Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $2,400*

1994 Nissan Altima GLE

1995 Nissan Altima SE

1996 Nissan Altima GXE

1994 Nissan Altima GLE dashboard

1993 Nissan Altima engine

  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Steering/handling
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Engine noise
  • Road noise
  • Wind noise

Overall, we rate Nissan’s compact sedan highly and encourage buyers to give it a close look before buying anything in its league.


For 1993, Nissan replaced the Stanza with the Altima. The major improvement over the Stanza was an extra inch of rear leg room and head room. The compact Altima was offered in four versions: base, step-up GXE, sporty SE, and deluxe GLE. The only available engine was a revamped version of the Stanza’s 2.4-liter twin-cam 4-cylinder. When installed in the Altima, it provided 150 horsepower. A 5-speed manual was standard on all models except the flagship GLE version, which came standard with the 4-speed automatic that was optional on the three lower trim levels. A driver-side airbag came standard and when optional antilock brakes were ordered, rear disc brakes replaced the standard rear drums.

Yearly Updates

1994 Altima
A passenger-side airbag and 3-point manual front seatbelts are the major new features this year for Altima.
1995 Altima
The grille insert switches from a honeycomb pattern to horizontal bars; taillamps receive a subtle update and the wheel covers have been redesigned.
1996 Altima
Nissan’s popular Altima returns nearly unchanged for 1996.
1997 Altima
No significant changes were made to the 1997 Altima, which was released in June instead of September 1996. Early production cars did not include the side-impact door beams federally mandated for 1997, so Nissan began offering a 1997 1/2 model in the fall that included the extra crash protection. Altima would be all new for ’98.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All four Altima models (XE, GXE, SE, and GLE) have a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts. It produces 150 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 154 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. A 5-speed manual is standard on the base XE, GXE, and sporty SE, while the 4-speed automatic that comes optional on those three versions is standard on the luxury-oriented GLE. Acceleration is more than adequate, with 0-60 times of 9.4 seconds or so when equipped with the automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 154
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Performance and fuel economy from the standard 150-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine are more than adequate. Even with the automatic transmission, passing response is fine. But when called upon to pass quickly or make a merging maneuver, aggressive use of the accelerator is required to coax the automatic to make its one- or two-gear downshift.

Benefiting from its wide standard tires (205/60R-15s), the Altima is more athletic and nimble than all but the Accord. Ride quality is comfortable, if firm, and braking is strong and progressive. Also contributing to the car’s handling prowess is its crisp steering response. The only potential drawback is a cabin that could use a bit more sound insulation.

The interior provides adequate head room for all passengers and enough space for two adults in the rear seat. The trunk has a wide, flat floor, giving the Altima good cargo room for its size.


Model Tested: 1995 Nissan Altima GXE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 6

Total: 48


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.1 180.5 67.1 55.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.0 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.6 42.6 34.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Altima 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 112
Injury 139
Theft 147

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Poor air-conditioner performance may be caused by a refrigerant leak at the compressor-joint connector and is fixed by replacing the O-ring. (1993-95)
Air conditioner
Description: Weak or failed A/C may be due to internal problem with evaporator or to debris in the expansion valve. (1993-97)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the gauges quit working, the check-engine light comes on, or the transmission shifts harshly, then a wiring harness may be chafing on the top of the transmission under the battery tray or the instrument-wiring harness is chafing on the airbag-harness support bracket. (1995)
Automatic transmission
Description: Burnt transmission fluid or no reverse gear signal a defective rear control valve and low/reverse brake. (1993-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission does not shift properly until warmed up, make sure it is filled only with Nissanmatic “C” transmission fluid. (All)
Description: Inspect the right-rear brake hose for chafing on the rear suspension, which could lead to a leak and brake failure. (1995)
Engine noise
Description: Noisy timing chain might be due to broken lower-chain guide. (1993-97)
Oil leak
Description: Oil leaking from the front of the engine could be caused by a bad O-ring between the timing cover and the engine block. (1993-95)
Rough idle
Description: If the spark plug vent holes get clogged, the engine may run rough and/or the check engine light might illuminate. (1995-97)

Recall History

Description: Engine movement can cause throttle-cable housing to pull out of its guide; engine may then not return to idle when gas pedal is released.
Description: Air bags in certain vehicles are causing eye injuries. Dealer will replace all affected air bags.
1995 w/automatic
Description: Shift-lever lock plate can be broken; movement of lever without driver’s knowledge can result in unexpected vehicle movement.
Description: On a few cars, right-rear brake hose may contact suspension component, causing abrasion and eventual leakage.
Description: Seatbelts might not restrain occupant during a collision.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.