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SEE ALSO: Compare Nissan Specs and Prices- Nissan Buyers Guide


By Marty Bernstein
The Auto Channel
Detroit Bureau

Cars, are very important to Nissan

Car sales for Nissan are down just 18.6% compared to the industry’s drop of 26% and are a very important category to the company. Despite the economic climate Nissan has increased its total marketshare to 6.7% and has made a major investment to “refresh and update” its sedans (up to 8.1%) in the corporate stable -- Maxima, Altima, Versa and Sentra.

I reviewed the extensive exterior changes during a media preview and was very impressed with the big changes that have been made to improve the company’s sedans. Overall a family resemblance in grills and front fascias -- and interior enhancements has been added along with new content packages and an emphasis on value, technology and entertainment. Every sedan model was updated. Here are the key changes:

2010 nissan maxima(select to view enlarged photo)

Maxima -- new 7” color monitor, rearview monitor, a 2GB music server, iPod net, DVD playback, Bluetooth, streaming audio and XM NavWeather, USB connectivity, and two new exterior colors.

2010 nissan Altima (select to view enlarged photo)

Altima – ranked #1 in J.D. Power IQS study, has meaningful exterior changes for the sedan including restyled hood, grille, front bumper, new colors, VDS standard and new alloy wheels. The interior has revised fabrics and finishers, new gauge appearance, USB connectivity and a 4” color audio display. The Altima Coupe has a new 3.5 SR model with restyled hood, grille, front bumper, projector beam hadlights, standard 17” wheels and 3 new exterior colors. Red leather seating is a new addition to interior trim colors along with elements from the sedan.

2010 Sentra 2.0 (select to view enlarged photo)

Sentra – the 2010 Sentra 2.0 has revised headlights and taillights, new grille and front fascia, revised wheel deisgns and standard DC. Inside the Sentra there are new fabrics with optional leather appointments and a new navigation package, (Discussed later)

2010 nissan versa (select to view enlarged photo)

Versa – even the entry level Versa with an MSRP of $9,990 through the top of range hatchback at $16,550 has had modifications including new 16” alloy wheels, Nissan’s new front grille, and new wheel covers. The interior has new seat and door trim fabrics, new audio, and a new meter cluster.

All these interior and exterior revisions add to the appearance and comfort of Nissan’s sedans, but the 2010 Versa and Sentra’s have something unique. See below: $400 installs a Navigation System in Nissan 2010 Versa and Sentra’s Getting a built-in navigation system in a new car involves a case of sticker shock for consumers. The price runs somewhere between $1,800 and $2,400, which is a lot of money considering the cost of Tom Tom, Garman and other PNDs, personal navigation devices run a few hundred bucks tops.

There’s good news from Nissan: the new Bosche navigation and multimedia system can be installed – no cables, connections, suction cups or other techno-things – exclusively on 2010 Versa and Sentra models for just $400. Four hundred bucks!

This is not slimed down version either. The Nissan Navigation system bundles a diverse range of audio, navigation and communication functions in a compactly designed unit integrated into the dashboard. In addition to AM/FM and satellite radio reception, the audio system is able to play CDs or MP3 music files on the integrated CD drive or via the USB slot or the AUX input.

If you’re seriously looking at either of these smaller cars, might want to ask for a special deal to get the new navi-system.

SEE ALSO: Compare Nissan Specs and Prices- Nissan Buyers Guide