Used 1998 Nissan Altima Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Altima is totally, and unnecessarily, redesigned for 1998. The Altima's new look is more wedge-shaped, with a trunk that looks like it has met the business end of a band saw. Standard equipment is up, including a CD player on every model except the XE.

Vehicle overview

When Nissan introduced the Infiniti J30-like Altima in 1993, it became an instant hit. The term affordable luxury became synonymous with Altima, and those who wouldn't have been caught dead in the Altima's predecessor, the unloved Stanza, rushed out in droves to buy this car. Five years have passed since the Altima was introduced, and although it has been a huge seller, it was beginning to show its age.

When Nissan embarked on the redesign, their primary task was to improve on the Altima's original design and to not screw anything up. It looks like they got the formula about half right. Although the 1998 Altima is better in many ways, it certainly doesn't have the attractive looks that the original car possessed.

First, the good news. The Altima's size has been improved in nearly every dimension. This means that those riding in the back seat are no longer eating their knees, and that there is enough room in the trunk for a family getaway to the mountains. Wood trim accents have been added to make the cars look more upscale, and CD players adorn the dash of all but the lowliest models. The interior layout of the Altima is quite functional with easy-to-use buttons and dials for most of the car's secondary functions.

The bad news is that the car no longer looks like a miniature J30. The arse-end of the Altima is now wedge-shaped and rather dumpy, making the car look fat from rear three-quarter angles.

While the Nissan may exhibit good value, it doesn't necessarily show exceptional luxury. Luxury, to Edmund's staff, implies a sort of elegance and craftsmanship that the example we sampled didn't have. Nevertheless, the Altima is a good buy that will probably run forever. No one is going to call it a Jr. Infiniti anymore, though.

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.