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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Nissan Altima Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Nissan Altima Overview

Hold Onto Your Horses (All 240 of Them!)

The Altima has been completely redesigned for 2002, growing in both size and price. The dowdy old styling that plagued the last Altima has been abandoned in favor of a racy new sedan with fat tires and flared fenders. Interior space has increased to the point that it now almost rivals the full-sized Maxima. Engine choices include a 2.5-liter, 175-horsepower 4-cylinder and potent 3.5-liter V6 that churns out an incredible 240 horsepower. A 5-speed manual is standard on all models with a 4-speed automatic optional.

With your first glance, you'll see that the modern interior is a perfect match to the Altima's new sheet metal. The seat fabric is akin to a soft terry-cloth robe and the seats themselves leaned toward the soft side without much side bolstering to push against you. Beneath the hood we found a prop rod where hydraulic struts should be and in the trunk, the absence of an interior deck lid liner and molded covers to protect the speakers and amp. These are all weight and cost cutting measures that are designed to be invisible from outside the car.

The SE features one-touch up/down power windows for the driver and front-seat passenger and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel. The audio system sounds great and is easy to operate while driving, though the orange digital readout display can not overcome the bright sunlight that pours through the steeply sloping windshield. The instrument pods for the speedometer, tach and fuel gauges are deeply recessed and constantly lit in a soft orange glow.

The V6 makes gobs of power and can launch the Altima to 60 mph faster than you can say "hello officer." As with any powerful front-drive car, there is plenty of torque steer (a front-wheel drive car's tendency to pull in the direction of the wheel being supplied power), but if you keep your hands firmly on the wheel you should have no problem. Unlike big-brother Maxima, the new Altima has an independent rear suspension that makes quick work of twisting back roads and smoothes the ride over less-than-optimal pavement. The chassis feels tights and the springs and shocks are well suited to each other; the ride is stiff when it needs to be, but never harsh.

If you yearn to drive a 350Z, but the reality is you need room for your spouse and two kids, then the Altima may very well be the answer to your prayers.

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