The third generation of Nissan's Altima receives some new packages for 2006, which include the 2.5 Special Edition Package, Special Edition Premium Package, Comfort Package, and Trip Package. Nissan also is offering for the first time a factory-installed Sirius or XM satellite radio.
The Altima is Nissan's answer to Honda's Accord and Toyota's Camry. The difference seems to be Altima's lean toward the sporty side of the driving equation. There are six versions of the Altima available: 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SL, 3.5 SE, and 3.5 SL, as well as the SE-R. The Altima sports a wedge shape that is geared toward buyers looking for a more aggressive, performance-oriented design. The SE-R model dresses up the look even more by offering a unique front fascia, colored headlight bezel, fog lights, and dark window moldings. The SE-R's backside also is more sporty compared to the standard Altima, with a unique rear fascia, smoked taillight covers, and large dual-exhaust outlets. Side-sill spoilers, silver-painted front and rear disc-brake calipers (complete with SE-R logo in front), and SE-R rear badging finish off the racer look.
Performance isn't just a word tossed around by the engineering department. It's proven through the vehicle's 250-hp, 3.5L V-6 or the 175-hp, 2.5L four-cylinder powerplant. The SE-R can be had with either the 3.5L V-6 or a pumped-up, 260-hp engine. There are three transmission choices: a 5-speed manual (excluding 2.5 SL 4-cylinder models), a 4-speed automatic, or a 5-speed auto with manual shift mode that allows the driver to shift for fun without the hassle of a clutch. The Altima also benefits from its family sports-car lineage with a multi-link independent rear suspension adapted from the (non-U.S.-spec) Nissan Skyline.
Inside, the Altima has received a quality interior befitting its exterior design. The instrument cluster is a three-gauge design with chrome accents. The SE-R's instruments lean toward the "Z" car center-mounted gauge layout. A plethora of technology options along with top-notch safety gear makes this a viable alternative in the segment.
The Midsize Conventional segment features 20 models from a variety of manufacturers. All are fighting for a piece of the 2.5 million-unit sales pie. Some of the best-selling models in America compete in the segment, and the bar is continually being raised.
The Toyota Camry continues to outsell the competition, selling 376,803 units during calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM It is followed, predictably, by the Honda Accord (369,293 units sold in 2005), with the Nissan Altima (255,371) ranking right behind Accord on the sales chart. The best-selling domestic in the segment, the Chevrolet Malibu, was next with 245,861 sales.
|2.5 (CAL - Retail Orders Only) (M5)||5 speed manual||$17,750||170-hp / 2.5L 4-cyl||24/31|
|2.5 S (CAL) (M5)||5 speed manual||$19,600||170-hp / 2.5L 4-cyl||24/31|
|3.5 SE (50 State) (M5)||5 speed manual||$23,600||250-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||21/27|
|3.5 SL (50 State) (A5)||5 speed automatic||$27,400||250-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||20/29|
|3.5 SE-R (50 State) (A5)||5 speed automatic||$29,650||260-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||20/29|