The 2001 Nissan Altima gets slightly smaller and less pricey than the other competitors in its class: the Nissan Maxima, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry. It also moves faster, offers more spacious, and includes a few more bells and whistles than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Nissan finds a good balance in the Altima. Since its redesign in 2000, the Altima has become a serious value contender that delivers with style.
Overall, the Altima makes a spectacular value for a midsize sedan. It shows some room for improvement in the quality of interior materials, but the list of things to like about the Altima looks much longer than the reasons to keep shopping.
Body Styles: midsize sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Nissan Altima XE, Nissan Altima GXE, Nissan Altima SE, Nissan Altima GLE
The 2001 GXE offers a Limited Edition package, which includes an eight-way power driver’s seat, keyless entry, floor mats, and a security system. An in-dash six-disc CD changer comes standard on the SE and optionally on the GXE.
The 2001 Nissan Altima carries over the restyling from 2000. It looks long and sleek, with sporty touches on the SE. The headlights have embedded turn signals and cornering lamps, and fog lamps come standard on the SE and GLE. The Altima measures 186 inches long–almost nine inches longer than the Nissan Sentra and six inches shorter than the Nissan Maxima.
The front seats of the 2001 Nissan Altima gets larger than you’d expect and feel more comfortable too. The dashboard seems user-friendly, with large gauges that resemble a sports car’s design. The center console has multiple bins and rear-seat passengers enjoy their own cup holders. Three adults can squeeze into the back seat but no one feels comfortable for long. Cargo space expands by folding down the rear seatback on all models except the base XE.
The base XE provides the most affordable option, but it comes with tilt steering, power windows, and not much else. Air-conditioning comes with the option package and also includes a 100-watt CD stereo and cruise control. The GXE adds a folding rear seatback, a lifting adjustment for the driver's seat, cloth trim for the inner door panels, and elaborate wheel covers. Again, air-conditioning on this model can only be had with the value option package that also includes larger tires, a CD stereo, cruise control, power locks, remote keyless entry, lighted vanity mirrors, and an overhead console. The GXE Limited Edition package ups the ante with a power driver's seat, a security system, and floor mats. Leather seats remain an optional feature. The GLE has a gentler touch than the sporty SE, for buyers looking for something more refined. The GLE comes with an eight-way power driver's seat, side-impact airbags, and leather upholstery.
Performance & Handling
The 2001 Altima handles bumps and rough pavement with ease. The manual transmission allows the 2001 Nissan Altima to go from zero to 60 mph in about eight seconds. Handling marks the Altima’s strong suit, with sharp steering and a finely tuned chassis boasting an Acceleration-Sensitive Strut Valving (ASSV) four-wheel independent suspension with rear Super Toe Control. Anti-lock brakes remain optional on all models except the XE. The SE provides the sport model, and comes with the largest wheels and tires of the fleet, a tighter suspension, and rear disc brakes.
All four models come equipped with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. It produces 155 horsepower. It may not be the fastest engine on the block, but it’s refined and reaches156 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The gearing of the five-speed manual and the four-speed automatic transmissions got tweaked in 2000 for faster acceleration. The shifter in the automatic comes reprogrammed for better performance on steep grades. The five-speed transmission feels tight and almost like a sports-car shifter. The SE comes standard with four-wheel-disc brakes, an improvement that does not go unnoticed while maneuvering down windy roads.
The 2001 Nissan Altima’s standard safety features include dual front airbags, child seat anchors, ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes, rear-door child safety locks, an engine immobilizer, electronic brake force distribution, and emergency interior trunk release. Side airbags come standard on the GLE and remain available as options on all other models except the XE.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Altima: 23/31 mpg city/highway
- Great value
- Roomy for a compact car
You Won't Like
- Doors and trunk could be sturdier
- Bland disposition
Reliable, though unexciting sedan.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Taurus
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry