2012 Nissan Altima Styling

8.0
Styling

Today's Altima isn't the freshest mid-size sedan for styling, but after three years on the market, it still has an athletic, purposeful look that's relatively uncluttered, too.

Most of the Altima's competition--the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima—have gone through major model changes since the Altima was new in the 2008 model year. But the Nissan sedan still looks good in comparison. There's a simplicity to its racy profile that's given it longevity. Unlike some competitors, the Altima doesn't strike us as overwrought, though it's more engaging and interesting to look at than, say, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.

The 2012 Nissan Altima still is quite handsome, years after its introduction; the Altima Coupe can pass as a sports coupe in some crowds, but it's still fairly tame in detail.

We'd say the same of the interior. The Altima's dash and instrument panel lines are simple and straightforward, yet sophisticated and a little sporty. In some of the interior colors offered, it can come across as a bit drab, and black in particular picks up the differences among the types of plastic used on the dash cap, door panels and console trim. Bright trim on the dash and bezels on the instruments spice it up somewhat, though.

The two-door coupe still has a narrower appeal to us. When it first bowed, we noted how some of its styling cues--especially from the rear quarters--picked up hints of the old Chevy Monte Carlo. It's not quite so awkward, but it's also not as sleek as Nissan's own 370Z and Infiniti G37 coupes, admittedly some of the best-looking two-doors in the nearby price strata. There's nothing wrong with the Altima coupe, in the same way there's nothing wrong with the looks of the Honda Accord two-door or the old Toyota Camry Solara--and there's also nothing quite exceptional.

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