2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Coupe Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Nissan's Altima, whether in sedan or coupe body style, has sold almost 3.2 million units worldwide. I guess it's safe to say that Nissan is doing a pretty good job with their midsize four- and two-door. The pretty good job that they're doing gets a little better with the introduction of the 2010 model. This fourth generation vehicle line receives a few tweaks here and there to make both sedan and coupe more attractive and appealing.

Included in the upgrades is a restyled front fascia with a new grille giving it a more modern look, and with the 2010 Altima Coupe in 3.5 SR trim, a new 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheel design set on P235/45VR18 all-season tires. Along with standard safety features like 4-wheel disc brakes and ABS with EBD, a Traction Control System (TCS) and more, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is now standard on all Altima models. There was also a name change for trim types, so the SE designation is out and the SR is in.

When it comes to the interior styling, I'm still sitting on the fence because I haven't decided if I like it or not. I really do like its simplicity and easy-to-use 4.3-inch touchscreen display, but I'm not a huge fan of the all-black-with-minimal-accents dash and centre stack. It's too much black for me and I'd like to see more of a contrast. But then again, the all-black does give it a sophisticated feel and appealed to a lot of my passengers. I will say that it's not necessarily the strongest-looking interior in its class since I feel the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Honda Accord Coupe put up a pretty good fight.

Since this Altima is a coupe, I didn't really expect it to have the comfiest rear seat when sitting back there for a short-haul road trip. And it didn't. A couple of my girlfriends and I headed down to Seattle for the day and unfortunately, one of them had to sit in the back. Liz, who is about 5'8", had a hard time getting in and out of the rear since the seats are a little fussy when trying to move them back and forth. Also, she had a hard time sitting still in her seat. She felt the seats were "too reclined" and not ideal for long trips so she had to sit forward in order to be more comfortable and to hear any kind of conversation that was going on. There also wasn't enough head or legroom. That was compounded because she sat behind Sarah who was in the front passenger's seat, and Sarah is 5'10". That's not to say we didn't have a lot of fun, because we did, it just took some shifting to and fro to keep my passengers in good spirits.

And speaking of good spirits, the Altima Coupe, when driven solo or with just one other passenger, did make a lot of people smile, including me. The main smile-making feature of this car is its 3.5-litre, DOHC, 24-valve, V6 engine which produces 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine, which in this case was linked to the optional Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode ($1,300) performed flawlessly. While I haven't been a fan of CVTs on 4-cylinder models, it's a perfect fit with the V6. Acceleration is smooth and the engine is very responsive. I also enjoyed the low-pitched grunting noise that the exhaust created as this coupe accelerated.

The Altima was also very comfortable taking charge in the handling department. Laced with an independent front subframe-mounted strut-type and a multi-link rear suspension, this bad boy wasn't afraid to let it all out yet keep it all together when it came to taking tight turns. Furthermore, its highway speed stability was no issue at all. It felt sturdy and confident, especially when overtaking other cars in passing lanes.

I also took a strong liking to the optional premium audio package ($3,150), a new feature for the 2010 Altima. It comes with a potent Bose AM/FM audio interface plus nine Bose speakers, the aforementioned 4.3-inch colour display, a USB port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, a rearview camera and more. The sound quality is fantastic and gets two thumbs up from me. And now that BC's law prohibits the use of handheld phones while driving, Bluetooth is my new best friend. Pairing my phone with the Altima's system was effortless, and I'm thankful for that especially since I would not consider myself an expert when it comes to tech gadgets.
Fuel economy with the 3.5L V6 isn't actually that bad, using an estimated 10.2L/100km in the city and 7.3L/100km on the highway. Perhaps it's my lead foot that lead to less-than-favourable fuel results in the city, because my reality was nowhere near the aforementioned estimate, but I can't really complain because I really liked listening to the exhaust when I got on the throttle! Because of my more conservative highway driving, mind you, I achieved more-than-favourable overall results.
Lets talk numbers. The base price of the 3.5 SR Coupe is $34,698. With the optional CVT transmission, premium audio system and metallic exterior finish, the MSRP (including freight and PDI, but not taxes) comes to $39,383. For all the bells and whistles you're getting with the fully loaded, and I mean fully loaded Altima Coupe, that's a very competitive price tag.
Overall, I would give the 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR five enthusiastic cylinders out of six. While the interior is relatively bland and doesn't facilitate taller people into the rear seats comfortably, the Coupe's driving dynamics really sold me. It was a blast in the corners and even more fun off the line, and I'd be more than happy to do it all again!

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Coupe, Nissan, 2010, Altima Coupe, $30,000 - $39,999,

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page