2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SRPosted on July 21st, 2010
Midsized sedan gets refreshed styling for 2010
By Nina Russin
The Nissan Altima is a bread-and-butter sedan that’s remarkably un-bread-and-butterish. Designers pulled elements from the 370Z lexicon to give the Altima enduring style that makes sense in the Nissan family.
For 2010, the Altima gets a redesigned front end: a slight hood bulge and more aggressive grille give the exterior a more youthful appearance. Nissan’s updated navigation system comes with a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive for downloading music. XM traffic and weather updates minimize delays on crowded freeways.
Buyers can chose from two engines: a fuel-efficient four cylinder with 32 mile-per-gallon highway fuel economy, or a more powerful V-6 that gives driving enthusiasts something to look forward to on the weekend.
A speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system provides positive on-center response at speed, while producing enough assist for parallel parking in tight spaces. Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the car on a dime, even on rain or snow-covered roads.
Base price on the 3.5 SR is $24,520, not including a $720 destination charge. A premium package on the test car adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bluetooth interface, satellite radio, a USB port, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a four-inch display in the dash, and air conditioning vents behind the center console ($2380).
A sport package dresses up the exterior with a rear spoiler, replaces the standard halogen headlamps with brighter bi-xenon beams, and adds dual-zone temperature controls ($2370). The technology package which includes the hard-drive navigation system costs $1780.
Since mid-sized sedans tend to be their owners’ primary vehicles, they need to be capable of performing in bad weather, have the versatility to hold a car full of office mates or family members, and provide abundant storage space. Safety is a priority, since the passengers often include small children.
While I spent some time outside of Phoenix testing the Altima’s performance, most of the test drive took place within the city limits during rush hour. What impresses me about the Altima is how easy the sedan is to drive under these less-than-ideal conditions.
Keyless entry and start is standard on all models, enabling the driver to unlock the doors and fire the ignition without removing the key fob from his pocket. In addition to its convenience, keyless entry is an important safety feature for people who drive alone at night.
The V-6 engine is a well-rounded performer, with ample power on the low end for merging into traffic, and plenty on the high end for passing slower cars. Fuel economy on the test drive averaged 26 miles-per-gallon.
The continuously variable transmission is seamless without feeling mushy. The driver can shift the gear lever into manual mode for more aggressive performance.
Visibility around the car is quite good, despite its thick rear pillars. Side mirrors are large enough to minimize blind spots in the back corners, but don’t restrict the driver’s forward visibility while cornering. Over-the-shoulder visibility is good to both sides. I had no problems monitoring traffic several lanes to the left when I merged onto the highway.
A rearview camera on the test car projects a wide-angle view to the back of the car when the driver shifts into reverse. Lines superimposed over the image show the direction the car is moving according to steering inputs. The lines are green, yellow and red, to indicate the driver’s distance from any rear obstacles.
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels on the test car with all-season tires provide a wide footprint, giving the sedan excellent traction while cornering. The four-wheel independent suspension is extremely refined, with a supple, yet firm ride. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners.
Inside, the Altima seats up to five passengers. Due to a tall floor tunnel, two adults will be more comfortable in the second row than three. Available air conditioning vents behind the center console keep the rear passengers comfortable in temperature extremes.
Up front, the driver and front passenger get heated seats, with ample lower lumbar support. Redundant audio and Bluetooth controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel can be adjusted to maintain a clear forward view.
Controls on the center stack are simple and intuitive to operate. White-on-black gauges are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. A digital display in the gauge cluster shows instant and average fuel economy, driving range, time elapsed, ambient temperature and the trip meter.
All passengers have access to cup and bottle holders: there are bottle holders in all four doors, and cupholders in the center console, as well as a fold-down rear armrest.
A locking glovebox provides secure storage up front. The center console bin has a removable tray for small items. The USB port and a 12-volt power point are in the main section of the bin.
Dual overhead reading lamps illuminate the interior at night.
The rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 pattern to extend the cargo floor. The Altima’s deep trunk can easily hold luggage, groceries and golf bags. With the pass-through open, the driver can load in longer items such as skis or a snowboard. Cyclists will be better served with one of Nissan’s sport-utility or crossover vehicles.
All grades come with standard front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction and electronic stability control. Nissan builds the Altima at its Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant.
Likes: A versatile midsized sedan with attractive styling, excellent handling and performance.
Dislike: Bluetooth interface is not standard equipment.
Model: Altima 3.5 SR
Base price: $24,520
As tested: $31,945
Horsepower: 270 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 20/27 mpg city/highway
One response to “2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR”
This is one bad car and can’t wait to try it out! Not a bad price either for a muscle car!
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