I am the original owner of a 2004 Altima I purchased in 2003. It's a fun to drive car and has adequate head/legroom for tall drivers (as long as there is no sunroof). Acceleration and handling are very good and I generally get 23 mpg from daily driving. My biggest issues have been the following: Nissan dealerships are not good at diagnosing/fixing problems (I've used several dealerships with similar results), car won't start after you turn car on/off quickly in cold weather (This is a known "cold start" issue that, based on my experience, Nissan generally does not acknowledge/fix), parts can be expensive. While I enjoy driving the car, my experiences with Nissan are often disappointing.
Handling, acceleration (for a 4- cylinder engine), gas mileage, headroom/legroom, styling, interior/trunk space, telescopic steering wheel.
Don't buy this or any other Nissan. Nissan is not standing behind it's product and charging for repairs on a recall. My car stalls and Nissan knows why but refuses to fix their faulty product. Cam and crank sensor need to be replaced or your car will stall. Nissan refuses to fix this at their cost stating that it reprogramming the ECM fixes this. Well it does not and they know it. I am never buying a Nissan again and I suggest that you don't either....unless... you have a death wish. FYI it stall on turns. No ABS, power brakes, power steering and all that good stuff that you need to control your car.
2004 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
For the first year or so, this car was the best thing I had ever driven. It looks great inside & out, it's very powerful for a 4-cylinder, and it's pretty good on gas. Then the problems started happening... having to replace a steering joint, numerous brake work, engine cover coming undone, sensors out of whack, you name it. I am extremely meticulous when it comes to servicing my car, which is why I don't understand why all these problems kept coming up. And the car just turned 5 years old, with just about 100,000 kms only. This car has become a nuisance - I will never buy another Nissan, and I'm now hoping I can sell it or that it gets stolen. Seriously.
Sound system & heated seats.
Build a better car rather than focusing on looks & style.
My wife and I have an 04 and an 05, both 2.5S models. The 05 has held up pretty good so far, only having to replace an O2 sensor but the 04 is rubbish. Brakes are bad and need replaced often, had an O2 replaced, radiator/AC fans, rotors, rattles and noises. There is a rattle coming from the engine compartment. Check engine just came back on, again. Code P0420, catalytic converter. Warranty goes out after 80K on cat convts and after that you're on your own. $950 to fix +engine may be compromised. I really like the car when it's parked. I'm scared to drive it. Lucky me I own an 03 Corolla which never lets me down. Absolutely no problems. If you like having car problems a lot get an Altima !