The Nissan Altima was first introduced in 1993 and proved to be reliable and rather fun to drive. Then, in 1998, Nissan redesigned it, making it bigger on the inside and the outside, but it suffered from Nissan’s attempt to cut costs. With the third-generation Altima, redesigned in 2002, Nissan re-creates a workable combination of performance, space, and comfort.
Body Styles: Midsize sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
Models: Altima 2.5, Altima 2.5 S, Altima 3.5 SE, Altima 3.5 SL, Altima 3.5 SE-R
The 2006 Nissan Altima receives a satellite radio as an option and some revisions to its options packages. Nissan also adds a slightly more powerful Altima SE-R model with a firmer suspension.
The five Nissan Altima models include: the base 2.5, 2.5 S, 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL, and SE-R. The 2.5 marks the bare-bones model with minimal features. Starting with the 2.5 S trim, buyers get mirrors and keyless entry. The 3.5 SE trim adds V-6 power, 17-inch alloy wheels, and sportier suspension tuning. The 3.5 SL trim has a softer suspension and smaller 16-inch wheels, but adds a sunroof. The SE-R trim has all of the above features, plus an even firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels with summer tires, bigger brakes, and HID headlights.
The 2006 Nissan Altima base model comes equipped with the barest of features. It has power door locks and windows, remote trunk release, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and manually adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat. The 2.5 S includes air-conditioning and cruise control. Optional features include a trip computer, a power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, and steering wheel-mounted controls. The 3.5 SE offers an optional power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a trip computer.
The Altima 3.5 SL features leather seating, a power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted controls, and a trip computer. The 3.5 SE-R adds a power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted controls, a trip computer, unique gauges, and sport seats. A stand-alone DVD-based navigation system is also optional.
Performance & Handling
The 2.5 Altima models contain a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 175 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The base 2.5 model has only the five-speed manual transmission, but the other 2.5 models offer the manual and a four-speed automatic as an option. The 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL, and SE-R models come with a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine. The engines in the 3.5 SE and SL models produce 250 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. The SE-R model produces 260 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic on 3.5 SE and SE-R models; the 3.5 SL comes with an automatic only.
Both engines render the 2006 Nissan Altima fun to drive and produce strong power, and its capable suspension gives the Nissan car a sportier character than most family sedans. The V-6 engine paired with the five-speed manual transmission gives the Altima more of a sports car spirit. The ride is good, but feels a little stiffer than some of its competitors. Vibrations from driving over bumps in the road get noticed by the driver and the passengers.
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes come standard on all 2006 Nissan Altima models. Anti-lock brakes are standard on the SE-R, 3.5 SL, and automatic-equipped 3.5 SE, and they remain optional on all other Altimas, except the base 2.5. Front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are also optional. Traction control comes as an option on V-6 automatic models only. In government crash tests, the Nissan Altima receives a perfect five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. The Altima without side airbags earns three stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Altima a top rating of ""good"" for front-offset collision protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Altima 2.5: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Altima 2.5 S: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Altima 3.5 SE: 19/27 mpg city/highway
Altima 3.5 SL: 18/27 mpg city/highway
Altima 3.5 SE-R: 18/27 mpg city/highway
- Strong, powerful engine
- Precision handling
- Spacious and comfortable interior
- Distinctive styling
You Won't Like
- Considerable road noise
- No stability control
- ABS not standard
- Meager list of features for the base model
A practical, roomy, sporty, and all-around worthy car.
If You Like This Vehicle
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