Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

2004 Sedan Buyer's Guide
by Martha Hindes

Nissan Altima
Nissan Altima sedan

You could say the Altima sedan has spent some time in a gym. This gutsy, sporty version for '04 definitely has plenty of muscle. Nissan officials tout its excitement, not just its purpose as five-passenger transportation. While essentially the same as a year ago, Altima still commands the road with performance and style.

Sizewise, it's no slouch, commanding more interior and trunk room than most competitors, but still sleek by design, with smooth and powerful lines for a commanding presence even when standing still. This isn't a car for the cautious. You just know it will take off in a blast of speed, with the four-speed automatic or five-speed manual in gear.

Engines powering the '04 are led by a 3.5-liter V-6 for the top SE trim level, that delivers 245 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque. It's part of Nissan's VQ engine series named one of the "Ten Best" from Ward's Auto World for nine consecutive years. A 2.5-liter DOHC generates 175 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. Nissan offers a wide range of Altima's depending on the budget. The entry level base with automatic at $17,350 is $500 more than the manual version. But moving up to S, SL or SE levels makes it well-appointed, topping off at $23,250.

Among options are convenience, leather and sport packages. Available addons include a rear spoiler, power glass moonroof and head curtain airbags for the three up models. Despite its heavyweight presence riding on 16-inch or 17-inch wheels, this Altima is eight percent lighter, thanks to front suspension aluminum parts. Consider it a tough, trendy looker, to accommodate a wide range of vehicle budgets.