Go to Tell-N-Sell and look for used cars under $10,000 and you will likely see several listings for a Nissan Altima. After all, this dependable vehicle is one of the most popular choices in the second-hand market—and it’s easy to see why. The Altima has been lauded for smart innovations in terms of engine and design since its first release in 1998, and it has consistently been one of the top used cars under $10,000 alongside classic cars for sale. If you’re in the market for one, here are things to think about:
Headroom and legroom
Do note that the first two generations of the Nissan Altima are not as spacious as the mid-size sedans from this line today. If having extra head and legroom is important to you, stay away from those models. Passenger capacity and cargo room is an important element to think about. If interior space is important for you, look for a 2015 Nissan Altima 2.5S, which offers more head and legroom in the front and rear. But if you want a vehicle that is smaller and easier to maneuver in the city, a 2012 3.5S might be a better choice.
The fourth- and fifth-generation Altima share similar engines, but the newer ones are more fuel-efficient than the earlier versions. If you find a fourth-generation six-speed manual transmission, be sure to test drive it thoroughly. Some people say that this engine is not as refined as its automatic counterpart.
Newer models will obviously have more advanced capabilities and gadgets, including Bluetooth connectivity and touchscreen displays. But if your budget is $10,000 or less, don’t worry—event the 2010 Nissan Altima already has a rearview camera and a handful of updated features. Older 2008 and 2009 Altimas also received 5-star safety ratings so you can be sure that they are equipped with features that will keep you safe on the road.
Ready to shop for a Nissan? Don’t rush. Be sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly to protect yourself. Check the Altima you are interested in for any obvious damage, internal or external. Bring a professional mechanic with you (if possible) to spot hidden problems. You can also bring the car to a local service center for a full inspection and analysis. This can go a long way in helping ensure that you don’t end up with a car that will give you headaches down the road.