The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2010 Nissan Altima Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Nissan Altima

SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyers Guide

Nissan’s 2010 Altima: Like Good Wine It Improves With Age


by Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor at Large
Worldwide Bureau
The Auto Channel

Much like the wine business, the midsize family car category is very crowded with many brands aspiring to be one of the favorites with Middle America. Nissan’s Altima is once again in the top ten of sales this year and with good reasons too.

Middle America has recognized and rewarded Nissan’s Altima for its conservative, yet nice looking design, excellent engineering, good engine, quality manufacturing and fair value pricing – how many not so good but expensive wines have you tasted? – with very professional dealers. But frankly, the Altima was getting a little long in tooth and needed a good dose of rejuvenation and refreshing to maintain its leadership role.

Did they achieve the goal? Yes. Nissan has refreshed the Altima where it needed fixing and improved qualities and characteristics that needed improving including new exterior styling, nicer interiors, better infotainment system options and new technological innovations.

I like the change Nissan made in the Altima’s styling. While not extensive they did improve the design with a restyled hood, grille, front bumper and rear license plate finisher, new aluminum-alloy wheel designs. The rear remains basically the same including the dual exhausts which add a sporty touch.

Previous Altima’s interiors were best described as basic bland; Nothing offensive, yet nothing to praise either. That’s been changed in this new model with higher quality materials, fabrics and finishes throughout including new padding where it was needed, new colors that are brighter, more stylish accents and enough cup and water-bottle holders to satisfy the thirstiest.

Standard features include 6-way power driver seat, telescoping steering column and cruise control, just to name a few. There’s a huge list of options – think more money – to further enhance ones personal preferences. Dials, numbers and gauges for the driver have also been improved for clearer readability.

While the Altima is a family car it is also somewhat uniquely a driver’s car too with excellent power from the 3.5 liter, V-6 engine generates 270 HP with an impressive 258 pounds of torque. The smooth Xtonic CVT transmission in this vehicle is innovative technology that seamlessly controls the vehicle's gearing resulting in smooth, consistent acceleration at any speed. There is no noticeable change in gears which I really like and the Altima is easy to drive with fine, agile handling characteristics.

The Altima also comes with all the safety features you have come to expect including AABS, side curtain supplemental air bags, ABS, traction control and vehicle dynamic control.  The entire list of safety features is longer than most kids Christmas gift list, but you get the picture.  This is a vehicle designed with you and your passenger’s safety as a priority. 

Despite all its features and the impressive engine, Nissan did not forget the fuel economy and the Altima is NITSA rated 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway. Not class leading but very efficient.

Bottom Line
Make no mistake the Altima is a sporty car in a sedan's clothing as well as coupe and hybrid sedan. MSRP of the Altima starts at $19,900 and moves to $24,550 not including options and taxes.

Give the Altima a taste via a test drive at Nissan dealer near you. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.