In 1992, Nissan released the 1993 Nissan Altima, the debut of this midsize sedan. Positioned between the Nissan Maxima, which was larger, and the Nissan Sentra, which was smaller, the Altimawas a continuation of the Nissan Bluebird and was produced in the US to be sold exclusively in North and South America.
Named Stanza Altima, the first Nissan Altima sported a Stanza sticker on the trunk lid and featured a straight-4 DOHC engine. Drivers could pair it with either the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Strut suspension and stabilizer bars on the front and back created sportier handling.
Nissan loaded the Altima with a lot of options, such as a digital clock, power windows and doors, audio system and fog lights. For the SE trim, you could choose sport seats and a sunroof. Another innovative feature making its debut early on was the head-up display. While it wasn’t as modernized as what would come later, it did provide speed information and include warning lights on a small patch on the windshield.
Changes were made mid-generation with new amenities and style features. Rear speaker grilles were replaced by a flat rear deck in the 1995 model. The digital clock became an option across the trims.
Nissan released the second generation of the Altima in 1998. This model featured an updated interior with trims that fit almost every kind of driver. The no-nonsense driver would appreciate the simplicity of the XE while those who preferred a little luxury would gravitate toward the GLE. The SE offered a sporty drive while the GXE appealed to the widest audience.
Some features became standard while others were added, such as the intermittent windshield wipers. Safety improved with the Altima adding side airbags as standard. Power also improved from 150 to 160 horsepower. The GXE featured the Limited Edition Package with extra options, such as a power driver seat.
The 2006 Nissan Altima was the beginning of the third generation with a new platform and more space in the cabin for passengers. Another big change for this sedan was the V6 engine. At the same time, the four-cylinder 3.5L engine went from 240 horsepower to 245.
With a redesigned cabin and new exterior features, the Altima held more appeal from the first glance. An available navigation system allowed the driver to find new locations. All these features together made this sedan competitive for the first time. No longer did the Altima stand in the shadows behind the Maxima. It now outsold its upper model rival, pushing it into another market.
The 2007 Nissan Altima was the first model of the fourth generation. A new platform provided an upgraded rear suspension as well as a new front end. Engines were revised for more efficient performance.
Nissan continued to lead technology with innovative features, such as Smart Key and Bluetooth calling. The manufacturer also added a rearview camera for parking. A major mid-generation facelift brought in a new hood and new headlights as well as a different front fascia for the 2010 model. Since the CVT had become standard, the manual transmission was retired.
Two major changes came to the Altima for the second part of this generation. A hybrid model was introduced in 2007. Not only was it the first for this sedan but for Nissan in general. The hybrid version was only sold in ten states and discontinued in 2011.
The second major change was in a coupe Altima. This two-door model had its own facelift two years later with new headlights and additional features to appeal to drivers who liked the space of the Altima but preferred a sportier coupe.
For the fifth generation Nissan Altima, which debuted in 2013, the redesign included four-cylinder and V6 engines for more power. While the sedan was also larger than previous models, it was lighter in weight to provide a sportier drive. Nissan also added the SR performance trim with a sporty cabin, decklid spoiler, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as SR logo floormats.
More features were added with the mid-generation facelift, such as Zero Gravity front seats to improve stability and comfort. New bumpers and lights for the front and back were introduced. Standard now was the five-inch color display while the remote start system was an available option. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay were standard to pair the smartphone with the sedan.
The 2018 Nissan Altima became the sixth generation and made another impressive introduction into the market with the first production ready variable compression turbo engine. The V6 engine was retired while semi-autonomous driving was introduced with ProPilot Assist. Automatic emergency braking included pedestrian detection for increased safety.