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3 Things To Know Before You Buy a Used Altima

The Nissan Altima is ideal for those looking for a gentle commuter car. This Nissan is also known for its excellent fuel economy ratings and high safety scores. The Altima is a reasonably dependable car, making it an even better option to buy used. Still, there are few things you should consider before you buy a used Altima. 

Performances reviews for the Nissan Altima are mixed 

If you’re expecting a sporty or powerful ride, you will have to look past the Altima. That said, it’s not necessarily that the Altima performs poorly, it’s just that there are sportier options in its class. The main advantages of the Altima performance-wise are its smoothness and its fuel economy.

Nissan most recently introduced a new generation of the Altima for the 2019 model year. The 2019 Altima features two new, fuel-efficient engines. The updated engines on the newer Altima models feature a strong four-cylinder and an available turbocharged four-cylinder. 

Before 2019, the Altima’s last major redesign was in 2013, with the 2018 model year being the previous generation. Of this generation, experts at U.S. News recommends the 2016 model year. The 2016 Altima has a refreshed exterior and transmission. More advanced in-car electronics are available on this model too. But if these features don’t interest you as much, it’s best to shop older models for a better value. 

RELATED: The 2020 Nissan Altima’s Engine Was Good Enough to Win It an Award

Overall, it’s dependable and problematic

Nissan shows off their Altima at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the Cobo Center
The Nissan Altima | Scott Olson/Getty Images

As you’re shopping for the best Altima model based on your needs, you’ll see that its predicted reliability ratings are average. A few model years stand out, though. Based on data from Consumer Reports, the best model years to buy a used Altima are the 2012, 2017, and 2019 versions. 

While the Altima has earned solid reliability ratings over the years, you should know that some versions are known to have specific problems. For example, we consider the 2013 model year  problematic. The 2013 Altima had issues with its air conditioning, door locks, and, most notably- transmission failure. The 2009 version is known for problems with its electronic steering column locks.

The main highlight here is that with proper maintenance, the Altima should last you a long time. This Nissan is known to go 200,000 miles or more. The Altima’s above-average safety scores also add to owners’ peace of mind.

RELATED: Does the Nissan Altima Have What It Takes to Compete With the Honda Accord

Affordability is a high-point too

Above all, the Altima is an excellent value option. While Altima owners aren’t as satisfied with their vehicle’s driving dynamics, they are happier with the price they paid for the car. Owners are also generally pleased with the Altima’s comfort and style. The Altima also has an above-average three-year-depreciation rate, according to iSeeCars.com, which also works in your favor.