twenties for a car (my very frugal wife would, but that's another story), but I want to get high twenties worth of car. If the car was a bargain, I would probably jump on it, cheap interior and all.

If the car was built with a good quality interior, I would make a valiant effort to get my wife to let me agree to write that 15%-bigger-than-I-had-planned check.

So now, I am very confused. Will the interior last? If I take a hard stand and persuade my wife to spend a little more cash than we had planned (we don't believe in credit), and then have the interior start rattling, buzzing, and deteriorating shortly into our planned eight years of ownership (also mandated by my wife), I would feel pretty foolish.

The dealer is going to call me in the morning to let me know how soon they will get a 3.5 5-spd (which he also hinted had some negotiating “room” under the MSRP), but I really am confused at this point. So far, the best driving car I have tried is the Passat V-6 5-spd, but that is quite a budget-buster, and doesn't register as high in reliability as the old Altima. The interior, however, is incredibly nice, even in the lesser models.

Also, the Passat's V-6 is no match for the 3.5, although it felt noticeably stronger and much smoother than the 2.5, despite only having 15 more hp (must be the fatter torque curve, 26 more at 800 lower RPMs).

The Acura TL-S has a great engine and a nice interior, but is relatively cramped inside, comes only with a sunroof (adding to the cramp-factor for me), and offers no manual tranny. However, it is starting to feel like the only safe bet for me if I want a fun to drive sedan that is reliable and hopefully durable. Sure, I have to convince my wife to spend more, but at least I am reasonably sure I won't have to defend that decision over problems that creep up with the car. Problem is, the car is so sterile to drive, as competent as it is. It doesn't have the perfect dialed-in feeling of the Passat or the aggressive driving feel I anticipate with the 3.5 SE Altima.

Dang. I waited so long for this ... I never dreamed the Altima would reveal such shortcomings.

Come on folks, convince me the Altima is safe. Restore my fantasy. How have your Altimas treated you? Especially first-year models. Have they stayed tight? Do any of you have Renault-based fears?

Thanks, -Greg
 

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Hey Smithcon,

Be loyal and get the Alty, I have a 93 GXE with 78,000 on it and it's still running like new. Altimas are GREAT cars, if you purchase the 3.5 I'm sure you won't be dissappointed. I'll be getting mine at the end of September.
 

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I have a 96 GXE with 92,000 mi and I have to tell you, there is no cracking or squeaking of the dashboard. If there is one thing that all altima owners on this board can assure you it is that the altima has an extremly sound interior. Unlike the domestics which start rattling at 30,000 mi (ie my brother in law's ford, my fathers crystler) my altima is still tight. Furthermore, the engine is in great shape...drives like I just got it yesterday and never did much to it except new belts and hoses.

Enjoy your new 3.5 se :)
 

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SmithCon, my 95 Altima has 135k, and I have no rattles, I needed a new alternator at almost 100k, and my Rear 02 sensor had to be changed at 57k but it was under warranty, my ac pulley started whistling and about 80k, so I had to get a new one And the cloth on the driver and rpassenger door sill started lifting but I just had to reglue it. Now I drive hard and fast, I have never changed belts or hoses, and my engine is still quiet, no problems and my transmission has never failed me. I will be changing my belts and hoses soon but that is normal maintenance just to be on the safe side.
I doubt the Passat will even hold up without major problems. I have seen Jettas with 11k miles with armrests rattling and materials lifting. And have u heard the engines on the VW's at idle they sound weird.

You are right about the 02 materials, it is not especially impressive compared to the Max or Accord or Passat but u have to consider the size of the car, reliability, engines, beauty of exterior, And if your spending in the $20k's, u are not going to have a car thats going to be perfect.
The closest all around car to me in the high 20's is the Max and the TL but it won't have mtx until later this year, and is pushing $30k. The Accord loaded up barely pushes $25k and has a real nice interior.

If u get a 3.5 w/ the right options w/ mtx, u probably would spend no more than $26. a lot less than a TL and more reliable than a Passat.
 

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Thanks for the insight

I am feeling a bit better about the Altima after reading some of your feedback. I have never owned a Nissan before, so with me it's not a case of loyalty, although I have waited for the Altima since I first heard about it in mid-July, and have eagerly read all I could absorb about it since then.

I have read Consumer Reports, and see that Altima has a respectable record, although not as stellar as the Maxima and G20, and lags the camcords by a bit. It is interesting to note that Consumer Reports shows the Altima's weak point appears to be the integrity category ("squeaks, rattles, and leaks"). However, Nissan has made much of the stiffer chassis/body of the new Altima, which should help in this regard.

FWIW, the VWs have been given a full 4 year, 50K B2B warranty for 2002, with a 5-year, 60K drivetrain warranty that is fully transferrable. I would not even have considered it with the 2/24 B2B with that odd 10/100 powertrain warranty that had to be kept in the family.

I am eagerly awaiting the dealer's call about the timing of the 3.5 as I must get a new car within the next couple of weeks, and will post a review when I drive it.
 

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Holy cow what an excellent review!! Damn, i feel like i drove the car already, hehe.

But, if the quality is the same as the 98-99 alty's, then you have nothing to worry about. I have a 98 alty with 74k on it and no rattles at all. I drive the car ALOT, and am not the easiest driver on it either. Nothing major has gone wrong with the car either in it's whole life (just the normal wear and tear, breaks, tires, oil changes etc). Granted, 90% of my driving is on the highways, it's still alot of miles to the suspension, axles, engine etc in such a short time.

Enjoy your new (almost new) alty ;)
 

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Saw the new Altima today

Saw the 2.5S toady, Mystic Emerald with Beige cloth interior. Let me first say that this is opinion, and not fact. So here goes

First off: The appearence: I was going by Benson Nissan in Spartanburg South Carolina today when I spotted it, and from first impressions, I LOVE the styling. So I turn around, and go to the back of the dealership, 3 new 2002 Nissan Maximas, Majestic Blue GLE, Sterling Mist GLE and what appeared to be a Majestic Blue SE. I really paid those 3 no attention, I wanted to see that Altima. By the time I got back around to the front of the dealership, it was pouring down outside. I ran into the dealership and talked with this cool salesmen named Dick Yoder. He first asked if I wanted to look inside the Altima, I waited a little while because it was raining very hard. So after the rain slacked off a bit we went outside and look at the Altima, absoultely beautiful, way better looking than the Maxima. He gives me the keys, and says "here you go" I open the door and is surprised by the interior, all this complaining really had me thinking that the car's interior was horrible, not to me, it wasn't Lexus styled or anything like that, but it at least looked on par with the current Camry and Accord. The material didn't feel hard to me at all, the cloth was a little cheap looking, but not as bad as the cloth on the GXE Maximas. The car had the Convenience Pkg., Body Painted mudguards, micro filter and floor mats, for a total of 21,350 I believe, not bad considering how nice the car looks, I wouldn't have any problems buying it over the Camry. I thought I wanted an SE, but the 2.5S looks like it would work just fine for me, just add the sunroof and bose to that pkg., and I probably would have brought it. I am most definately buying one, no doubt in my mind about that, I just can't say when I will be able to buy one though. People go to your dealerships and check them out, you might be surpised at how good the car really looks. I LOVE THIS CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND MYSTIC EMERALD!!!!
 

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went to the dealer to day.. had only 3 2.5's in... two S's and one SL... all i've got to say is... SWEEEEEEET... pics you've seen online don't do the car justice... the car is simply beautiful. the interior flowed. and the aluminum hood was VERY light... i don't know how nissan's going to be able to move the 02 Max's...


dealer told me no 3.5SE til later in sept. they don't even have the brochures in yet..!

and those waiting for SE-R Spec V's have to wait til November (the dealer and SCC both say that)
 

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went back to the dealer to get some trim pieces I ordered today.....they a 3.5 silver w/black leather interior........$29,000+ sticker, and I was like WHOA! Thats more than a Max! My test drive comes next week. WEEEEEEEEEE!
 

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djsassan said:
went back to the dealer to get some trim pieces I ordered today.....they a 3.5 silver w/black leather interior........$29,000+ sticker, and I was like WHOA! Thats more than a Max! My test drive comes next week. WEEEEEEEEEE!

that really doesn't go with the posted prices from freshalloy (i haven't seen them but i'm assuming they came from nissannew.com or something) what's up with this freakin' mark up?? nissan wants these things to comepete with the camcords but i am yet to see a four banger 02 altima for under 20K



btw, i'm taking my dad to the dealer today.. :D
 

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went to the dealership just 20 mins ago and they have 1 2002 max pearl white. very very nice car. i fell in love with the headlights. but other than that i didnt dig it all that much. msrp w/ v6 250hp has 29,950.

so i kept looking around for the altima on the other side there were two side by side 2.5 and 3.5 altimas. i loved everything about them except for the headlights. the max's doesnt have any orange,yellow markers in it, the altys does. they were both a light green color it said seascape, but it was kinda not lit up so i couldnt see how nice the paint was.

the 3.5 had fog on it and the 2.5 didnt instead there is a cheap plastic circle with half inch holes in it. the 2.5 had hubs and cloth interior,no spoiler... but the msrp was 18970. not to bad i thought

the 3.5 was amazing the exterior was absolutly amazing. the spoiler (3post) was sweet, 17 in alloy rims. 55 series. it had white leather interior with altima on the front 2 seats in black. the wood grain reminded me of the 1993 altima gxe's. very light it looked kinda cheap and clashed badly with the leather. it had an 8 speaker bose system. it was a 5 speed. msrp was 27480

the three cars amazed me but i wish the interior wasnt so cheap looking. if the altima had the maximas interior and the headlights that car would be perfect. this doesnt mean anything im still taking all three of those things out for a spin. i want to see the difference between the 250hp(auto) max, 240hp(5spd) alty and the auto 2.5.

~steve
 

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alty96 said:
the 2.5 had hubs and cloth interior,no spoiler... but the msrp was 18970. not to bad i thought

steve, what trim level was the 2.5 you saw, 2.5, 2.5S, or 2.5SL? i'm thinking it's a 2.5S since that's what they'll be selling the most.. 19K is pretty good for it.. the 2.5S i saw here in san diego was stickered at 22K
 
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