How I Fell in Love With a Nissan Altima


I've owned a lot of cars in my lifetime, but most of them have been Chevrolets (several Camaros, Monte Carlo, Chevette, Sonic). I'm a die-hard Chevrolet fan, but I'm not 100-percent opposed to owning something different for a little while. I just prefer Chevys because I can tinker with them. Show me something else that I can tinker with myself, and maybe I'll be interested in owning it. 

I think it's important to note that I have owned Toyotas (Celica) in my lifetime. I have owned Nissans (240 SX). I've owned Subarus (Brat truck). I've owned Dodge cars and Mitsubishis (Eclipse) and Mazdas. The only ones I kept for more than a few months were the Chevy cars.

I like cars, though. I worked at a used car dealership back in the mid-90s. I was the salesperson and the finance person. I even installed Peachtree to their computer system. I had just earned an accounting certificate, so I was excited to put that education to work. 

I wasn't good at the collections part of it because I was too nice, so they ended up hiring this suit and tie guy to do that part of it, lol. I still sold the cars and wrote the finance deals.

I pretty much ran the shop in my boss's absence, but it was a very small privately owned shop. It was in Burlington, NJ. We had two mechanics, and my boss was never there. He was an Irish guy who owned other businesses in the area and such. I left the shop when I got hired at a casino hotel in Atlantic City. My ex-husband and I then moved to Atlantic County, and I never went back to the automotive industry for many years. Why? I don't know. I suppose I got sidetracked by other things that I was equally good at. I'm one of those "jack of all trades" people who can do this and that but is not a master of any one craft. That has its good points and bad points. 

So yeah, I have experience owning a lot of cars, selling cars, and doing some of the finance work, but it was a small shop. Don't assume I'm saying that I'm fit to run an auto shop. I'm just stating my experience. 

This is probably all irrelevant to what I'm getting ready to discuss, but that's me. I'm chatty and longwinded. I always have life stories to tell. Y'all know the way I talk and the way I write. You should be used to 1,000-word personalized blog posts by now.


The Car I Fell In Love With


My last two cars before I got a Chevy Sonic were the Monte Carlo (owned five years), and a Chevy Camaro (owned 12 years). They were great cars, so I kept my tradition of sticking with Chevy. I liked the Sonic a lot, but two things annoyed me to no end: lack of a temperature gauge and stick-shifting. Granted, it's my fault that I bought a stick shift car. I thought it was going to be fun since I  hadn't done it a while. It turned out that it was more work than I felt like doing. I didn't want to have to shift all the time manually. That got to be a pain in my rear end real quick. 

I never really cared for hatchbacks, so I wasn't really happy with the body or the design either. I tried to make myself like it, but it just wasn't the styling I liked. Aside from that, the car was lightweight. I was used to driving the Monte Carlo, which was a mid-sized vehicle that had some weight on the body. It was heavy, and I liked that.

The Chevrolet Sonic had a little issue with it last week, and the dealership tended to my needs immediately. They took care of me 100 percent by picking me up, fixing the car, and letting me borrow a  loaner car. Here's where the story gets complicated: 

They gave me a 2013 Nissan Altima to drive, and I fell in love with it. Even though I hate that people always push foreign cars, I can't ignore that this particular car is great. I'm not a liar, so I'm not going to say the car sucks when it doesn't. It's a fantastic ride. What I like most about it is that it feels like my Monte Carlo weight-wise. I like to feel secure like I have enough metal around me to protect me if something were ever to happen. I like the weighty body, and I prefer it over something that feels like a matchbox car. 

Number two, it is a V6 with way more horsepower and takeoff than the Sonic has. The Sonic is very fast for its class, but I personally need more horses than it gives. I'm coming from a Monte Carlo, so I need something that's comparable to that. Oh, and I'd like to add that the Altima has a dual exhaust just like my Monte had. 

It was a pure pleasure just to put my foot on the gas and go and not have to shift. I'm sorry, but driving a stick isn't fun when you don't know where you're going or when you have to do other things with your hand like sip tea or do something with the GPS. 

Aaah and the Altima has a regular temperature gauge. That way, I can see if I'm overheating instead of finding out I'm overheating AFTER the vehicle has overheated. I hate digital gauges and "warning lights." Warning lights go off when it's too late. Regular gauges allow the driver to decide when to pull over to protect the engine. I never let a car even get close to overheating. Maybe that's why I've been able to keep them so long. 

I like everything about the Altima. It was even better on gas than the little stick shift was. I'm still on the same tank of gas that I started with last week! I enjoyed driving it so much that I asked the dealership if I could have it. They told me no, but I believe that persistence is the key here. Of course, if they continue to say no, then I'll have to show up on Friday so they won't put a warrant out for my arrest. :-) 

I really like this model, though. It's something that I'd be happy driving for the next six years as opposed to something that I'm not that enthusiastic about. I'm just not enthused about a hatchback with 138-hp that I have to shift manually. Again, that part is my fault. I didn't know I wasn't going to enjoy shifting because I hadn't done it in 15 years. The excitement wore off the first day. I guess I'm a lazy driver, ha-ha. 

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