Well I purchased my Nissan altima gxe in New Jersey on September 1st 2004, on my way home this car ran so smooth as if it was brand new. As I drove it through the years it got better all the time I go around that steering wheel, personally I rate this Nissan altima gxe series over all the other altima's.
I bought my Altima used at 37,000 miles in 2001 and it's still going strong at 130,000, though it's needed some major repair. I've had to replace the alternator (at 75k), one CV axle and the other will need replacement soon, the switch for the power windows and locks, and the clutch a year ago. Those are the only $200 plus repairs done in 7 years though, which is a bargain compared to the repair work other models need in that amount of time. The interior doesn't hold up well however; the vents on the dash are popping up, a sun visor fell off while I was driving, and the speedometer sticks sometimes. The fabric is cheap and stains easy.
Acceleration is strong and gas mileage decent. A lot of range in the gears. Handles corners easily. Drives great in snow with the right tires. Paint's holding up very well against salted winter roads. Lots of room inside and it's pretty comfy.
I bought my 97 almost 4 years ago for $2800 with 162,000 miles on it. It's up to 215,000 now and is running great. I did have some major repairs the first year but since I switched mechanics I haven't had any problems. Definitely worth the money.
The Altima was very reliable early on, but as it aged, needed many more costly repairs and fixes. At ten years and less than 100,000, it has cost $600-1500 per year for the last five years to keep it running (not including tires!). My mechanic says there a few fundamental design flaws that show as this car ages that are costly (because they are labor intensive) to fix.
The handling of this car in turns is execellent. Every other similar type of car I test drive seems wobbly in comparision. I always feel in control while driving due to good steering, wheel traction, and general stability.
Long term maintenance record. For 97,000, this car has had too many $900 repair bills. I wish I could keep it longer, but it is too expensive to maintain.
I have had this car for 9 years. I have had transmission problems. It's on its 2nd one. The alternator and brakes have been replaced. Overall it has been a really good reliable car. It needs to go in the shop about once a year. It's been on a few road trips. It's a great car for city driving.
It's a nice size and has enough power for city driving.