2002 Nissan Altima S 2.5L 4 cylinder from North America
Looks good, performs well, but has fatal flaw in the engine/catalytic converter design
The first problem was that the headlight case literally melted at 50,000 miles. It was replaced by Nissan under a recall, but only after the problem had occurred.
There were 10 recalls. In my opinion this shows how poorly designed the car was.
At 75,000 miles, the heater was not heating well. Our mechanic said that it was due to low coolant levels, but there was no external leak, indicating a blown head gasket. He refused to do any more work on the car, because he has been burned too many times by replacing the head gasket on this model, and having the engine fail catastrophically shortly thereafter. A few web searches confirm that this is a common (universal?) problem with this model. The pre-catalytic converter breaks up, and pieces are ingested into the engine, destroying the head gasket and scoring the cylinder walls. I am now basically left with a worthless piece of junk.
Good performance. Acceleration was good for a 4 cylinder and handled well.
Many, many recalls.
Poor turning radius. Difficult to parallel park.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 8th January, 2011