1993 Nissan Altima GXE 2.4L from North America
An excellent deal from Nissan!
The radiator was replaced with an all-metal version at 179,000 miles.
The starter was replaced at 154,000 miles.
The left wheel bearing was replaced at 105,000 miles.
The blower motor went at 100,000 miles (and hasn't been replaced).
The neutral safety switch was replaced at 19,500 miles (under warranty).
The trunk lock was replaced at 19,500 miles (under warranty).
For being my third car, I am thoroughly pleased with the Altima. It is primarily my daily driver, and I love it! I purchased this car used at 18,000 miles and haven't regretted it. The items that have gone wrong with this car are reasonable given its age, and the fact that this was the first year of this model. Compare this to my upcoming 1995 Ford Windstar review...
Since I got this car, I have added aftermarket fog lights, mini-disc head unit, single DIN CD changer, external transmission filter, and a transmission cooler with thermostat and temperature gauge.
The car handles well and has good throttle response, better than any of my recent cars: 1986 Volvo 244 GL, 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau, 1995 Ford Windstar, and 1999 Mazda Protege.
I would highly recommend a lower mileage vehicle to anyone. I'm still going strong with this car and hope to have it for many more years, or until I pass it over to my son.
I will, in the next few months, be doing some steering and suspension work, as my left outer tie rod end is going, and my CV boots all need to be replaced. Unfortunately, Nissan only sells the lower control arm, complete with bushings and ball joint, as a single unit for ~ $160 - :(. As I'll also be adding a tow bar, I'll also be doing the struts (I wish there was only 2..).
Some comments about the things that have gone wrong with this car:
1. The radiator replacement was due in some part to my inexperience with changing the radiator hoses - plastic tanks don't like to be pried at with a screwdriver with lots of force. For those vehicles over the 100,000 mile mark, I would get a metal radiator put in ASAP. The plastic tanks simply have a limited lifetime, and they can't even be re-cored - the all metal version is only $15 more than the OEM replacement - shop at radiatorexpress.com - got mine in two days! And make sure to change your hoses at least every 4 years - these are maintenance items and include the radiator, heater, fuel injection, and vacuum hoses.
2. The wheel bearing was a pain to deal with - but I found it interesting that the dealer had several in stock when I replaced mine - a common repair perhaps? My right side sounds like it will need to be done soon. I do agree with the rotor problem - I have had mine replaced twice already. And the third time is on its way. I think going with vented and/or cross-drilled rotors may be the way to go. I put Akebono pads on last time, and they have lasted the longest (organic with less dust).
3. The blower motor just stopped. If I didn't live in coastal California, I would have been necessary to do it sooner. It just died; no smoke, no noise, just silence and no forced air. I do have forced air, when I drive at 85 mph!
The car is reasonably comfortable for four people, five is not quite as comfy. The controls are easy to reach, and the displays are easy to read. The front seats aren't as comfortable as I like - my only major beef with the car.
It is relatively quiet at highway speeds, and I have never felt that I couldn't get out of harm's way if there was sufficient reaction time.
The factory radio was definitely not sufficient, and the left front speaker stopped working. When I put my mini-disc head unit in, the speaker worked fine - the problem was with the factory head unit. The CD changer I added was single DIN, and when the small compartment underneath the factory radio is removed, this unit was mounted here. However, as mentioned, there is little space for drinks in the cup holder, and I have way less room with this changer installed here - drinks need to go somewhere else.
This car gets excellent gas mileage, as most of my driving is on the freeway. Properly maintained and tuned, I get 375 - 400 miles on a full tank!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th June, 2003