2006 Nissan Altima

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$17,750

starting MSRP

2006 Nissan Altima

Key specs

Base trim shown.

Overview

The good:

  • Performance with V-6
  • Handling and stability
  • Ride comfort
  • Interior space
  • Resale value

The bad:

  • Manual-gearbox operation
  • Mild four-cylinder engine noise

7 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price.

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Nissan Altima trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Manual or automatic
  • Expansive window greenhouse
  • Sporty demeanor

2006 Nissan Altima Review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

The Altima has been a Nissan mainstay, and like most successful family sedans, there are a variety of models from which to choose.

While the 250-horsepower V-6 is fun, the rising price of gasoline makes the four-cylinder appealing because it uses less fuel and has a lower sticker price.

A redesigned 2007 goes on sale in the fall, but in the meantime Nissan is offering a four-cylinder Special Edition of the 2.5 S with anti-lock brakes and side-impact and side-curtain airbags. The price starts at $20,100 with the automatic transmission, and that is the model I drove. Popular options such as a power driver’s seat, cargo net, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and a trip computer are grouped into Trip and Comfort packages.

The 2.5-liter, 16-valve engine produces 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Cars sold in California and the Northeast lose five horsepower because of tighter emission controls.

The four-cylinder engine features a silent chain drive and a balancer system that effectively negates vibrations. It has variable valve timing and an electronically controlled throttle. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 gets a five-speed automatic.

The 2.5-liter engine is rated at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway. I averaged 29 mpg on a highway trip, but it seemed like more because the 20-gallon fuel tank gives a long range between fill-ups.

The four-cylinder has more than adequate city acceleration. On the highway, it was quiet and smooth, with plenty of reserve power for passing or climbing hills.

Last year Nissan redesigned the Altima’s interior with a new instrument panel, three-spoke steering wheel, new upholstery, chrome accents and chrome door handles. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes.

The new instrument panel slopes away from the front-seat passengers so the cabin feels more spacious, and getting in and out is now easier. The speedometer, tachometer and auxiliary gauges are housed in an attractive three-pod instrument cluster.

The center of the dash contains a small storage compartment that probably houses a navigation system on more expensive models. Buttons for the radio were flat and close together.

The Special Edition cloth seats were comfortable and covered in a fabric that looked as if it would be durable.

The split-folding rear seat adds convenience for hauling long items.

The Altima’s suspension makes extensive use of aluminum pieces, and that not only helps to keep curb weight in check but it also makes the car handle better. The Special Edition has a fairly plush ride, yet it feels agile and athletic without resorting to the harshness of a sports suspension. Enthusiasts who want scintillating performance should check out the 260-horsepower SE-R.

Anti-lock brakes also have electronic brake force distribution to optimize braking if the car is fully loaded, and brake assist, which applies maximum braking in an emergency stop.

Price
The base price of the test car was $20,100. Options included a power driver’s seat, cargo net, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer and chrome wheels. The sticker price was $23,175.

Warranty
Three years or 36,000 miles.

At A Glance

Point: The economically priced Altima 2.5 S Special Edition is a good compromise between economy and performance. The four-cylinder engine is smooth, it gets reasonably good fuel economy and has more than adequate power for most conditions.

Counterpoint: Side airbags and anti-lock brakes should be standard equipment.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.4

Most recent consumer reviews

3.7

The car was a gift not to me!!!!

Getting my license reinstated and receiving this car at no cost and so far 2 years and I’ve had one problem and it was the starter! This vehicle means a lot to me!!

2.6

Bought it cheap

I bought it for cheap and have put more money into it than what I paid for it due to all of the problems. I have 128,488 miles and breaks have failed, sensor wouldn’t let the car start, wheel bearings locked up, and has an catalytic converter problem. These are just a few things I’ve had to fix not all of it

5.0

Awesome Ride

Mom bought this car new; it was fresh off the delivery truck when we test drove it. The first test drive odometer had less than 1 mile! It’s been a great car, no major issues, and very reliable! Now I am the proud owner, still going strong! Love the mpg, and the 2.5 has plenty of pep for daily driving. I would buy another one before one of the newer CVTs!

See all 105 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Nissan
Certified pre-owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or cpo programs?

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