>> Review by Michael D. Leroy | >> Photographs by Derek Mau
- The Infiniti-like redesign is sporty and aggressive looking
- CVT is smooth and non-intrusive
- Great iPod integration with Premium package
- Interior conveniences: large glove box and hidden front seat storage are nice
- Base 4-cylinder could use more oomph
- Small trunk
- HVAC and other controls look dated
- Suspension could be more sporty
Let’s face it, sedans can often have quite sedentary and dull looks. Nissan must understand this, because the 2010 Altima Coupe is far more exciting to look at than its larger, 4-door laden, sister. Some people just like the look of two doors better. For those that cry foul at four doors, you are in luck. The 2010 model has undergone a refresh this year and is much improved.
Thanks in part to a new hood and redesigned front end, the 2010 Altima Coupe looks better than ever and looks significantly different than the sedan. The revised look gives it an almost G37-like appearance. From just about every angle the car looks fantastic. It has an aggressive stance and does not look like Nissan just cut two doors off the car. Dual exhaust on both the 4-cylinder and V6 model further enhances the Coupe’s sporty appearance.
The 2010 model also has a number of improvements inside the car as well. The seats and doors feature new fabric for all interior colors and there are now several new options for interior colors. Want red leather? Well this year you can get it.
Our model was equipped with cloth seats that looked and felt great. The 2010 model features better materials for the cloth seats and improved stitching. Another nice touch is the driver and passenger seats have a pocket in the front to store stuff. This little pocket is a great place to stash your cell phone. Nissan also added this year padded arm rests and decent looking chrome accents. Almost every surface is soft to the touch, which gives the budget coupe a sense of luxury. Also the automatic transmission lever has a new design and looks notably better.
This car has a massive glove box that goes deep into the dash. You never have to fold a sheet of paper to put it into the Altima Coupe’s glove box. Stacks of CD cases can fit in this glove box with ease. Equally large are the cup holders. Large beverages and bottles of water both fit just fine.
While the cup holders are big, the trunk is small. To help give the Altima Coupe its compact shape, trunk space was sacrificed. The trunk provides only 8.2 cu-ft of cargo space compared to the Honda Accord’s 11.9. Rear leg room is cramped as well. If the driver is tall, then the Altima Coupe quickly becomes a three seater.
The gauge cluster illumination color has been changed this year to white, but the rest of the Coupe’s buttons are illuminated with an amber color that is ugly. The illumination color may have been intentionally chosen to preserve night vision, it would be nice if the car had a consistent illumination color.
When it comes to driver conveniences, the Altima Coupe has a great set of standard and optional features. One stand-out standard feature is Nissan’s Intelligent Key system with push-button ignition. With this feature you can leave your keys in your pocket. To unlock the door, you simply just have to press a button on the door. The Altima Coupe’s closest competitor, the Honda Accord Coupe, still uses a key. How primitive.
Another 2010 model improvement is the Premium Package our car was equipped with. The $2,070 package adds a 9-speaker Bose sound system, a color 4.3 inch display, power moonroof, a backup camera, XM satellite radio with iPod support and hands-free Bluetooth.
The Bose system is decent, but nothing mind-blowing. The 4.3 inch color display and the easy to use iPod connectivity easily makes up for it. Thanks to the the large display and well thought out controls, the Altima Coupe has one of the better iPod connectivity systems on the market.
The Bluetooth system on the other hand is a definite mixed bag. Setting up a phone is easy and didn’t require studying the owner’s manual, but the voice recognition is not the best. Sometimes it took several tries to get the system to chose the right caller. Speaking naturally works better with the voice recognition, but it can be at times frustrating to go through all the steps and have the system choose the wrong contact.
If you are looking for Navigation, this year’s Technology Package adds a wealth of additional features for an extra $1,780. The 4.3-inch screen is upgraded to a 6.5-inch touch screen. In addition to basic GPS navigation, the system adds speed limit advisories, traffic information, and a Zagat restaurant guide. Upgrades to the radio include a rather small 9.3GB hard drive for music, Bluetooth streaming audio, a DVD player and RCA audio/video inputs.
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