Nissan Altima

With the introduction of the second generation Altima mid-size sedan in 1998, Nissan continued the successful formula of the original Altima, combining luxury features, distinctive styling and outstanding performance at an affordable price. For 1999, Altima is refined with a number of enhancements, including the addition of standard alloy wheels on the GLE model, a new head unit and faceplate for models equipped with AM/FM/cassette/CD audio systems, improved sound and speaker quality for AM/FM/cassette/CD audio systems, availability of a power antenna with the GXE Security and Convenience Package, the addition of standard variable intermittent wipers on SE and GXE models and the availability of two new exterior colors, Blue Dusk and Titanium Frost.

"Altima has been very well received since its total make-over one year ago," said Michael Seergy, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. "It gives us a solid, high value mid-size model between our other two sedan offerings, the Maxima and Sentra, and offers buyers a wide range of trim levels including the luxurious GLE and sporty SE."

1999 Nissan Altima Front Angle

Exterior Design

In designing the second generation Altima, the stylists at Nissan Design International, Inc. (NDI) in La Jolla, Calif., set two goals: Make sure they didn't lose any of the original Altima's strong consumer appeal and find a way to offer more of everything that had made the first generation a success. They set out to create a shape that would be efficient and stylish, distinctive and elegant, without pretense or resorting to styling gimmicks.

Many styling cues of the previous Altima were maintained, such as the thick bases of the A- and C-pillars that visually impart the solidity of the vehicle. The large greenhouse also was preserved to create the sensation of a larger car for occupants. The 1999 Altima enjoys the benefits of this highly aerodynamic shape with 0.32 coefficient of drag (compared to a 0.34 Cd on the original Altima).

A 20 percent increase in platform rigidity over the previous generation Altima allows use of a wider track and helps reduce noise, vibration and harshness. Altima is assembled using the Intelligent Body Assembly System (IBAS), the same method used to assemble the Infiniti Q45 luxury performance sedan, to produce panel fit accuracy within +/- 1.0 mm.

Interior Design

NDI also created Altima's stylish interior, which focuses on an environment that is ergonomically correct, is efficient, pleasing to the eye and includes features that leave drivers surrounded in luxury they can use.

The instrument panel, the focal point of the interior, uses a series of organically connected arcs. This design visually connects the exterior styling to the interior and through use of rich colors and elegant textures helps establish Altima as the affordable luxury mid-size sedan. Switches and controls – such as the headlamp switch, located within the path of the driver's hand when entering the Altima – complement the driver's and passenger's natural sequence of motion. The accessory power port is positioned to easily accommodate power cords for cellular phones and other devices commonly used by today's drivers.


The front engine/front-wheel drive Altima uses a refined version of Nissan's 2.4-liter in-line 4-cylinder powerplant. Developing 150 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, Altima offers one of the most powerful 4-cylinder engines in its class.

Assembled at Nissan's Decherd, Tenn., engine and transaxle production center, the engine utilizes lighter pistons, low-friction piston rings, reduced camshaft and crankshaft friction and other advancements to produce more power at lower rpm than the previous version, enhancing overall driveability.

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on all Altima XE, GXE and SE models. Standard on Altima GLE, and available on XE, GXE and SE, is an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission.

The 1999 Altima's responsive 4-wheel independent strut suspension with coil springs and rear Super Toe Control benefits from a wide track and low internal friction for shock absorbers and bushings. Stabilizer bars are used in the front and rear.
Steering is provided by a power rack-and-pinion design. An alloy substructure in the steering wheel helps reduce steering wheel vibration to the driver without sacrificing steering feedback.

Altima XE, GXE and GLE models offer power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes with 4-wheel discs standard on the SE model. Optional on all models is a second-generation 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). The system offers improved pedal feel and also is lighter and smaller than the previous system.


Standard safety equipment includes second generation dual front supplemental air bags, as well as child safety rear door locks and pipe-style steel side-door guard beams. Every Altima offers 3-point front and rear outboard seat belts with ALR/ELR retractors for front passenger and rear outboard seating positions. Front seat belts with height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors also are standard. Altima is designed with front and rear crumple zones that help absorb the impact of a collision, helping to protect vehicle occupants. The hood incorporates hinge-mounted hooks designed to stop the hood from entering the passenger compartment in the event of a collision.

Model Availability

Four models of Altima are available for 1999: XE, GXE, GLE and SE.

The Altima XE offers standard 5-speed manual transmission, dual front air bags, power windows, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, 4-way adjustable front bucket seats, full wheel covers, body-color bumpers, flush-mounted multi-parabola headlights, dual power-adjustable outside mirrors, power windows, tilt steering column, dual cup holders with covers and more.

Altima GXE, the volume model, builds on the offerings of the XE with the addition of standard comfort and convenience touches such as CFC-free air conditioning, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, cruise control, power door locks, illuminated entry and exit system with battery saver, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat and wood tone trim.

For affordable luxury with a sporty attitude, Altima SE adds a body-color front grille signature bar, sport-tuned suspension, rear disc brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels and 205/60R15 tires, and a body-color rear spoiler. Also standard are a 120-watt 6-speaker audio system with compact disc and cassette tape players, power antenna, remote keyless entry and Vehicle Security System, sporty seat cloth, white-faced gauges and leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob (manual transmission only).

For buyers who want it all, the top-of-the-line Altima GLE trades in the SE's sporty suspension for a softer, more luxurious ride, leather seating surfaces with power-operated 8-way adjustable driver's seat and standard 4-speed automatic transmission.

Available options for 1999 include the automatic transmission (standard on GLE), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), power glass sunroof, leather seat trim/power driver's seat (optional on SE, standard on GLE) and two special option packages.
The XE Option Package includes air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/cassette audio system and fixed mast antenna. The GXE Security and Convenience Package includes remote keyless entry and vehicle security system, AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system and power antenna.


All 1999 Nissan models are covered by a comprehensive 3-year/36,000-mile "bumper-to-bumper" Limited Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile Limited Corrosion Coverage and a Lifetime Limited Seat Belt Warranty.

Gallery: Nissan Altima (1999)