Best & Worst Years For The Nissan Altima? (With Facts & Stats)

The Nissan Altima is a mid-size sedan that was introduced in the early 1990s and is the successor to the Nissan Stanza. 

Currently in its sixth generation, the Altima is a budget-friendly option that offers decent handling and a spacious interior.

JD Power has consistently scored the Altima with above-average ratings. The 2022 Nissan Altima, for example, received an overall score of 82 out of 100, which ranks it in second place, one point behind the Honda Accord. 

If you would like to know which model years of the Nissan Altima to go for and which to avoid, continue reading our guide.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Nissan Altima Are:

The best Nissan Altima model years are 1993, 1996, and from 2019 onwards. On the other hand, the worst Nissan Altima model years are 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2013. Taking note of these model years is important if you are looking to purchase a used Nissan Altima.

What Are The Best Years For The Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima has received decent reliability ratings and overall reviews. Listed below are the models that stand out from the rest:

1993 Nissan Altima

The 1993 Nissan Altima was what started it all in the United States. This model replaced the vintage Nissan Stanza which was popular from the 1970s to the late 1980s.

The big draw of the ’93 Altima was the longer wheelbase, increased interior space, and the twin-cam four-cylinder engine that was strong enough to produce 150 hp. 

The 1993 Nissan Altima received the highest consumer ratings from Edmunds (4.5 out of 5.0) and Kelley Blue Book (4.4 out of 5.0, tied with the 1996 Nissan Altima). 

Based on data obtained from, the 1993 Nissan Altima has only received a total of 3 complaints, all of which are related to engine problems. 

1996 Nissan Altima

The ’96 Altima was a huge success and received high praise for its affordability, handsome looks and fun driving characteristics.

The 1996 Nissan Altima received the second-best consumer rating from Edmunds (4.2 out of 5.0) and is tied with the 1993 Nissan Altima for the best consumer rating on Kelley Blue Book (4.4 out of 5.0).

Based on data obtained from, the 1996 Nissan Altima has only received a total of 6 complaints, the majority of which are related to electrical problems (three for electrical problems, two for engine problems, 1 for cooling system problems). 

2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 Nissan Altima

During the 2010’s the Nissan Altima received a lot of engine and transmission-related complaints – any model from 2019 onwards is a much safer choice.

The 2019 model marks the start of a new beginning for the Altima. It is the first model of the 6th Generation and is a significant step-up from its predecessor.

This model is praised for its available all-wheel-drive, stylish interior and for ditching the cheap plastic looks of older models.

It also features a new variable-compression turbocharged engine.

From 2019 to 2022 you’ll only see a handful of small changes; all of these models have received strong scores from JD Power of 81/100 and above.

Here’s what some owners had to say about the 2019 Altima on the Edmunds website:

“Super smooth and comfortable ride. Great acceleration, awesome stereo and over the top tech for safety and convenience”

“For $35k, it is a very nice car. Quiet, comfortable seats (and I’m a big guy!), great stereo/infotainment system (I have a Tacoma Off Road and the nav system SUCKS compared to this Nissan) and BANGIN gas mileage.”

Consumer Scores for Best Nissan Altima Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Nissan Altima model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
1993 Nissan Altima4.5 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
1996 Nissan Altima4.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2019 Nissan Altima3.7 / 5.03.9 / 5.083 / 100
2020 Nissan Altima4.0 / 5.03.9 / 5.081 / 100
2021 Nissan Altima4.6 / 5.03.9 / 5.082 / 100
2022 Nissan Altima3.6 / 5.03.9 / 5.082 / 100

What Are The Worst Years For The Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima has also had its fair share of problems and complaints. The models listed below are the versions of the vehicle that you should absolutely avoid:

2002 Nissan Altima

The 2002 Nissan Altima had a swathe of engine options, but variety alone was not enough to take away from the myriad issues discovered by car owners.

The 2002 Altima was notorious for engine problems that were caused by excessive oil consumption.

In the majority of cases, the engine needed to be replaced at an average mileage of 96,850 miles at a typical repair cost of $3,310.

The 2002 Nissan Altima received a total of 623 complaints based on data obtained from and logged a total of 1,295 problems based on information acquired from The leading issue of this model year is engine problems. 

2005 Nissan Altima

Just like the 2002 Nissan Altima, this model year fell short of expectations due to significant issues.

Some of the biggest problems were the floor pan rusting through & motor mounts breaking.

Here’s what one unhappy owner had to say:

I’ve never heard of engine mounts going bad, but this has caused a lot of noise and vibration. The repair estimate is $750, and I’ll have to get the problem fixed sooner rather than later.”

Other serious problems included:

  • Car shuts downs while driving
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Timing chain tensioner failed

The 2005 Nissan Altima received a total of 425 complaints based on data obtained from and logged a total of 1,330 problems based on information acquired from The leading issue of this model year is engine problems. 

Related: How Long Do Nissan Altima Last? (Solved and Explained)

2009 Nissan Altima

The 2009 Altima did its best to wipe away the damage done by older model years, but despite its best efforts, numerous other issues came to light.

By and large the biggest problem with this model year was its inability to start.

Drivers were left unable to start their cars due to a faulty electronic steering column lock (ESCL). Nissan dealers are happy to replace it, but it will set you back $1000.

There were several controversies surrounding the 2009 Nissan Altima, including transmission problems and problems with the interior accessories.

The 2009 Nissan Altima received a total of 652 complaints based on data obtained from and logged a total of 2,064 problems based on information acquired from The leading issue of this model year is steering problems. 

2013 Nissan Altima

The 2013 Nissan Altima is another model year to avoid, so much so that Car Complaints has awarded it the “Avoid Like The Plague” badge.

This model was plagued by transmission problems with many owners having to fork out for a new transmission after only 55,000 miles at an average cost of $3,120.

One angry owner had this to say:

“My mechanic has quoted me $3700 for a new transmission. I just paid my car off last year. He said I should trade it in, he wouldn’t even recommend replacing it as he said it’s a terrible car altogether.”

The 2013 Nissan Altima received a total of 928 complaints based on data obtained from and logged a total of 2,685 problems based on information acquired from The leading issue of this model year is transmission problems. 

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Some Altima models have received more complaints than others…

Model YearComplaints ( (
2022 Nissan AltimaNANA
2021 Nissan AltimaNA11
2020 Nissan Altima964
2019 Nissan Altima23123
2018 Nissan Altima12229
2017 Nissan Altima37269
2016 Nissan Altima104520
2015 Nissan Altima276880
2014 Nissan Altima3831,173
2013 Nissan Altima9282,685
2012 Nissan Altima148542
2011 Nissan Altima83282
2010 Nissan Altima125467
2009 Nissan Altima6522,064
2008 Nissan Altima2461,290
2007 Nissan Altima104580
2006 Nissan Altima2041,011
2005 Nissan Altima4251,330
2004 Nissan Altima92325
2003 Nissan Altima2331,090
2002 Nissan Altima6231,295
2001 Nissan Altima196199
2000 Nissan Altima158199
1999 Nissan Altima31110
1998 Nissan Altima28142
1997 Nissan Altima13140
1996 Nissan Altima6117
1995 Nissan Altima13NA
1994 Nissan Altima8NA
1993 Nissan Altima3NA

What Problems Do Nissan Altimas Have?

Listed below are a few of the typical problems owners have encountered with the Nissan Altima:

  • Transmission Problems
  • Steering Wheel Problems
  • Engine Problems

Related: 11 Most Common Nissan Altima Problems (Explained)

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Nissan Altima?

There are several great alternatives to the Nissan Altima. Here are other models to check out if you are looking to get a midsize cars:

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy
Honda Accord8.9$26,120 – $38,050City: 22-30 mpg / Highway: 32-38 mpg
Mazda68.6$24,475 – $35,900City: 23-26 mpg / Highway: 31-35 mpg
Toyota Camry8.5$25,395 – $35,820City: 22-28 mpg / Highway: 31-39 mpg
Hyundai Sonata 8.2$24,500 – $34,750City: 23-28 mpg / Highway: 33-38 mpg
Kia K58.2$23,790 – $31,190City: 24-29 mpg / Highway: 32-38 mpg
Subaru Legacy8.0$22,995 – $36,195City: 24-27 mpg / Highway: 32-35 mpg
Nissan Altima7.9$24,550 – $34,250City: 25-28 mpg / Highway: 34-39 mpg
Chevrolet Malibu7.3$23,400 – $33,500City: 22-29 mpg / Highway: 33-36 mpg
Volkswagen PassatNA$27,295 – $30,295City: 24 mpg / Highway: 36 mpg 




  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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