2010 Nissan Altima Review

2010 Nissan Altima - Nissan refreshes 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: www.NissanUSA.com

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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