Originally launched in 2002, the third generation Altima didn’t take long to rack up the awards and accolades – not to mention sales. Since its launch, Altima has enjoyed record-breaking sales and has quickly become Nissan’s best-selling vehicle.
The 2004 Altima brings to the segment a blend of performance, style and value that is unmatched. With its distinctive exterior design, choice of powerful 4-cylinder or V6 engines, performance-oriented suspension and class-leading roominess, Altima injects passion into the driver with a robust performance and offers an escape from the traditional four-door sedan.
“Altima is a vehicle that sets out to make a bolder statement in the mid-size sedan segment – it’s not just a means for transportation, but rather an exciting experience on the road,” said Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division.
Abundant Performance with Award-Winning Engine
Altima is powered by the impressive 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers a commanding 245 horsepower and a muscular 246 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5-liter V6 is part of the VQ engine series, which has been recognized as one of the “Ten Best Engines” by Ward’s Auto World magazine for nine consecutive years. V6-powered Altimas qualify for Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) status.
Also available on 2004 Altimas is a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder producing 180 lb-ft of torque. This engine, called QR25, features a silent chain drive and a balancer system that effectively negates vibrations without taking up much space – combining ideal packaging and smoothness. New for 2004, all 4-cylinder models will meet the latest U.S. federal governments emissions standards (FED Tier2 Bin5) and those units sold in California (and other states with California-certified vehicles) will meet PZEV standards (late availability). Emissions equipment causes nominal reductions in horsepower (from 175 hp to 170 hp) and torque (from 180 lb-ft to 175 lb-ft).
Both engines feature continuously variable valve timing, modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons and electronically controlled throttles.
Backing either engine is a choice of 5-speed manual (not available on 2.5 SL 4-cylinder models) or 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmissions.
Automatic transmission-equipped V6 Altimas offer an available traction control system. This system uses a combination of throttle, fuel cutoff and shift schedule to aid traction in off-the-line starts and slippery situations. A 20-gallon fuel tank provides a long range between fill-ups.
The 2004 Altima features a front suspension design with extensive use of aluminum parts, which is eight percent lighter than a comparable steel design. A cradle-type frame with an offset coil spring and lower transverse link layout provides better handling and riding performance, cutting 30 percent of lateral forces acting on the front suspension.
The rear multi-link independent suspension was adapted and improved from the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline supercar and is similar to Infiniti’s flagship Q45 sedan. The rear shocks and springs are separated for reduced friction and the shock is in line with the center of the rear wheels, providing better damping and less harshness. In addition, the rear suspension is approximately six percent lighter than the rear suspension in the previous generation Altima.
Altima features a high torsional rigidity, which helps provide confident handling. For a quiet ride, numerous countermeasures were taken to improve noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
All 4-cylinder Altimas come with 205/65R16 tires on either steel or aluminum-alloy wheels and V6 models feature standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 215/55R17 tires.
Braking is provided by standard 4-wheel disc brakes with an optional 4-wheel,
4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). ABS-equipped Altimas feature two advanced braking systems - Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which optimizes brake force depending on load condition (passengers and cargo) and Brake Assist, which senses hard or panic pedal application and helps provide maximum braking capacity.
Expressive Exterior Design
Altima’s captivating design begins with its wedge shape with high waistline and pronounced character lines. An arched silhouette slanted back window and integrated front and rear bumper shapes give the sedan a fluid, smooth form. Large 16- and 17-inch wheels give Altima a performance look with an aggressive stance.
Finely crafted combination headlights, with optional xenon bulbs on V6 models and large round taillights with clear lenses give Altima an upscale appearance. Green-tinted UV-reducing solar glass enhances Altima’s luxury look, protects interior fabrics and improves passenger comfort.
Altima is assembled at the award-winning Nissan North America Manufacturing Smyrna and Decherd Tennessee plants using the Intelligent Body Assembly System (IBAS), which produces panel fit accuracy within +/- 1.0 mm. Altima is the first Nissan assembled in Tennessee to utilize a one-piece bodyside structure – a key feature for uniform panel gap and quality.
Body and structural improvements made to the third generation Altima add up to a 170 percent increase in overall body stiffness versus the 2001 model (second generation). The increased stiffness and solidity increase driving stability and ride comfort while reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
For 2004, Altima adds a new exterior color – Smoke – among a choice of eight total exterior colors selected to complement the sedan’s body and personality.
Inviting Interior Design
The 2004 Altima continues to offer a contemporary interior design that is relaxed, modern and comfortable and emphasizes a harmony between driver and machine. Altima's large cabin is designed to be among the best in class with cabin volume at 103.2 cubic feet.
Altima again offers three distinctive interior environments that encompass both seat cloth or (optional) leather and interior surface trim appointments, including audio faceplate and HVAC controls. The three environment choices feature colors of Charcoal, Blond and Frost.
The instrument panel, designed to fall away from the occupants for increased leg room and improved ingress and egress, is a high tech design with a three-gauge “cockpit” instrument pod. The gauges feature a fine vision meter illumination system for superior visibility.
In the gauge cluster is a multi-function trip computer, which includes an odometer, twin trip meters and a display for outside air temperature, driving time, average speed, fuel consumption and distance to empty.
For the driver, there’s a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable center console armrest and gated automatic transmission shifter with a formed gearshift knob design. HVAC and audio controls are grouped in a single unit, reducing complexity.
Additional features include a power port inside the center console storage area for a mobile phone, large cup holders that can hold up to a one-liter bottle, roof-mounted map light and sunglass holder. Power windows and locks are standard and windows can be opened remotely via key fob for cabin venting.
Audio systems include a standard 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with an available in-dash 6-disc CD changer with radio data system (RDS), speed-sensitive volume control and steering wheel audio controls. Optional is a Bose® premium audio system with 8 speakers and AM/FM/in-dash 6-disc CD changer with RDS, speed-sensitive volume control and steering wheel audio controls.
Altima also features a large trunk with standard cargo net. The trunk measures 15.6 cubic feet.
From a safety standpoint, Altima comes with standard dual-stage supplemental air bags that sense seatbelt use and collision severity and deploy accordingly. Optional are front seat side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted side-impact curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupant head protection. Also standard are seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors and tether system.
Models and Options
The 2004 Nissan Altima is available in four well-equipped models – the base 2.5, mid-grade 2.5 S, luxurious 2.5 SL and the V6-powered 3.5 SE. The 2004 Altima comes with several available packages. The 2.5 S features three convenience packages. The Convenience Package features alloy wheels, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather-wrapped steering wheel, steering wheel mounted controls, trip computer, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, speed-sensitive volume control, auto on/off headlights, auto up/down front passenger window and vehicle security system; Convenience Plus Package, which includes the contents of Convenience Package plus power glass sunroof with sunshade; and Premium Convenience Package, which includes the contents of Convenience Plus Package plus Bose® audio system with AM/FM radio and 6-disc in-dash CD changer and radio data system.
The Altima 2.5 SL features an available power glass sunroof.
The 3.5 SE features several exciting equipment packages, including a Sport Package, which includes sunroof and spoiler; Sport Package Plus, which includes sunroof, spoiler, Bose® audio system and xenon headlights; Leather Package, which includes a Bose audio system, sunroof, heated leather-appointed seats, leather door trim panels, automatic temperature control, padded leather-trimmed armrests, HomeLink® Universal Tranceiver, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and heated outside mirrors; Leather Sport Package, which includes the Leather Package, spoiler and HID xenon headlights; Premium Leather Package includes the Leather Sport Package plus simulated wood trim.
Other 2004 options include side air bags/ABS combination and side air bags/ABS/Traction Control combination.