When people are shopping for an affordable mainstream family sedan there are usually three names that immediately come to people’s minds-Camry, Accord and Altima. But given recent safety concerns and the near ubiquity of the two best sellers from Toyota and Honda, maybe it’s time you checked out what the 2010 Nissan Altima has to offer.
There are plenty of reasons to buy an Accord or Camry but why do so many people choose to go the non-traditional route and buy an Altima each year? In the sales race this stylish Nissan is pretty much always in third place and the reason for this success isn’t just because prices start below $20,000 (although I am sure that fact doesn’t hurt). So here are five great reasons to pick a 2010 Nissan Altima that came to me during a week of testing this fine family sedan.
Let’s just get talk of this out of the way now. With four cylinder versions starting just under $20,000 and V6 versions starting just under $25,000, value for money is definitely a huge selling point with the Altima. All Altima models come standard with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, push button start, six airbags and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) which helps keep you from having an accident.
But even lavishly equipping your Altima with a power driver’s seat, CVT automatic transmission, alloy wheels, auto headlamps, steering wheel mounted audio controls, keyless entry, dual zone climate control, moonroof and more only pushed the price of my Altima S model to a touch over $24,000. You can add to that even further by adding plush leather, navigation, Bose stereo and much more. But honestly, my S model really had all of the conveniences any family could ever need.
The Altima, although it offers plenty of passenger space for five “ample” North Americans, drives like a much smaller car. The turning radius is tight and the trunk space, at 15.3 cubic feet, can easily swallow a month’s worth of family supplies from the local Sam’s Club or Costco. The fuel tank also holds a whopping 20 gallons meaning long cruising distances on family driving vacations.
The Build Quality
From the dashboard, to the seat fabric to the solid clunk of the exterior and interior door handles, the 2010 Nissan Altima really feels built to last. Nissan has gone to great lengths in recent ads to prove this is a family car that can handle abuse and having driven it for the last week I can definitely attest to the fact that it meets or exceeds Accord and Camry standards of quality.
The Fuel Economy
Although some CVT automatic transmissions can be somewhat off-putting to driver’s who aren’t used to them, the unit in the Nissan Altima is totally seamless. It felt like a normal automatic but helps return a very healthy 23 city/32 highway. That’s impressive given the 2.5 liter 4-cylinder’s 175 horsepower/185 lb. feet of torque output ratings.
Let’s just face facts. Although there are tons of Altima sedans out there on the nation’s roads today it still stands as one of the most attractive recent car designs. And even when you are shopping for an inexpensive, mainstream family sedan those things still matter.