5 Best And Worst Years For The Nissan Altima

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The Nissan Altima has been in the market since 1992 and is known as one of the most reliable and durable midsize vehicles for drivers.

The great thing about this vehicle is that Nissan is designing new models each year that can perform well and last for a long period.

They want to make sure that this vehicle does not cause any disturbance in the driving force or start having serious problems in its components.

Other than that, this vehicle is also well known for being an inexpensive choice.

But as you know, not all vehicles are manufactured equally, and some can have issues that you did not expect in a car.

This is why you must know about the best and worst years for Nissan Altima and is it a reliable vehicle to own.

The Nissan Altima has great scores when it comes to reliability. According to Repair Pal, it is a solid 4 out of 5 for overall reliability.

Besides that, these are the years you need to know about below:

Best Years for Nissan Altima:

  1. 2016
  2. 2017
  3. 2018
  4. 2019
  5. 2020

Worst Years for Nissan Altima:

  1. 2002
  2. 2005
  3. 2009
  4. 2013
  5. 2016

If you want to buy this vehicle, keep on reading about these years to make the right decision based on this guide.

Other than that, I have also answered some important questions to make you have a better understanding of the Nissan Altima.

List Of The Best Years For The Nissan Altima: What Years To Buy

Is it a good idea to buy an old Nissan Altima? Which years are the most reliable to drive

These models are all safe to buy and use.

They barely have any issues and are said to be the most reliable ones, so you can get the most out of them at an affordable price.

With that being said, here are the best models for the Nissan Altima that you need to get your hands on.

#1 Best Year: 2016 Nissan Altima

Starting with the first model in this list, the 2016 Nissan Altima is one of the most reliable vehicles one can own.

It has the best safety features and performance that makes every trip enjoyable.

What people love the most about this vehicle is, the redesigned and updated styling, outstanding transmission response because the transmission software has been re-tuned, extra sound insulation, and so much more.

Besides that, the safety features such as an advanced airbag system, warning system for blind spots, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning as well as forward emergency braking, and so much more that you do not want to miss out on.

The top speed on this vehicle is 130 mph which will go smoothly because of the powerful engine options. You can get all this and many other great features at an affordable price.

#2 Best Year: 2017 Nissan Altima

Many people also love the 2017 Nissan Altima because of its various characteristics that work efficiently.

One of the best things about the 2017 model is the exterior styling which makes it look incredible.

Many people love the Active Grille Shutters because they close automatically, especially when they are on the highway and at high speeds.

The great thing about this feature is that it increases efficiency as the vehicle runs and diminishes the wind resistance.

Other than that, people also love the interior that is comfortable and spacious, and also amazing tech features that are convenient to use such as calling for assistance if the driver gets in an accident, an advanced drive-assist display, Bose Premium Audio System, and various other updates for the best experience.

#3 Best Year: 2018 Nissan Altima

The 2018 Nissan Altima is one of the most reliable vehicles because of its excellent crash test results and frontal crash prevention scores.

The main thing people love about this vehicle is that it is super comfortable to drive, and it surely provides reasonable performance.

There is extra cabin space, so it means there will be legroom and storage.

Besides all that, when it comes to the components of this vehicle, such as the engine, the four-cylinder engine is the best thing that happened to this car because it is powerful and efficient.

You can now find the best safety technology installed in this vehicle, even its standard features.

This vehicle is a great midsize vehicle to own, considering the various tests that have been done on it and the rating scores, and what other drivers have to say about it.

#4 Best Year: 2019 Nissan Altima

Now coming to the 2019 Nissan Altima, there have been many updates made in this vehicle, making it the best model and favorable model by many users.

The incredible aspect about this midsize vehicle is that you get to have all the great features and performance at such an affordable price.

It is worth mentioning that many people are happy with the standard safety features such as drowsy driver detection, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, lane-centering steering, etc.

All these will be beneficial as there are fewer chances of accidents happening.

Other than that, people also love an updated continuously variable automatic transmission that works well with a four-cylinder engine and a 2.0 turbo engine, excellent fuel economy, and an innovative multimedia system that is super convenient to use.

#5 Best Year: 2020 Nissan Altima

The 2020 Nissan Altima is the last model on this list, this is one of the latest models that has so much to offer at an amazing price which is the main reason why people appreciate it so much.

The best thing about this vehicle is that it includes outstanding safety technology such as a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, etc.

It also includes powerful engine options, an all-wheel-drive system, an updated and easy-to-use cruise control system, a climate control system, the best handling capabilities that give the drivers the control they need, and a transmission that works so well that you can shift gears effortlessly.

This is the best option for you because it is comfortable to drive and sit on as the interior is spacious and quiet.

According to the cars.usnews.com site, this vehicle has a predicted reliability score of 79 out of 100, which is so much better than most midsize vehicles.

List Of The Worst Years For The Nissan Altima: What Years To Avoid

Now, these worst years have the most serious issues with their components.

They also have been reported by various people and recalled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So here are the years you need to avoid for your safety.

#1 Worst Year: 2002 Nissan Altima

Starting with the 2002 Nissan Altima, this vehicle has countless problems that can be difficult to fix and cost a lot to maintain.

It is stated that this vehicle has more than 1000 complaints reported to the Car Complaints website.

Keep in mind that the worst issue found in this vehicle was the excessive oil consumption that ruined the entire performance of this 2002 model.

Other than oil consumption, this vehicle also had some other serious problems like a faulty catalytic converter and serious exhaust system issues.

Moreover, many people said that their vehicle began to blow smoke out of the engine because of over oil consumption which can be quite dangerous to drive with on the road.

It is worth mentioning that this problem can cost more than $3000 to fix, which is quite expensive.

Plus, this vehicle is an older model, so it is better not to purchase it since there are high chances of severe problems that might not be fixed completely.

#2 Worst Year: 2005 Nissan Altima

The 2005 Nissan Altima is another worst year model that must be ignored.

This is an old model that is likely to have many problems that can be life-threatening. More than 1200 complaints were reported to the Car Complaints website for this vehicle.

The most common issues are with the engine system, transmission, and exterior design but mainly related to the body/paint of the vehicle.

The main concern with the exterior is that the paint chips off easily due to corrosion, and it happens in the early years of purchase, making the look of the vehicle cheap and terrible.

Besides that, one of the most dangerous problems with this vehicle is the rusted floor pan.

This problem is so serious because people notice a huge hole under the floor pan once there is rust. It can cost around $1000 to fix this issue and be done immediately.

There is also over oil consumption in this vehicle which is likely to happen when the vehicle reaches around 100,000 miles and can cost more than $2000 to repair.

Lastly, at 100,000 miles, the climate control system also doesn’t respond well, and it mostly requires you to replace it, which can cost around $1500.

#3 Worst Year: 2009 Nissan Altima

The 2009 Nissan Altima is the worst because of the poor reliability ratings, dangerous driving experience, and over 2000 grievances reported to the Car Complaints website.

According to most of the submitted reports, this 2009 midsize vehicle tends to have issues with the steering wheel.

In most cases, the steering wheel would lock randomly, making it difficult for people to drive or even control the road.

This can be extremely dangerous because you would not have the freedom to turn whenever necessary and end up with serious accidents.

This can cost around $1000 for repairs plus the labor cost.

Other than this issue, there are also transmission problems and the poor rear head, which mainly happens when the vehicle reaches around 100,000 miles.

The transmission issue makes it difficult for drivers to accelerate and shift gears, and these problems can cost more than $5000 for repairs but are covered by the warranty.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Nissan Altima

The 2013 Nissan Altima is explained to be the worst model anyone can own.

You will be surprised to learn that this vehicle has over 3000 complaints reported, and according to the Car Complaints website, this vehicle is given the title of “Avoid like the Plague” seal.

The major reason why this is the worst model is because of the problems with the CVT transmission system.

This is because people noticed how their vehicle’s transmission got stuck while driving on the road.

You cannot take it lightly because of how dangerous it can be and can cost more than $3000 for repairs.

Additionally, because of the transmission getting messed up, many people also noticed that the climate system malfunctions.

This is highlighted because the compressor tends to rub with the vehicle’s frames which can ruin the quality pretty quickly and is pricey since the repair cost is $1500.

#5 Worst Year: 2016 Nissan Altima

The 2016 Nissan Altima is the last model in this list of the worst years.

This vehicle does not have too many complaints but still has serious issues, which is the main reason why it is the year you need to avoid. It also has a poor reliability rating.

According to the Consumer Report, this vehicle has a 1 out of 5 for overall reliability, which is quite poor.

The main reason why this vehicle had this rating is because of transmission problems.

Many owners of the 2016 model said it could be difficult to drive on the road since the vehicle fails to accelerate or the transmission slips a lot while turning.

In most cases, people had to replace the entire transmission system because it would get damaged easily.

This can cost more than $5000 for replacements, so it is reasonable to avoid this vehicle.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Nissan Altima?

Now that you know the best and worst years of the Nissan Altima, it is essential for you to also know about the common problems since they will help you make your decision.

You will also need to look into the vehicle carefully to not make the wrong decision.

So here are the common problems found in the Nissan Altima below:

1. Hood Latch Failure

This is quite dangerous because the hood would suddenly open while driving on the road.

The main reason this might occur is that the secondary latch of this component might have corrosion that cannot protect the hood at all.

This issue is commonly found in 2013 up to 2018 Nissan Altima models.

There were over four recalls made on this vehicle mainly because of this issue by Nissan, and since it was so severe, Nissan decided to replace the complete latch system in the year 2020.

2. Faulty CVT Transmission

CVT stands for continuously variable transmission.

The main concern with this system is that it tends to respond only while driving on the road or shutters a lot while accelerating or overheating, which can be quite dangerous.

You will also notice this problem when it makes loud noises or you have a low fuel mileage.

This issue is found in almost all Nissan Altima models and can cost more than $5000 to repair or replace.

3. Automatic Emergency Braking Problems

The AEB problem cannot be taken lightly in the Nissan Altima because the vehicle would randomly brake despite any obstacles on the road.

Many people said that they would see the “front radar unavailable due to malfunction” warning sign coming up indicating there is some issue with the vehicle.

It is worth mentioning that the emergency braking lawsuits were concerned because of Nissan’s Safety technology since they were mainly putting drivers’ lives in danger.

Related: Why Won’t My Nissan Altima Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is High Mileage For A Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima can last up to 200,000 miles to 300,000 miles easily.

This vehicle is also said to last for around 13 to 20 years if it is well taken care of, driven well, and most importantly, maintained regularly.

Related: How Long Do Nissan Altimas Last?

Q2. What Is The Difference Between 2.5 And 3.5 Nissan Altima?

The main difference between the 2.5 and3.5 is that the Altima 2.5, the SR trim level, includes a 2.5-liter engine in the vehicle.

Whereas the Altima 3.5, the SR trim level, has a more powerful, bigger, and more efficient 3.5 liters engine in the vehicle’s hood.

Q3. Are Older Nissan Altima Good Cars?

No, the older Nissan Altima models are prone to have many problems in their system.

According to the data by the Consumer Report, the best and most reliable years for the Nissan Altima are 2012, 2017, and 2019 models.

Q4. What’s Better; Sentra Or Altima?

Many experts suggest that the Altima is better than the Sentra for various reasons. First of all, the Altima has a more powerful and reliable engine option than the Sentra.

It also has additional cabin space as well as better optional all-wheel-drive features. But the Sentra has a better fuel economy and is cheaper than the Altima models.

Q5. How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Transmission In A Nissan Altima?

Replace the transmission completely in a Nissan Altima can cost you more than $3500. However, that mainly depends on the vehicle.

But when it comes to transmission services such as changing the fluids, which are done by flushing the transmission fluid, it can amount to less than $150.


Overall, the Nissan Altima is a great midsize vehicle to own.

With the assistance of the best and worst years for Nissan Altima, you can quickly make the right decision and avoid the worst years.

Just make sure that you inspect the vehicle before purchasing since the vehicle’s driving capabilities, and safety features depend on how the previous owners drove it.

And once purchased, it is highly suggested to use the vehicle properly and provide regular maintenance so it can perform efficiently and last longer than 13 years.