I have not had the Nissan Altima in quite some time, probably two or more years. It’s a car I have always liked but couldn’t say I loved. That has changed with the 2010 Nissan Altima SR sedan I tested this week. This car has really transformed into a terrific vehicle.
Visibly, the new Altima is a much prettier and bolder car with a whole new front end. Nissan really did a GREAT job and you see styling cues from the 370Z, and a little from the Infiniti branch of the family. Let me just say it works well with the car and strangely makes it look like a much more expensive car than it is. Bravo to the Nissan designers for a job well done!
The much-enhanced interior was striking as soon as I opened the door. It was reminiscent of Infiniti and again looks much more expensive than you would expect in this price range vehicle. This is a mid-sized car that has a TRULY comfortable back seat with room for any sized adults.
Nissan has become known for electronics and this Altima is full of tech-friendly options including a terrific Bose sound system that is as good as I have ever heard, and the music storage will hold 9.3 gig. The Bluetooth phone hookup is simple and the steering wheel has full audio and air conditioning controls.
The version I have this week is the 3.5 liter, 24-valve six-cylinder version that produces 270 horses. I wish it were the 4-cylinder model since that is the most popular but I have to admit, the 3.5 liter is a ton of fun, with 258 pounds of foot torque.
Power everything comes standard on the car, the list of standard equipment is massive. My evaluation silver Altima had the Premium package which gives you all the electronics I spoke about above, plus heated seats, backup camera, and a lot more. It also had the Sport package, which is rear spoiler, fog lamps, Xenon headlights, and a power sliding moonroof.
Ride and drive dynamics are terrific. This car is a pleasure to drive. The only negative for me, and let me say this is just me, is the continuously variable transmission. I think it detracts from the car. The pluses are the fuel economy, which is great for a car this size, it just feels funny to me. I suspect once you get used to it, it would be fine.
This is classified as a mid-sized car but I find it to be larger than that. Fuel economy has been impressive especially in city driving. I am averaging 25 miles per gallon in mostly stop and go traffic. When I can get on the highway at 60 miles per hour, the car does 30 miles per gallon. Overall, I pretty much like everything about this car, and for the money it is a great buy.
What I liked most: Pretty much everything, especially fuel economy and price.
What I’d change if I could: Have an optional 6-speed automatic transmission.
Price as tested: $30,165 MSRP.
Fuel economy: Understated by the EPA at 20 City/27 Highway.
Altima 3.5 SR in a few words: Great car, terrific price!