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Discussion Starter #1
Well, car shopping for the sister, and I decided to satisfy some of my own automotive curiosity.

The car was a base 3.5SE with the 6-speed MTX. The Sport and Premium packages would not appreciably alter the car, though ambience may improve.

Styling continues Nissan's road to hideous cars. While it still looks Altima, they mixed it with the worst elements of the Aztek award winning Maxima.

The overall drive was much like the previous generation 3.5 SE MTX. The engine is the strong suit, with a good pull throughout the powerband. The shifter is even worse than the last generation. The knob is too small to fit comfortably in the hand, and the throws are long and clumsy. It could be an early production new car, but the shift linkage bound up in shifts. Handling is soft, though not as Buick-wallowy as the previous 3.5 SE, the ride is also slightly better controlled. With the 3.5 SL, it's disgusting they don't put a real suspension on the 3.5 SE.

The Intelligent Key system is a nuisance. The push button ignition system makes it inconvenient to pick the accessory position, and the rest of the functionality is no better than a standard key/remote. The car will remain running without the key present.

The front windows only are auto up and down, a reasonable compromise between safety and convenience to some, though the autoreverse for the auto up is not sensitive enough. The climate fan was infinitely adjustable, a real plus. The stereo was no more horrible than most base factory autosound. The seats are soft and not very supportive, another disappointment on a Sport Edition. Front seat room was good, rear seat was not tested due to the fact the car wasn't even out of the wrappings. The glove box is huge and lighted, though not well organized to find contents. Most of the switchgear is not up to the level of the Mazda6. Things just don't feel substantial.

The interior looks cheap for the car, a wash of black plastic with no form, style, of variety. The steering wheel mounted controls were illogical. The large flip switch was for channel, not volume. I kept hitting it by mistake when I wanted to adjust the volume.

The trunk is decent sized, but the small opening limits loading. The pass through is could also be larger, though there are worse offenders.

Overall, if you liked the old Altima, you'll like the new one. However, a redesign should improve a car not just show off new cosmetic techniques.
 

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Yes they are cheap inside but, they do have lots of power and would spank just about every 6 around! I did a search on an Altima club site and found that with the same mods that we are doing, they are producing more hp and tq ( at least 220 whp up to 350 whp with a turbo). Also they are running mid 13's in the 1/4 mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
...until you got to a corner. Handling is more important than horsepower.
 

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I agree with the above statement. I personally prefer handling over horsepower. The Mazda 6 may not be the most powerful vehicle, but it dominates in the handling department. At a track (not a drag strip), a car like the 6 would be getting better times. I mean, I could keep up with a Mustang GT in a 6i, but I think that's more of a driver issue. I think the guy just wasn't shifting properly because he was gunning it and I was in front for a while. Then, when I was behind him, I kept up every step of the way without him getting away from me. Eh...
 

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Cheap on the inside, Bland on the outside, and wallows like a pig in the corners (and numbness only bested by a Buick Lesabre). Nissan can keep its' extra 40hp or so, and it'll cost you a couple grand more than the 6 for the privledge too. It needs it. Something to differentiate it from the competition; hell, even the friggin' Sonata kicks the shit out of it in every category (not to say that the Hyundai doesn't beat the 6 in any, because it does).

A few years ago I liked when I got an Altima for a rental (I rent a new vehicle every week for the full week, there's little that I don't get to drive for extended periods of time). The Altima was far better than most of the rental fleet drivel, namely the prevalent Classic/Alero. Nowadays the cars from the General kick Nissan's ass. Badly. Consumers just don't realize it. Now I cringe when I'm offered an Altima over superior offerings like the G6, Impala, Malibu, even the Monte Carlo which I so despised last-generation. Of course being offered the above in GTP/SS trims for rentals now only significantly widens that gap.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would have placed the G6 slightly below the Altima (and the Saturn Aura on par) mostly because of the accomodations, particularly in the rear seat. I agree they handle nicer and the Aura has a nicer interior. I have not driven an Impala/Monte Carlo, but the better be improved over their Grand Prix platform mate, which is about the worst car in class.
 

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I rented an Altima for 2 weeks when my last car was in the shop. Nice power, reasonable fuel economy. But it just felt cheap.

The new Impala.. not bad. It has remote start from the factory, and alot of other convenience features. Rented a 3.9 LS, very powerful. Still feels too big, which it is.

I also agree that the Maxima is one of the ugliest cars on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The V8 grand Prix seems like it would be fun to drive...?
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I drove the GTP Competition Group, with the 270 hp engine. More power isn't going to solve any problems.
 
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