Used 1997 Nissan Altima Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

The 1997 models are virtually identical to 1996 models, except for the addition of new emissions equipment.

Vehicle overview

Talk about a runaway success. The Altima is quite a popular car, with hundreds of thousands of the jelly-bean-shaped sedans sold since its 1993 introduction. Its predecessor, the Nissan Stanza, was a practically invisible car to consumers, and we can't help but wonder whether the name change or Nissan's expensive advertising campaign touting the Altima as an affordable luxury car dictated the tides of change.

What we do know is that the Altima has the right mix of good looks, sedan capability, spunky personality and affordable price that Honda and Toyota used to make the Accord and Camry best-sellers. The Altima is a fun car, and plays the roles of pedestrian family hauler and pseudo-sport sedan with equal aplomb. Heavily subsidized national lease deals on the GXE trim level haven't hurt sales either, and virtually guarantee an excellent used Altima market in the near future.

This year, the Altima is a carryover; the only change being to the emissions equipment.

If you shop smart, the Nissan GXE is a great buy. It can be outfitted with all sorts of goodies and remain well under $20,000. Watch out for the SE and GLE, though, the price of those cars has been rising, and is getting uncomfortably close to Nissan Maxima territory.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.