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The Nissan Altima has been roving our roads since 1993. After nearly three decades, the Altima has sold over 2.5 million units. Although this popular sedan is a proven winner in the economy sedan world, not all year models were created equal. So, what is the best year for the Nissan Altima? 

A silver 2021 Nissan Altima midsize sedan traveling on a curvy two-lane highway through trees
2021 Nissan Altima | Nissan Motor Corporation

Is the Altima a good car? 

Usually, a model that has been around for this long and sold this many units is all the proof one needs to know that it is, at minimum, a decently-priced, generally reliable car. I doubt you’ll find many people to argue that the Nissan Altima is a very fun or exciting drive. However, they do work well and are generally affordable. 

According to Olive, we are in the sixth generation of the Nissan Altima. From its debut in 1993-1997 was the first generation. The second-generation only lasted from 1998-2001. Gen three was 2002-2006, while the fourth and fifth generations were 2007-2012 and 2013-2017, respectively. The sixth and current generation started in 2018. 

What’s the best year for the Nissan Altima

The folks at Olive go on to say that the fourth generation seems to be the best years for the Nissan Altima. That brings the hunt down to the year range, 2007-2012. 

Typically, the latter half of the generation of a certain model is better because the automakers have worked out the kinks and recalls with the new model. That being said, 2011-2012 nearly tied for the best year for the Nissan Altima. 

Not only are these two years of the fourth generation the most reliable, but they are also super affordable. On average, Nissan Altimas from this year’s range cost around $5,000-$8,500. Obviously, the mileage and condition of the car strongly affects the values. 

How much is the car maintenance cost for a used Nissan Altima

These models are older, which means they will definitely need some maintenance. However, the price of car maintenance averages lower for a used Nissan Altima than many other comparable models from this time period. 

The fourth Generation Nissan Altimas also benefit from the 2010 update that added a standard Smart Key, Bluetooth availability for cell phone connectivity, and a parking camera. The Nissan Altima also introduced a new look in 2010. These updates add to 2011 and 2012’s claims as being the best years for the Nissan Altima. 

All that being said, Olive finally landed on the 2011 as the best year for the Nissan Altima. At the end of the day, the only real difference between the two model years is the price. The 2012 will cost more on average without offering any significant upgrades or performance benefits. 

There is also another good option for getting a good used Altima

A red 2019 Nissan Altima midsize sedan on display at the New York Autoshow on March 29, 2018, in New York
2019 Nissan Altima | Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Although the 2011 Altima is the best year for a used Nissan Altima if the budget supports a newer model, that can also be a strong option. The older used Altimas are great because they are so plentiful and affordable. However, a used Nissan Altima from the beginning of the current generation is also a solid move. 

The 2018 Nissan Altima is also super reliable and decently affordable. Even though these are only three years old and mostly still under warranty, the cost is still manageable.


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