Tuesday, January 4, 2011
2011 Nissan Altima Remains a Sensible, Sporty Choice
The popular Nissan Altima adds some new color schemes for the 2011 model year, after last year's visual remodeling.
What remains is a smart and sporty midsize car that offers good value.
The Altima comes in a coupe or sedan body style, with a choice of two engines.
There is a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 180 pounds-feet of torque, and a larger 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 with 258 pounds-feet of torque.
You'll find the four-cylinder to be quite sufficient for usual driving applications, but if you want a bit more of a sporty experience, the V-6 surely delivers.
Those power plants are linked to either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission, the latter of which Nissan says increases fuel efficiency.
As for fuel economy, the Altima posts 18-23 mpg ratings in the city and 27-32 mpg on the highway, depending on the engine/transmission combo.
A few years ago Nissan also introduced the Altima Hybrid, for those who really want to go green and get good fuel economy.
The Altima's look is appropriately sporty without being over the top. For instance, the swollen hood with the Nissan badge on the grille is aggressive, but not obnoxious.
Nissan says the coupe is shorter in both length and height than the sedan, and gets different styling on the grille and lights, but the sedan gets a dual exhaust system.
Seating for up to five passengers is present in both, though, and they both have split-folding rear seats in case you need to carry longer cargo.
The Altima is full of niceties on the interior, such as push button start and keyless entry with trunk release, which are standard. Optional inside are leather/heated front seats, a Bose audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. Nissan says its hard-drive based navigation system is also optional, and features a 6.5-inch touch screen monitor that accepts voice commands and has features such as built-in Zagat Survey restaurant reviews.
The Altima has nice safety features, too, such as side-curtain and side-impact airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system, which are standard. A backup camera can be added as an option.
The Altima ranges from around $20,000 to a little over $31,000.
When it comes to sensible sportiness, it's hard to beat the Nissan Altima.