2010 Nissan Altima Review

2010 Nissan Altima - Nissan refreshes Altima Coupe for 2010.


The sporty Nissan Altima Coupe enters its third year of production in 2010 with significant enhancements, making it even more appealing.

Looking at the Altima Coupe's silhouette, it has definitely been one of the more stimulating two-doors in its class. The Altima Coupe obviously benefits from its popular sedan counterpart, but it's quite a different looking and feeling car than the sedan.

Now, for 2010, the Altima Coupe looks sportier. Also, the revised front fascia helps to provide even greater differentiation from its sedan counterpart.

In regard to major body panels, the sedan and coupe only share a common hood. All other panels are unique to the coupe. With an overall length of 180.9 inches, the Altima Coupe is almost 10 inches shorter than the sedan. And the coupe's 105.3-inch wheelbase is a full 4 inches shorter than the sedan. Also, the coupe's overall height is about 2 inches lower.

Still, the 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe stands out in a crowd with attention-grabbing styling. For 2010, the Nissan Altima Coupe is available in two trim levels: 2.5 S and 3.5 SR.

The 2.5 S is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. It can be mated to either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or to an available continuously variable transmission. The 2.5 S with the six-speed is priced at $22,940. The 2.5 S with the CVT is priced $500 higher. The 3.5 SR (formerly the 3.5 SE) features a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 270 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. When mated to the CVT, the 3.5 SR costs $27,700 and the price jumps to $30,100 for the 3.5 SR with the six-speed manual.

That price jump reflects a number of additional standard features included on 3.5 SR models with the manual gearbox that are otherwise optional when choosing the 3.5 SR with the CVT.

Those looking for a smoother ride and better fuel economy should go with the 2.5 S. Enthusiasts, however, will prefer the power from the 3.5-liter V-6. The V-6 brings forth a more aggressive suspension package that is a tad stiff when traversing bumpy roads. But you'll appreciate the agility and minimal body roll the 3.5 SR exhibits when negotiating twisty country roads. My 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR (CVT) tester was a hoot to drive.

The V-6 delivers the power quickly. I'm not a CVT fan, though, and would have preferred a six-speed automatic or the six-speed manual. That said, though, even with the CVT the car is fun to drive.

The cabin is quite comfortable for a tall driver and front passenger. However, the backseat is another story. Because of the sloping roofline, there isn't much headroom for rear passengers. I saw seatbelts for three passengers in back, but there's barely enough room for two.

Also, the coupe's luggage compartment is about half the size of its sedan counterpart. So if you're planning a family, or have more than one other passenger to chauffeur, you might want to consider the sedan.

I should note that my tester had the leather package ($2,060) that featured nicely appointed, comfortable and supportive leather seats. The optional premium package ($1,420) added an upgraded Bose audio system that sounded wonderful. And the technology package ($1,780) featured one of my favorite navigation systems.

The new optional navigation system offers a 6.5-inch VGA color touch-screen display with a USB port for iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with audio streaming, 9.3GB hard-drive Music Box, advanced map data including speed limit advisories, Zagat restaurant guide, XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather (XM subscription required) and an RCA input for auxiliary audio/video connectivity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the weather and traffic alerts while driving across town on Interstate 294 and a variety of other highways. I also like Nissan's standard keyless operation for entry/exit and starting the engine. Those who choose to buy an Altima will not be disappointed.


ENGINE: 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6

TRANSMISSION: continuously variable transmission

DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive

FUEL ECONOMY: 20 city/27 highway

BASE PRICE: $27,270

AS TESTED: $33,425 (includes $720 for destination)

WEBSITE: NissanUSA.com