Nissan's compact sedan receives a facelift and several mechanical changes for 2000. The front-drive Altima was redesigned for the 1998 model year, when it gained fresh styling and more interior space. The present design is scheduled to last through the 2001 model year. For 2002, Nissan plans a larger Altima to compete head-on with the midsize Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, currently the two best-selling passenger cars. Like the current model, the new one will be built at Nissan's plant in Tennessee.
New seat designs, control enhancements and other minor changes are being made this year. Nissan also says it has reduced noise with thicker door glass, reshaped outside mirrors and more sound insulation. The 1998 redesign moved Altima closer to being a true five-seat car. Three adults are still a squeeze in the back seat, but there's more legroom and headroom for all positions. Base XE models lack a folding rear seatback for expanding cargo space, but all other models have one.
New front and rear fascias are intended to make Altima look wider, and newly optional 16-inch wheels are designed to give it a more substantial stance (15-inch wheels are standard).
Under the Hood
Engine and exhaust system improvements combine to boost horsepower by 5 to 155 in Altima's 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Manual and automatic transmissions are available. Nissan says handling improves this year from new stabilizer bars, spring rates and struts.