By KBB.com Editors
After a successful redesign in 2007, the 2010 Nissan Altima gets a slight freshening for 2010, helping it remain current in a sea of ever-toughing competition. Spun from Nissan/Renault's robust D-Platform architecture, this stylish front-drive four-door continues as the volume leader in the division's lineup, having been joined by a limited-production, gasoline-electric Hybrid variant as well as a sporty Coupe model (both reviewed separately). Even in conventional form, the Altima sedan covers a lot of competitive ground, offering three trim levels, both four- and six-cylinder power and an advanced Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). That wide selection helps it face off against the current best-seller, Toyota's popular Camry, as well as the Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord – both formidable foes.
The Altima's breadth of powertrain and packaging choices opens the door for lots of comparatively affordable variations on the theme that can meet and exceed the needs of all manner of mid-size sedan buyers – whether they're seeking basic transportation or want something with a more sporting character.
Anyone who regularly plans to carry adults in the rear seat will find the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry all offer a bit more usable "stretch space" in the aft quarters than the slightly smaller Altima package. And those who prefer a manual transmission might be better suited shopping Mazda's MAZDA6.
For 2010, the Altima receives a revised hood, front fascia and wheel designs, as well as new fabrics and interior trim. All models now feature Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) as standard equipment and last year's 3.5 SE is rebadged as the 3.5 SR.
Driving Impressions An extremely rigid body structure serves as a great foundation for all Altima models. Even with their smaller wheel-and-tire packages, the four-cylinder variants have a semi-sporty feel, and things get...more overtly engaging when you step up to an SR V6 variant. While not quite as dynamically sophisticated as the Honda Accord, the Altima's suspension soaks up minor road imperfections while delivering a comfortable and well-controlled ride over most surfaces. The four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are competent and consistent stoppers, and the standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) adds both driver-selectable stability and traction controls to deliver an extra measure of confidence.
Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Xtronic is Nissan's third-generation CVT. This computer-controlled stepless shifter helps improve performance, economy and emissions. In "Sport" mode, it even creates six "virtual" gears that closely approximate the response of a conventional manual gearbox.
Optional 2.5 SL Package
This fashionable extras group gives buyers who want a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder Altima 2.5 S virtually all of the main upscale trappings of a 3.5 SR, adding leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, a moonroof, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, HomeLink universal garage-door opener and numerous lesser luxury touches.
The Altima's airy cabin has a contemporary appearance supported by nicely textured plastic, lots of stow space and numerous soft-touch surfaces that contribute to its welcoming character. White-on-black main gauges are easy to read, the ancillary controls and center-stack switchgear is logically arrayed and the Altima's generous glass area provides the driver with good sightlines to the outside world. The front buckets, although comfortable, could use a bit more lateral support. Even though the Altima skews to the smaller side of the official EPA "mid-size" category, its 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat can still accommodate two average adults or three kids while enhancing the flexibility and utility of its 15.3 cubic feet of trunk capacity.Exterior
Even a quick glance shows that the Altima is rich in Nissan family cues, most notably in its new grille, headlamp and taillamp treatments. However, the lines and contours of its crisply rendered sheetmetal display a bit more aggressive edge than you'll find in the Sentra or Maxima. A well-defined shoulder ridge complements bold flaring on fenderwells that house 16-inch 215/60 tires on 2.5 and 2.5 S models and 215/55 rubber on 17-inch cast-alloy wheels on the 3.5 SR.
Even the low-volume, Altima 2.5 base model includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, power locks, air conditioning and push button start/stop. The 2.5 S, which accounts for the majority of all Altima sales, adds an audio system with CD player, Intelligent Key keyless entry and offers the luxury-oriented SL Package as an option. In addition to V6 power, the 3.5 SR appeals to enthusiasts with a sport-tuned suspension and performance tires. On the safety front, all Altimas feature front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
An impressive array of upgrade packages are offered for all but the base 2.5. Even the 2.5 S can be outfitted with leather upholstery, a dual-zone climate control system, power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, premium Bose audio system, XM Satellite Radio, rearview camera and lots more. The 3.5 SR offers a Premium Package that adds heated front seats, driver's side power lumbar support, rearview monitor and Bose audio with nine speakers. The SR's Technology Package adds Nissan's next generation hard-drive navigation and audio unit complete with streaming Bluetooth, real-time traffic and weather updates and Zagat restaurant review guide.
Conventional Altima sedans offer the choice of an inline-4 or a V6. Both engines are made from lightweight aluminum, have four valves per cylinder and use continuously-variable valve timing to improve response and efficiency across their entire operating ranges. The 2.5-liter four develops a solid 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 raises those figures to 270 and 258, respectively. Nissan's Xtronic CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission), is the only transmission choice.
2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
170 horsepower @ 5600 rpm (California)
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
175 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32
270 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27
By Ben2All50 on Saturday, October 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great styling, comfortable"
Cons: "CVT, so-so gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I've had this Altima for 3 years. Here's a list of pros and cons. PROS * Nice styling inside and out * Comfortable seats * Lots of legroom front and back * Quiet, comfortable ride * Push button ignition. Keep the keys in your pocket, purse, etc. (You'll find yourself walking up to any other car and forgetting to hunt for the keys.) * Good handling in snow and slippery roads * Controls feel solid and intuitive * Vents high in center dash vent cold A/C air above your hands so they don't get cold CONS * So-so mpg. 24 winter 26 summer 28-30 if all highway * Expensive CVT trans fluid changes. Min. $200. Kind of wipes out whatever fuel savings the CVT is supposed to create. * CVT has a somewhat annoying motorboat sound when accelerating--high steady throttle gradually tapers off as car speed increases. * Very touchy gas pedal makes smooth starts difficult * Heat comes forward from under dash so the hot air comes up to your face but can leave your feet cold * Plastic center console creaks when your arm is resting on it"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By HENry on Saturday, October 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable, awesome to drive.. smooth when driven."
Cons: "dashboard has cracks from heat. cover will fix it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"the car is smooth when driven.. only issue is the dashboard has been slightly melted and small cracks.. the rest of the interior still like new... i guess the heat is what ruined the dashboard.. to me it is still minor.. a dashboard cover can fix the problem.."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By DragonWrathChylde151 on Saturday, October 11, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This was my first brand new off the lot ever purchase. It had maybe 100 miles give or take a few as I drove away. Payments were extreme, but given $0 down and not to good of credit -- can you blame them? When I was deemed disabled due to multiple diagnosis and lost my job, I filed for a disability claim with the disability insurance I had purchased with the car. Only to have it repossessed in the middle of the night, where the repo company dropped it causing damage to the vehicle that the Nissan Motor Finance Company tried to bill me for. Financial institution aside this is a very fun, energetic, luxurious, sporty little sedan."
By Snake on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well appointed and comfortable. Drives nice."
Cons: "Front end too low, body parts not sturdy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"It's a comfortable, well appointed car but the front end is too low and always getting damaged. The body doesn't hold together well, minor bumps and scrapes cause parts to detach. The interior is very nice, convenient and comfortable."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By speedfan on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable to own and maintain."
Cons: "Engine noise, headroom, fuel milage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Has been affordable to maintain, no large expenses for repairs. Dealer has taken care of a couple of small problems at minimal cost. Car should use more headroom, I am 5'10" and it is still tight. Fuel milage is average, 26 hwy on trips, should be a little higher on a 4 cylinder. Interior has held up well and paint is as new after 80,000 miles. Overall room in vehicle is excellent, keyless is pretty handy for daily use."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By rlcox on Sunday, September 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's beauty, it's performance, etc."
Cons: "The seat gets a tad bit hard after LONG drives"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this model of the Altima. It is sporty, sexy, just a beautiful car. What a disappointment the new model is. I think they think they made it better but it is ugly. My hope is that we can keep my car going with regular maintenance. I LOVE it!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful