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2009 Nissan Altima Review – A young attitude with a mature demeanor

Wednesday April 8th, 2009 at 10:44 AM
Posted by: mash

The Altima Coupe features a cool technology option — Nissan’s Xtronic CVT™ (Continuous Variable Transmission). In a nut-shell, it’s a gearless transmission that shifts ultra-smoothly with no “shift-shock”.No gears means the transmission can choose a gear ratio optimum for fuel efficiency within the engine’s power range.

Nissan Xtronic CVT

When driving conditions dictate a more “hands on” approach, it is very simple to switch from automatic to manual-mode.  It’s a nice feature since there is no clutch involved and it allows the driver to shift based on the driving environment and the driver’s perceived intentions. So if you’re a fuel conscious individual, you can pop it into automatic and CVT cruises at low RPMs.  In manual mode, The driver must move the stick upwards to shift into the higher gears since it won’t up-shift automatically.  If the driver forgets to shift, the engine will red-line until the next upshift. To be clear, this is not a stick; it’s something between automatic and manual transmission and the driver can choose whether to use it or not. It gives the driver the option to be lazy and drive automatic or be playful with a pseudo-manual transmission.

Fuel Economy

Advertised: 23 in the city, and 31 freeway (or 26 combined).
Actual Observed: 25.4 mpg (pretty close to the advertised values). I was purposefully trying to get poor fuel economy by driving with a heavy foot, kicking the accelerator and stopping at all traffic signals. Even with my anti-hypermiling driving technique, the fuel economy was close to the expected value of 26 mpg. And I’m sure if I was more fuel conscious, I could have gotten even better mileage. It’s nice when the advertised values reflect the real-life values.

Handling

The Coupe performed surprisingly well by making up for the engine’s lack of power with superb handling. While out on the curvy mountainous roads in the California Bay Area, the Altima handled all the hard cornering I could throw at it and accelerated well enough to keep it exciting. With the 4-wheel ABS Brakes, the Altima seemed to be in its element on the tighter roads and hugged the asphalt well for a mid-size car. It never felt like it was going to tip or slide-off the road. And while the handling dynamics of the Altima Coupe helped driving at speed, it meant the car could stop at any instant. When put to the test, these were reassuring features. The power-steering was light and responsive, but never twitchy. Whichever direction you pointed the Coupe, it handled with ease.

2009 Nissan Altima Coupe 2009 Nissan Altima Coupe

Styling

At first glance, the Altima Coupe is an eye-catching, sexy sports car. The Azure Blue color added a little extra sophistication to this sporty wannabe. It had nice lines and was well put together. The car designers created an aesthetically, well designed vehicle. The Nissan Intelligent Key for key-less entry and push button ignition was pretty awesome for a first-time user. I was impressed by its easy-to-use nature, and it was very self-explanatory. The power sliding moonroof is always a lovely feature; there’s something to be said about a nice breeze blowing through the hair. Again, even without the bigger V6 engine, this car looked the part and was begging to be driven.

Value

Being that the Altima Coupe is in the same class as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic Coupe, and the like, we think the Altima is a good deal with its base retail price starting at $21,750 for comfort, fun and good looks. And with its superb safety rating and above-average fuel economy, the Altima Coupe is a serious contender in its class. Ultimately, the Nissan Altima Coupe doesn’t knock its competitors out of the water with its performance, but we feel its stylish and fresh look partnered with good safety features makes it a winner by unanimous decision.

2009 Nissan Altima Coupe

Conclusion

This car is perfect for those wanting a hot looking car without breaking the bank account.  With its excellent safety rating, good MPG, nice internal and external features, it’s easy to understand why new car owners would consider this vehicle. Basically, the Altima Coupe is an affordable mid-sized passenger car that is nowhere near mundane. While quiet and fuel efficient, the 2.5L engine in our test vehicle did lack the punch for those necessary accelerations. A new buyer might consider testing the V6 model as well before making the final decision. For the active person who requires a generous of cargo capacity, we found the lack of trunk space to be disappointing. But for its few flaws, the Altima Coupe was a solid car to drive. If you’re a buyer interested in a nice smooth ride, are fuel conscious and like lots of cabin space, the Coupe should be taken into consideration.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.9/B

Nissan Altima Coupe Photo Gallery

Nissan Altima Coupe Specs

Nissan Altima Coupe Specs

NissanThe official site for Nissan cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers and hybrids – www.nissanusa.com

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