Road Test: 2010 Nissan Altima Is Sexy, Frugal Family Transport

April 29, 2010
When you are out shopping for an inexpensive mainstream family sedan you sure have plenty of choices ranging from the Camry to the new Sonata to the Accord to the Fusion to the Malibu. But how many of those family sedans can really be counted as being classically handsome? While each of those cars has their merit none of them are as nice to look at as the 2010 Nissan Altima S we had the pleasure of testing for a week.

With prices starting at $19,900, even the most basic Altima comes with air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, aux-input jack, push button starting, ABS, split folding rear seats, six-speaker CD audio system with crystal clear sound, six airbags and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) which helps keep you from having an accident in the first place.

Our S model priced out a bit over $24,000 and added dual zone climate control, CVT automatic transmission, steering wheel mounted audio controls, a moonroof, power driver’s seat, 16 inch alloy wheels, auto headlamps and much more. Additional options include supple leather, a navigation system and Bose audio.

Although the 2010 Altima is available with a V-6 (at prices starting below $25,000), the standard 2.5 liter, 175-horsepower four-cylinder is more than adequate for most family duties. The CVT automatic also feels like a completely normal autobox with none of the odd “mooing” noises that so often come from these kinds of powertrains. Fuel economy is a highly respectable 23 city/32 highway with 28 miles per gallon in evidence during the test.

The interior of the Altima is solidly built with robust, if not exactly premium, materials. Every button, switch and dial is clearly marked and this feels like a sedan that can withstand years of familial abuses. There is plenty of room for five adults and the trunk, at 15.9 cubic feet, can swallow four sets of golf clubs or stock up supplies from a big trip to your local Sam’s Club or Costco.

Although the Altima routinely ranks behind Accord and Camry in the sales race that by no means is meant to infer that this is an inferior vehicle to those industry stalwarts. In fact, the Altima makes for a highly sporting, darnright sexy alternative to those two family sedans. And besides, in this day and age you really can’t argue with Nissan’s excellent pricing of the 2010 Nissan Altima.

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