2011 Altima Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Altima is a driver's car among workaday midsize sedans and coupes. For drivers who appreciate sharp handling, the Altima excels. It connects with its driver and inspires confidence. It's steady and predictable in extreme handling situations. Its suspension is firm compared to some competitors.
The 2010 Nissan Altima line includes sedans and coupes, four-cylinder, V6, and a gas/electric Hybrid. With sharp handling, the Altima represents a sportier alternative to other midsize cars such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford Fusion.
The standard four-cylinder engine delivers more-than-ample power with good fuel economy. It is rated at 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque (170 and 175, respectively, in California). The available V6, closely related to the engine in Nissan's 370Z sports car, delivers exciting performance, with 270 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
The gas-electric Altima Hybrid Sedan boasts an EPA-rated 35 miles per gallon City, extending its range past 600 miles between fill-ups. The Hybrid features a less powerful version of the four-cylinder (158 horsepower) and an electric hybrid drive. Its electrically powered air conditioning works even when the engine is stopped.
Altima Sedan models are equipped with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, which works like an automatic. Nissan has excelled at CVT technology. The Coupe is also available with a six-speed manual transmission.
2010 brings significant changes. 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe and Sedan feature new exterior styling. The 2010 Altima models get upgraded interior treatments with more technology and entertainment features. Changes for 2010 Altima models include an advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with a 9.3GB Music Box for digital music storage and playback with a standard 6.5-inch color touch-screen display. All 2010 Nissan Altima models come standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control electronic stability control, which includes the functions of anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Traction Control, now standard on all models.
The Altima Sedan is comfortable, practical and well suited to growing families. It gives up little rear-seat room to the larger Nissan Maxima, with plenty of room in the trunk for luggage and cargo. In both the Sedan and Coupe, the Altima's cargo space can be expanded into the cabin, thanks to a standard fold-down, locking rear seatback.
The Altima Coupe two-door looks sportier than the Sedan. It sacrifices a substantial amount of rear seat room and we'd say it's a car for two people.
The Altima model line fits a wide range of tastes and budgets. The base sedan begins with the essentials, while the generous list of options, most grouped into packages, allows equipping the Altima at luxury-class levels.
Nissan Altima models get high marks for safety; standard equipment includes a full complement of airbags, anti-lock brakes, Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control. A rearview camera is optional.
Drivers who put an emphasis on value for the money will find the Nissan Altima worth a look.
The 2010 Nissan Altima comes in sedan and coupe body styles. Three trim levels are available, base (sedan only), S, and SR.
The Nissan Altima 2.5 Sedan ($19,900) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with cabin air filter, power mirrors, power door locks, power windows, and remote keyless entry. It comes standard with the CVT. The Altima 2.5 S Sedan ($21,840) adds a six-speaker stereo with single CD and offers a greatly expanded options list.
The Altima 3.5 SR Sedan ($24,520) adds the 3.5-liter V6 engine with CVT, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, eight-way power driver's seat, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and remote keyless entry.
The Altima Coupe 2.5 S comes standard with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission ($22,440) or CVT ($22,940). The Coupe 3.5 SR features the V6 and a choice of manual ($29,600) or CVT ($27,270).
The Altima Hybrid ($26,780) is available only as a sedan and only with the CVT. It comes with cloth upholstery and mid-grade features.
Options include a 2.5 S Convenience Package for sedan ($1,100) and coupe ($1,070) with eight-way power driver's seat, automatic headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, auto up/down passenger's window, key fob auto windows down, and other items. A Convenience Plus Package ($1,150) adds power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and side-view mirrors with integrated turn signals. A 2.5 S Premium Audio Package for the sedan ($1,240) adds a Bose audio system with nine speakers, a 4.3-inch color display, Bluetooth hands-free system, iPod connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, and additional audio features. The Sport Package ($2,370) for the 3.5 SR Sedan includes the dual-zone automatic climate control, power moonroof, High Intensity Discharge headlamps, rear spoiler, and fog lamps. The 3.5 SR Premium Package ($2,380) for the 3.5 SR Sedan includes leather seating, heated front seats with power driver's side lumbar support, the Bose audio system, HomeLink universal garage-door opener, compass, mood lighting, rear-passenger air conditioning outlets, and additional trim features.
For the Coupe, the 2.5 S Premium Package ($2,070) includes the dual-zone climate control, moonroof, Bose audio system, and numerous additional items. The Leather Package ($2,060 adds leather seating, the HID headlamps, HomeLink, compass, and other trim features. The 3.5 SR Premium Package includes the dual-zone climate control, Bose audio, RearView monitor, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, and additional audio enhancements.
The Technology Package ($1,780) includes the Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system with the 6.5-inch color monitor, 9.3GB Music Box hard drive for digital music storage and playback, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, DVD player, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, steering-wheel system controls, and VTR jack. Stand-alone options include fog lights ($310), interior floor and trunk mats ($175), and a variety of other features and accessories.
Safety features on all models include dual-stage front-impact airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, front and rear curtain-style airbags for head protection, VDC electronic stability control system with Traction Control, and ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, for optimum braking under a range of conditions.