- What is it?: Nissan's sporty mid-size coupe and sedan
- The basics: A choice of four- and six-cylinder engines or hybrid drive means this is one flexible car.
- Price: $19,900-$29,600
- On sale: October 5th.
Last week the 2010 Nissan Altima was revealed prematurely revealed thanks to, oddly enough, a product recall. In the process of recalling 26,398 Nissan Maximas and Altimas, an image of the 2010 Altima was released. While a recall before the car has left the factory may not be an auspicious start to sales, the car's official reveal today shows it has a feature set that's sure to win some fans over.
Available in both Coupe and Sedan body styles with a Hybrid version of the sedan. The sedan, starting at $19,900, gets a choice of three trim levels, while the Coupe, priced from $22,440, gets four; the Hybrid, at $26,780, is only available in one well-equipped trim level.
Mechanically, the 2010 Altima Coupe gets a six-speed manual transmission available with either the 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder or the 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The only alternative is Nissan's Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The sedan is only available with the Xtronic CVT, doing away with last year's available manual. The Hybrid gets a special version of the four-cylinder engine for a combined power rating of 198 horsepower together with the electronic motor, piped through an eCVT, which isn't the same CVT as in the other models.
The Hybrid's rated 35 mpg city and 33 mpg highway is a significant upgrade over the CVT four-cylinder sedan's 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway rating. The Coupe manages an identical score to the sedan with the four-cylinder, with the manual adding 1mpg highway to the Coupe's rating. Both Sedan and Coupe also rate 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway when equipped with the V-6 and CVT. The manual-V-6 option on the Coupe changes its figures to 18/27 mpg.
An upgraded 4.3-inch display with rear-view monitor, XM satellite radio and Bluetooth and USB inputs is now available as an option, while the Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System upgrade brings the screen to 6.5 inches and adds a 9.3-gigabyte hard-disk music/navigation system.
The front end of the 2010 Altima lineup is interestingly devoid of the hook-like headlights found on the 370Z and Maxima, giving the Altima a new design direction--or a return to the previous one. Notably bolder than the 2009 Altima, the 2010 Altima carries over many of the same styling cues, but in more extreme form. The strong character fold, following back down the side of the car from the fender, for example, was present on the 2009 model, but the new car's looks to be sharper and more expressive.
The blacked-out fog light surround and lower fascia element have been replaced by a body-colored surround and vent as well, and the wheels get a split-spoke design in place of the solid spoke of the current model. Revised interior materials freshen the look and feel.
As for the recall, several models including the 2009 and 2010 model year Nissan Maximas and Altimas have been recalled due to a faulty strut insulator located in the suspension assembly.