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2007 Nissan Altima – All New – Upgraded

Smaller Altima to Save Costs
When the specifications of the all new Nissan Altima surfaced, we were shocked that the car had gotten smaller. After all, for most Americans “Bigger is Better”. Why did Nissan develop an all new “D-Platform” for the all new car? This new “D-Platform” is (mostly) all new – not a mild evolution of the previous car.

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The wheelbase is shorter as is the overall length. Where the previous Altima was one of the biggest cars in its class, this generation Altima is sized right on top of the all new 2007 Toyota Camry and 2007 Honda Accord. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand to get the first hands-on driving expeirence of the Altima in San Francisco.
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As with the exterior, the interior of the Altima is marginally smaller than its predecessor. Altima has much more front headroom than the all new Camry – and about the same as the Accord. Rear headroom is substantially smaller than both – a sacrifice to styling. Front legroom is competitive and rear legroom is much larger than Camry and Accord. The trunk is substantially larger than both Camry and Accord.
Why this smaller package? Simple. Cost containment. Making a car the same size as its predecessor would have been more expensive… not within the budget.
In truth, the Altima does not feel smaller than the previous car. Nissan has done a good job with surface designs and color coordination to make the interior seem inviting and spacious.
Styling and Materials – Styling Continues Nissan Expressive Design – Materials Much Better
We always thought the previous generation Nissan Altima was one of the better looking mainstream mid-size cars. It was expressive and had a real presence where the previous Camry was invisible and the Accord was trying too hard to look different. The style of the 2007 Altima pushes the envelope, but not too much. The headlights are expressive and the taillamps are very distinctive… and very expensive. And, we found out how the Nissan product planners partially paid for them… old style trunklid hinges that intrude into the cargo space when the trunk is closed (even the Sentra has gas struts).
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The interior materials are much better than its predecessor that was much maligned for the quality and fit and finish of the interior and interior materials. Now, Altima has soft touch surfaces on the instrument and door trim panels, padded armrests, tasteful accents. The overall style of the Altima interior is pleasant – contemporary and with the times. Thankfully, everything is understandable and easy to use. It is the first car in its class to offer a standard Intelligent Key with push button ignition. The touch screen navigation system is now available with XM Real Time Traffic. We would prefer the screen to be mounted higher than its mid-center-stack position.

Powertrain Upgrades – a Nissan Forte – Beats Camry and Accord
The optional 3.5L V6 powerplant is the latest version of Nissan’s VQ V6. While 80% of the parts are new, Nissan retains the VQ nomenclature, but adds a HR designator – high revving. Altima now has 270-horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. The power output is up 20-horsepower over the 2006 Altima. The 3.5L VQ puts out 2 more horsepower than the Toyota 3.5L and 10 more ft-lbs of torque. It puts out 16 more horsepower and 47 more torques than the 2007 Honda Accord V6.
The standard 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is an enhanced version of Nissan’s QR25 double overhead cam 16-valve 4-cylinder. About 20% of the engine is new. Power output is 170-horsepower with 180 foot-pounds of torque. The 2.5L puts out 17 more horsepower than the Camry 4-cylinder and 19 more ft-lbs of torque. The 4-cylinder is also much stronger than the Honda unit – up 9-horsepower and 20 torques.
Like Maxima, Murano (where CVT is standard), Sentra and Versa (where CVT is optional), the high volume transmission for the Altima is a CVT – continuously variable transmission. CVTs are the name of the game for Nissan division cars with Nissan now having the highest volume commitment to CVTs of any brand selling in the USA. An enhanced 6-speed manual transmission is available with both Altima powerplants.
Units begin shipping to dealers in mid-October, 2006 with sales starting in November.
Japanese Top Three Mid-Size Cars Outsell All Ameircan Mid-Size Cars Combined
Overall, the new Altima is a fully competitive Mid-Size Sedan worthy of battling it out with Accord and Camry. The Japanese threesome sells more than all American brand Mid-Size Cars combined. And after driving Altima in addition to Camry and Accord, we can understand why.

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