First released in 1993, the Nissan Altima Sedan has been one of the leading sellers on the market since its inception. Built with the driver in mind, the Altima has proven itself year after year. A classier version of its predecessor, the Nissan Stanza, the Altima is a mid-size sedan only available in the Middle East and North America. Some say that the Altima continues the legacy of Nissan's 1957 Bluebird.
Originally the Altima was released as a trim level of the Nissan Laurel in the Caribbean. However, in 1993 Nissan brought the model as a standalone to the United States. It took the place of Nissan's poorly assessed Stanza. The first generation of the Altima was marketed as a compact car. Available with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual, the Altima could reach up to 150 horsepower. In Nissan's attempt to make the Altima more elegant, they installed a rosewood dash in the car.
Subsequently, the second generation Altima was only released in America. The car was exactly the same size as its earlier version, but drivers claimed that the newer model was more spacious and comfortable. Possibly it was because Nissan redesigned the interior to better utilize the space. An extra 5 horsepower was added as well as lighter alloy wheels. A Limited Edition trim was also added to the second generation Altima. This trim included a keyless entry fob, power driver's seat, and even an alarm system.
When the third generation of the Altima Sedan began in 2002, Nissan expanded the original version and added over ten cubic feet. The exterior was given a facelift as well. Formerly sharp edges were softened, and a new crosshatch grille was introduced. Another addition was the huge twenty-gallon gas tank. Almost 100 horsepower was added to the third generation models as well. Eighteen-inch wheels, a high-flow exhaust system, and a V6 engine were all new additions to the 2002-2006 model years.
2007 was a landmark year for the Nissan Altima. The car's platform was changed. Improved rear suspension was added. Also, the addition of 25 horsepower gave it a boost. The exterior received a more modern and streamlined design, and a wealth of technological advancements were included. In 2007 a coupe version was introduced as well as new hybrid technology. However, only seven states in America sold the hybrid version in 2007. The Nissan Altima Hybrid gets an estimated 42 city MPG and 36 highway MPG. With the hybrid business booming, Nissan recently made the Altima Hybrid available throughout the United States.
The latest model year of the Nissan Altima Sedan has brought about even more changes. The sedan appears sportier, and dual exhaust has been installed. A two-door coupe version was also released in 2008. As long as the Altima continues on the same solid path, it is sure to be an American-built staple for years to come.