2003 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
The car proved to be fairly reliable, especially since I paid little attention to its upkeep. At the time and at this price point, the Altima stood alone in performance and appearance. The AC went kaput in year four, engine mounts in year six. Downside is the poor material used in for the interior (I've seen GM cars with better plastic), and the body is only slightly more dent resistant than a can of Spam. However, the most frustrating was its awful turning radius. It was inexcusably poor.
At its price point, you get a lot of car. An engine with a lot of get-up-and-go. The base stereo provided a good enough distraction from the road noise. Mines even came with steering wheel audio controls. Loved that. The interior space was generous.
Turning radius, of course. And I do believe Nissan addressed the interior in latter iterations of the Altima.
Has been a reliable care up to 113K miles. First (recently), the computer chip that controls the shifting. Second, the struts are now history. However the brakes lasted for 100K miles. I bought this car new in CT and it's not with me in NV. Sslvage life is coming due but I still got a good ROI considering what I paid for it new.
Ride is a little loud. Car rised really low and does not handle snow that great.
I love my Nissan, but will not be purchasing another. Mechanically it has been sound, but there have been body issues and minor things that are expensive to repair. (Ex. $103 to change a headlamp BULB). If you live in the snow belt, you will notice that snow packs into the wheel well, making steering in bad weather difficult. Also tends to get stuck in snow, due to riding so low to the ground.
Comfortable to drive for long distances. Fun gear shift.
Make it easier to make minor repairs. It's not even an easy reach to check the oil.
2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
I have put 57,000 miles on my Altima. Right now I'm sitting at just under 75,000 miles. So far I have not had any major maintenance issues and the car has been very reliable. I did have to replace the brakes at 45k miles and the tires at 50k, which I think is pretty reasonable. It's not using a drop of oil. I do have one annoyance. My drivers window switch is going out and sometimes it takes a few tries to get my window to stay up.
Heated seats, bose stereo, homelink door opener, split back seat, 20 gal tank.
(1) The seats are not comfortable at all for me. My back or neck is constantly bothering me. My wife doesn't' like them either. Our 2005 Accord has better seats. 2) The paint isn't the greatest especially on the front where it's plastic. It's really starting to chip away now.
I have owned this car new since August, 2003 and there have been minor problems all except for the radiator tank cracking and having to be replaced. Minor problems like the hood support rod, whe I put it up to check the oil and snapped the rod into the holder under the hood, the hook part snapped off. Luckily the dealer had them in stock. This was int he cold weather so maybe it was the plastic got too rigiid otherwise I would have to hold up the hood by hand. Computer had to be reprogrammed twice after a recall. The original Continental tires stink and I finally got michelins after the second set of continentals. They only lasted 23k each set. 32 mpg on the highway using Cruise control!
Body style, Original Nissan fog lamps added and it makes a big difference.