"I call her my somewhat reliable old lady. Minus a few major fixes (Seeing as the car is almost 20 years old, it's to be expected) this car has been nothing but amazing. Good gas mileage for a 1990's decade car, wonderful driving, just overall a good car. Just be prepared to sink some money into routine maintenance, and wear and tear repairs. I replaced the fuel distributor at 250k miles, and radiator at 270k. As I said, this old lady just keeps chugging."
"This is a really great car! It wont stop running i swear! i recently went into a ditch because of a serious ice storm in the midwest and my car was pulled out (front end in ditch) and it just went right along without any problems. This car does have a slight tendency to lose hubcaps but i found a set that stays on nicely... Never had any major mechanical problems and this thing runs like a tank! great car for teens, although the styling is a bit outdated, what can you expect from 1994?"
"I have always said that this is a poor man's honda. This car is as reliable as a honda, but at least 2,000 cheaper than a condition equivalent honda civic. I love honda's, but man are they expensive. Here is the history on my nissan altima SE. I bought this car in february of 2003 and it was already a high mileage car at 103,000 miles. It is now June of 2009 and I have put on 110,000 miles in a little under 6 and a half years. This car is totally great. I have ridden this car very very hard. Always accelerating fast, breaking fast, taking corners going 40 mph. I have been on at least 5 7 tri-state trips where i was driving 80 mps plus. Honestly, I have not been very nice to this car, but you know how it can be when you have a very nice performing car and you get the speed demon in you. Regular wear and tear repairs that anyone would incur on a car this old have been break changes, oil, changes, air filter changes. I changed the fuel filter once myself, but have since not really bothered with that. Non maintenance repairs that I have had include replacing the ignition switch(I used cheap keys from the hardware store for years, so that may be why that went), replacing the front drive axel( I can remember at least 4 times when I went straight over curbs going 40 mph so that probably plays a huge factor), replacing the transmision pan(it does sit very low to the ground and I went over a speed bump going 60(oops!!). I just recently had to replace most of the muffler system(but I live in Minnesota and I remember bottoming out in snowboard on many occasions)( I got the whole thing replaced though for under $300. It helps to shop around and find a small shop instead of going to dealers). The factory rims that came with the car(remember this is a 97) finally had to be replaced in the fall of 2008 because they had finally started to corrode and were leaking air from the tires so I had a hard time keeping the tires inflated.(Picked up a high quality 2 pairs of rims for $300 at discount tire.(Again it pays to shop around and price compare!!) My air conditioning belt needs to be tightened as of right now, but since it is not a necessary repair I have just gone without air for the past 3 summers. The AC still works, I just don't want to run it for fear of breaking the belt(How cheap am I!!) That is pretty much it for repairs. That really is not that many once you take into account that I am driving in Minnesota and I am a very hard driver on my car. The non maintenance repairs only came like once a year too and were never more than $300 each, so the repairs were nicely spaced out and I could always come up with the money. One more thing, I really have to recommend Good Year Triple Tread Tires on this car. I don't work for good year or anything, but I am on my second set of these tires and man do they make this car sweet to drive. Cornering is awesome, braking in rain is great, winter breaking on ice, you slide straight(no fish tailing), these are warrantied to 80,000 miles(I get about 60,000 and then take them back and get the remaining credit towards new ones. Okay, back to the nissan. Totally love this car and it is still going strong. I have 211,000 on it as of this posting and I can see no problem going to at least 300,000. When this one dies, I may try and find the same car with low miles from the same year as I have heard the newer nissans aren't quite as good as these ones were. (But they are still way better than an american car. I would love to support american cars if they could become more relieable) If you are thinking of buying a honda or toyota, please consider doing some research on nissan's instead, as they are at least a few thousand dollars cheaper, and are almost as reliable as honda's or toyota's in every respect. Thanks!!"
"Bought the car new. Ran very well over the last 12 years. Had some problems with the distributor leaking oil up into the rotor area. Other than that, went through my wife, 2 teenage drivers, a college student, and grandma drivers. Very dependable and a good value for the money. Would recommend the car."
"I am 2nd owner, bought with 103K miles now has 182K. Only major expenses in almost 6 years has been new distributor @$425 installed and approximately $500 for repairing damage to fuel injectors caused by water in gas, which was not the fault of car. Everything on car still works as it is supposed to after 13 years and 182K miles of use.
Good points are fuel mileage (30hwy, 24 city), good handling and ride, peppy engine, very reliable and dependable, reasonably comfortable seating for 4 adults.
Not so good points are, tiny almost unusable glove box, crowded engine compartment which makes it very difficult to work on, poor factory radio, hard downshift to 1st gear, wind noise at highway speed, and several other very minor irritations. I am very well pleased with this car overall, and would definitely buy another Altima."
"I bought this vehicle in 04, and it had 130k miles on it. It now has near 176k on it and has only had two major problems- needed a new alternator, and a new waterpump- things that are expected to go out with age. This car has great gas mileage, and runs like a dream for an 11 year old car. This car has taken me from AL to MD, and has never been in the shop for more than two days at a time. Best car investment I've ever made. I'll actually be sad when I retire this car."
"Have owned two Altimas, a 97 and a 93. They have to be the toughest, most reliable used cars available for the money. They're not very exclusive and the styling is mundane, but that's a small price to pay for a vehicle that can survive almost any abuse three teenagers can dish out--which is what they went through at my house. The 97 was recently rear ended by a car doing 40+ MPH and probably saved my daughter from serious injury because of its crashworthiness."
"ive had my 97 altima for about a year now my sister had it for the previous 3 years. my dad is a mechanic and had to replace very few parts for her, pretty much from her doing. but since ive had it all ive done is basic maintance on it and it ran great. at about 165000 miles my oil pump and timing went out, it actrully turned out to be cheaper to put a used motor in instaed of replaceing those parts, i found out that everthing in this car is very cheap to replace except the inner engine parts. with the oil pump and timing set the price ended up being about $700 but i found a used motor for $600 so now i could just drop it in and go. But hey 165000 isnt that bad it probably could have went a little longer if my sister took better care of it but over all it gets up and goes, honestly it feels like your driving a go cart its a very fun car"
"I bought this car last summer (When gas prices were high) to save on gas. It had 215,000 miles in it. I bought it cheap, knowing it needed some repairs (new tires, new right CV axle, New clutch master cylinder, new spark plugs, ignition switch and a new valve cover gasket kit). Thankfully, I am mecahnically inclined to the point I could perform all of these repairs by my self. Since then, the only other repairs (other than maintenance) I have had to do is replace one of the four fuel injectors (not surprising since it had 220,000 miles on it). I have found the car to be very reliable other than that.
I typically average between 30 and 32 mpg, even more if I am driving down the freeway with cruise control. This car seems to have enough power to move it down the freeway and any other place I take it. It also seems to drive well in snow and bad weather. I found the car extremely comfortable to sit in - enough that I was able to drive it 2,000 miles in less than 1o days.
This car has been very good to me. To date, it has 226,000 miles on it and still seems to perform very well. This car is just barely broken in and I hope to have this car for another four years (through the rest of college).
The only part I dislike about this car is that the head lights are a pain to change the bulbs in.
Overall, I think this is an excellant car and I am pleased with my purchase. Someday I hope to be able to afford a newer Altima."
"I bought this car 7 years
ago with slightly over 100K on the odometer. It now has about 187K miles and it has been an amazing car. I have replaced the original distributor and alternator, both for less than$500 together. But no other major parts have failed and the major assemblies such as engine, automatic transaxle, and A/C are still in great shape. I get 24mpg in town and 29-30mpg on highway. I couldn't ask for a more satisfactory car, and the price at the time of purchase was considerably lower than for comparable Camrys and Accords. I would not be surprised if this car goes 300K miles with no major expenses and still runs well. I will definitely make Nissan my first choice when I decide to replace this one."
"I bought my Altima in the summer of 1998 when it had 23,000 on the odometer. Now it has over 120,000 miles. Over the last 9 1/2 years it has served faithfully with minimal maintenance needed. The car offers ~23-24 mi/ga in average. I plan to drive this car for another 5 years!"
"I was the second owner, drove it for additional 80K miles. Its 185K miles now, still running as if bought yesterday. Ofcourse did do basic maintanace from time to time, had to change w pump and alternator recently and has some oil leaks.
Great vehicle. I enjoy driving it everyday."
Cons: "parts are expensive, small interior, cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"my grandparents bought this car new in 1996 its a GXE Nissan Altima its a reliable vehicle it handles great, the fuel economy is at best. A/C is very ice cold especially since spring has begun I love this car might not be the prettiest car but overall the most reliable car I ever drove on the mountain highways. It still looks good from exterior and interior although there isn't much room inside but being a mid 1990s what expected. Car has been well maintained from Day 1 when my grandparents drove for 11 years before hand it down to me at the time was in college so I am driving as a weekend or gas saver vehicle bought two new vehicles they are nothing like my old faithful Altima its the best car will keep it for another 20,000 miles a great vehicle on the roads. The engine is very fast for being an compact car with excellent acceleration and great on gas love my car than ever."
"I have had this car for 13 yrs and it is a great car! Comfortable , sporty to drive with lots of pick up. Fast as a jack rabbit or better yet a roadrunner. Costs little to maintain. Cler coat is a bit worn but interior space and seats are a blessing on long trips. was thinking of a Jetta but this won out Nice wood accents in interior huge truck and heater is much better than Toyota and AC is cold! COMFORTABLE PEPPY RELIABLE what more could oyu ask for."
"Purchased with 165,000 miles 2yrs ago. Runs good, needed a valve cover gasket but that was an easy fix. I think styling is a little bland. Car is suprisingly fast with manual trans. Uses the same 2.4L I4 as the sporty 240sx. Fun to drive, but has a little body roll with the sedan. Interior in the GXE is very nice."
"I have had my nissan altima for about 5 years now these cars are great I have only had 2 repairs other than maintenance and that was for the muffler and axel .My fiancee bought a fairly newer vehicle (2000 model mercury) and we have had far more repair with his vehicle than mine . My next car will be a nissan Im very impressed with the durablity of this vehicle its my "trusty rusty" lol"
"I bought my 97 Altima with 83000 miles-now has 109000 miles after three years.Folks if you take care of this car it will take care of you.The good part you can work on it yourself if you know basic mechanics.Another fantastic thing about ths car is that it will always take you home-quiet engine-start in sub-zero weather-goes through high water and any snow beats any suv in bad weather-Nissan does not make cars like this anymore folks-but keep your car maintained-change the oil at least four times per year-a few sensors will go bad now and then but they are not too expensive-and you will find parts easily for this car-Ilove my car so much that I change the parts even thou they dont failas a precaution-the car talks to me-I have a magnaflow muffler on her and any thing you do the muffler tells you -serious-I would cry if I should part with this baby-so I part with you folks out there by saying -long live first generation Altimas-made for the USA only."
"I just sold my 1996 Altima GXE (bought 10/95) in 2009! I bought an Infiniti G35 almost two years ago but kept this car and liked better than G for mileage, ease of driving and low costs to maintain and insure. Never thought I'd have the car over 5-7 years but if you get one, they seem to last forever. Easy to resell too - I intend to sell the G in a few years and get another Altima! A little road noise but a great value for your money. :)"
"I have been driving a '94 Altima ever since I got my license 9 years ago. Despite my neglect, the car has been extremely reliable. I would keep it forever if it wasn't for the rust. While the automatic transmission can be at times a little reluctant to downshift, it has decent power. Overall, its been a great car."
"I bought a 1993 Altima in 2005. It was a high mileage car when I bought it and it ran wonderfully for several years until it was wrecked. It was hit from the side and the back and all the passengers were safe and the car drove away! Wonderful car, I will be purchasing another altima!"
"I owned a Toyota prior to purchasing my used nissan. I would pefer the toyota over the nissan anyday! The nissan has very cold AC but nothing special other than that. It could never compare to a Toyota."