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2012 Nissan Altima

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2012 Nissan Altima Review


To its owners, the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe is often regarded as a slightly less sophisticated Infiniti G Coupe. The two do share some similarities, namely their V6 engine and platform, but in truth the Altima Coupe is just a sleeker, more personal version of the popular Altima Sedan. Sharing only its hood with its 4-door big brother, the Altima Coupe blazes its own stylistic path, a throwback to the days when Nissan's 240SX was one of the hottest cars on the market, and 2-door coupes were as common as weeds. Now, there are only a few 2-door cars to challenge the Altima Coupe, like the hot Hyundai Genesis and the formidable Honda Accord Coupe. With a choice between 4- and 6-cylinder engines, a slick-shifting manual transmission or sophisticated Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic, and cool options such as the spicy red leather seating and hard-drive navigation radio, the 2012 Altima Coupe is still very much a player.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seeking a sleek and efficient coupe that is a bit more sophisticated than the traditional 2-door muscle car, the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe is for you. It's not hard to mistake a loaded V6-powered Altima Coupe for a much more expensive premium car.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you desire a coupe, but at this point in your life owning a 2-door model is just not practical, you might consider some of the sleeker sedans endowed with coupelike styling. The Volkswagen CC, Nissan Maxima and Hyundai Sonata all fit the "4-door coupe" definition.

What's New for 2012

There are no major changes for the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe.

Driving the Altima
Driving Impressions

Given the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe's sportier suspension, lighter overall weight and shorter wheelbase, a more responsive driving experience is delivered vs. the Altima Sedan. What's really surprising is just...

... how comfortable the Altima Coupe is in everyday driving, thanks mainly to its body-hugging sport seats and civilized road manners. To really enjoy this car, however, you need to get it out on a twisting back road where you'll discover the joy of the Altima Coupe's speed-sensitive power steering. Turn-in is quick and precise with the hydraulic power steering unit automatically adjusting boost depending on the vehicle's speed. In 2.5S guise, the manual transmission is more fun to operate in our eyes, and costs less. But, the CVT-equipped cars provide a smoother, more balanced driving experience, not to mention better fuel economy. Those lucky enough to afford the 3.5SR trim will really enjoy the added power provided by the 270-horsepower V6. The 3.5SR also delivers better handling, thanks to its more aggressive sport suspension, and larger wheel and tires.

Optional RearView Monitor
Since the rear of the Altima Coupe has two blind spots that make backing up and changing lanes slightly awkward, this feature makes backing out of a parking space a little easier.

XM NavTraffic
This option allows drivers to see real-time information regarding traffic conditions on the navigation screen. On a long trip, the system can even reveal conditions ahead, so a driver can make decisions early about possible alternate routes.

2012 Nissan Altima Details

True to its mission as a driver's car first and foremost, Nissan has given the 2012 Altima Coupe a great set of aggressively bolstered sport front seats. These body-hugging beauties hold you fast and snug during aggressive drives, and look great in red leather. At night, the Altima Coupe's cockpit is bathed in warm amber backlight while the speedometer and tach feature bright white numerals and glowing red indicator needles. The Coupe's smaller interior challenged Nissan to get creative providing storage areas, evidenced by the pouches sewn on the lower front seats. We appreciate the steering-wheel-mounted controls that allow the driver to keep both hands on the wheel and still operate the audio and Bluetooth systems. Headroom and legroom are pretty good for front-seat passengers, but the rear seat won't be playing host to anyone over about 5 feet 8 inches, at least not comfortably. Unlike so many coupes of the past, the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe has a useful trunk that can be enlarged via the 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

2012 Nissan Altima photo

While the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe shares the same platform and mechanicals as the Altima Sedan, the Coupe actually has a shorter wheelbase as well as shorter front and rear overhangs. With its lower roofline and more aggressive wheel and tire packages, the Altima Coupe has a more youthful appearance than the Sedan, and it handles better in tight turns. We like that Nissan took some risks with the Altima Coupe's styling, such as the elongated side glass, raised trunk lid and integrated wraparound taillights. While the 4-cylinder S and V6-powered SR are almost identical, Nissan does add a few distinguishing traits, such as the SR's side-mirror turn-signal repeaters and larger wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe 2.5 S has keyless entry, push-button ignition, air conditioning, cruise-control buttons mounted on the steering wheel and an AM/FM 6-disc stereo with auxiliary audio input. The 3.5 SR adds a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, foglights, a power-sliding moonroof with sunshade, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, and heated sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, while the SR with the manual transmission gets the Premium and Leather packages with Bose audio, leather seating, Bluetooth, heated front seats and more. Both models also have six airbags, VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), seatbelt sensors, front-seat active head restraints, a tire-pressure-monitoring system and a 60/40 fold-flat rear seat to aid in carrying longer items in the trunk.

Optional Equipment

Options for the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe include XM Satellite Radio, a Bose AM/FM 6-CD player with nine speakers and speed-sensitive volume, a HomeLink Universal Transceiver and Bluetooth. Other options of note are the 6.5-inch touch-screen Nissan Navigation System with real-time traffic and weather information, steering-wheel-mounted navigation controls and a rearview monitor that helps drivers deal with blind spots to the rear. Leather seating and an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) are also available.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe shares its two engines and one transmission with the Sedan (the manual is unique to the Coupe), offering a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6 paired with either a 6-speed manual or the automatic Xtronic CVT. Predictably, the 4-cylinder delivers better EPA fuel-economy ratings. The available Xtronic CVT offers very smooth operation and gives the driver the option of manual control. The V6 with the automatic has a "sport" function that offers faster manual control by electronically taking into consideration the driver's perceived intentions.

2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm (California)
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm (California)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 (manual), 23/32 (automatic)

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (manual), 20/27 (automatic)

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