By on April 16, 2013

I sing the coupe eccentric;
The doors of those I love engirth me, and I endure them;
They will not let me park till I deal with them, wrestle with them;
And do not ding them, and close them with solid sound unknown by Kia Soul.

It wasn’t that long ago that I recorded my generally favorable opinion of the outgoing Nissan Altima during an impromptu trip to Nashville and parts south. That car was obsolete even as I was reviewing it, supplanted by a zoomy and flame-surfacey new sedan. As of yet, however, the corresponding new Altima coupe has only appeared in renderings and rumors. Therefore Nissan has returned the old two-door for a very limited 2013-model-year engagement. It’s available in one trim level (S), with one drivetrain (2.5 four-cylinder/CVT) and at a relatively steep price ($25,230).

As a child of the Seventies, I have a not inconsiderable attachment to the idee fixe of the mid-sized coupe. The Altima Coupe is the natural successor to the Cutlass Supremes and Monte Carlos that prowled the neighborhoods of my youth. For some time I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to rent a new one; that quest came to a successful conclusion when I stepped off the plane in Houston Friday night and found a 2013 Altima Coupe with just 1,400 miles in my assigned stall.

My purpose in making the trip was to compete in the third round of the Texas Rally Sport championship and to cover said event for a certain print magazine which can be readily found at your local airport bookstore. I know it can be found there because I’ve been there, surreptitiously signing copies of the April issue while pretending to leaf through them. “Don’t Stop Believin’! Your homeboy, JB II” is what I usually write, although sometimes due to the angle at which I have to hold the magazine to do this unobserved it looks like “Don’t Start Bleedin’! Your Homo Boy, JB ill”. Those will be the Billy Ripken Fleer cards of the year 2089, trust me.

My rental Altima was black inside and out and it still smelled new. As I backed it out, I noticed that rear visibility was not very good at all and that the mirrors seemed a little small. Over the course of the next few days, I would repeatedly reconfirm those findings, particularly while doing lane changes. The Altima’s mirrors simply don’t cover enough ground to make up for the C-pillar blind spot. Be careful. I kid you not. I haven’t “not seen” a car in the next lane since I was an indifferent teenager but on the Texas freeways with their wide disparities in closing speeds I nearly caused an accident two separate and distinct times, after which I learned to swivel my head in all directions before moving laterally as I used to with my similarly sail-paneled 1980 Marquis Brougham Coupe.

My personal motto regarding out-of-state travel was mostly stolen from Tony Montana and runs like so: “First you get the luggage, then you get the rental, then you get the women.” My luggage consisted of nothing besides my Impact! Carbon Air Draft, a toothbrush, three sets of underwear, and a pair of Angry Birds pajama pants identical in design to a pair owned and enjoyed by my son, so that was easy. The Altima firmly under my command, it was time to complete the third task, so I fired up the “Neverlost” GPS and entered in the address of the Snow Queen.

When I first met the Snow Queen, during some random race-related Texas trip, I was very much under the spell of another woman and she was very much under the spell of… nothing in particular, really. She doesn’t get emotional about men. She has what the psychologists call a flat affect and she has a truly improbable body, lean and muscular with a nice rack, hot to the touch. I quite like her and I flatter myself that she quite likes me and best of all I don’t foresee anybody getting terribly emotional about anything.

The Snow Queen was amused by the Altima, correctly guessing that it wasn’t a very expensive car. At the time I didn’t know much they were asking for the thing but now that I do I have to wonder if it isn’t overpriced by a few thousand bucks. The 2013 Accord EX has more equipment and a more upscale look both inside and out. It costs the same and you can have it with a manual transmission, if you’re so inclined. I’m of the opinion, however, that the Altima has the edge on looks, even with the dopey standard-equipment wheels and the lack of brightwork that’s part of the “S” trim level. I hate to say it, but I think it’s better-looking than the current Infiniti G Coupe, if not the original one, and the rear trunk detailing and Kamm tail are just plain nice. Inside, of course, it’s the same equipment as the sedan but the lower roof and repositioned seating make it far more intimate.

After a supremely indulgent two-hour dinner at the Pappas Bros Steakhouse I piloted the Altima back to the Snow Queen’s place. The Hertz nav is almost deliberately stupid, taking a solid three minutes to boot and refusing to automatically select the previous destination. If you start the car moving at any point before it’s fully awake, you can’t do anything with it until the next time you come to a halt. “This is, without a doubt, the worst fucking nav system ever,” I fumed.

“Why’d you buy it then, if you hate it so much?” my companion queried.

“I didn’t buy it. It’s part of the rental.”

“Are you sure?”

“IT SAYS ‘HERTZ’ ON IT!”

“That’s odd.”

“No it isn’t, because it comes from Hertz.”

“Oh… Are you going to tell your readers I said what I just said?”

She’s been a TTAC reader for a long time so she had some concerns about that. She was also unhappy about her proposed nickname, “Snow Queen”.

“Why do I have to be the Snow Queen?”

“I don’t know… you’re a little distant and very pale and well, you bought me a bottle of Snow Queen vodka.”

“It makes me sound frigid.”

“Aren’t you a little bit frigid? I mean, we’re in bed and we aren’t doing anything right now.”

“That’s because you’re wearing Angry Birds pajamas.”

“My son likes them! He has the same pair! We wear them together!”

“Is he here?” She had a solid point. In the end, she proved to be a good sport about everything, adjusting her schedule to meet my rallycrossing demands and even posing for a slightly risque photo at the “Twin Peaks” restaurant we went to the following night. I’ve included it in the gallery below if you’re interested. It’s almost work-safe most places.

Where were we? Oh, yes. The Altima Coupe. There’s something really upsetting about the ease with which the Japanese manufacturers have driven our domestic players off their home ground. This is a reasonably priced, lightly equipped, stylish-looking two-door version of an established sedan, made in Tennessee and available in a rental fleet near you. Back when the Snow Queen was a little flaxen-haired snow princess, the Americans owned that segment. Defined it. Created it. Sold a million units a year into it. And now the best “American” mid-sized sedan is built in Mexico and the prospect of a coupe version is slightly more distant than Alpha Centauri and this Nissan is more American than the American cars, it’s a 1974 Colonnade for modern times.

I swear to God it’s like the effing Descolada, you know? Ford and Chrysler and particularly feckless General Motors sit on the sideline, afraid to do a product like this, and Nissan cheerfully keeps the old car around just for hell of it because they have that kind of power, people will still buy the old coupe with the new sedan sitting next to it in dealerships. Honda Accord coupes prowl the freeways of the Midwest like angry doorstops, driven by secretaries and angry middle-aged dads and friendly old people, and GM’s answer is to suggest that somebody buy a Camaro that weighs five hundred pounds more and looks like a cartoon. Since when did Americans retreat from the Japanese? The answer is: 1941, then not for a long time, and then continuously.

But you aren’t thinking about that, and you aren’t thinking about the Snow Queen, stretched across her Stearns and Foster like a teenage boy’s dream rendered in hot flesh, awake and annoyed while I drunkenly snore away in my Angry Birds pants. You’re thinking about that Pinto. Alright, you win. It’s owned by a fellow named Drew, who is six foot nine and who bolted an aluminum race seat flat to the floor so he would fit in it. Cologne V-6. Factory three-speed auto. Diamond Racing wheels in a massive offset. Sounds like thunder on the move, goes sideways constantly, throws the front wheels into the air on a bumpy rally course. He offered me a chance to stick around after the event and drive it but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to reach the pedals and I wanted to get back to a second evening back in Houston without the interference of alcohol or Angry Birds, so there you go. Let’s meet the man and the car:

My connecting flight home was delayed, and I was tempted to be bitchy about it, but it’s hard to be unhappy sometimes, I tell you, no matter how hard I try. Great people, fascinating cars, beautiful women, turboprop commuters that sound like a B-25 to take me hither and thither and yon! What a life I lead in the summer! What a life I lead in the spring! And there’s more to come if I can stay upright and above ground. I’ll share all of it with you. Most of it, anyway. See you next time.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

75 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: Couped up in the palace of the Snow Queen....”


  • avatar
    Easton

    I love coupes and I absolutely refuse to give up my G6 coupe (laugh if you want, Pontiac haters, but that car still gets compliments on its styling and has been rock solid reliable) until I can afford to buy a new Camaro SS.

    I would never buy a car like that without a manual transmission, btw.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Like my 2 door 5MT Alero. Simple, honest styling, great reliability with the ECOTEC, and driving it into the ground.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I genuinely miss the Alero. Rented a thousand of them from Avis in about every config but yours. Great cars for the era.

        I don’t know that I have ever noticed an Altima coupe on the road, but I am on a plane to Houston and I rent from Hertz, so maybe I will get that very one!

      • 0 avatar
        Easton

        There is something alluring, dare I say sexy, about a 2-door coupe that no sedan on earth can ever be. 2-doors, 3 pedals, no kids, no passengers, just me and my car.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This reminds me that I had an Altima coupe rental last time I was in Syracuse. I had completely forgotten the experience and that is all you need to know about the Altima coupe.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “The Altima Coupe is the natural successor to the Cutlass Supremes and Monte Carlos that prowled the neighborhoods of my youth.”

    +1 JB, the Nissan dealer here in Gallup, NM does a brisk business in Altimas so there are a few of the coupes around. The guys (ALWAYS MEN) I see driving them are the same age and demographic of the guys I saw driving 1980s RWD GM G-body coupes and Thunderbird/Cougar coupes in the late 80s.

    “And now the best “American” mid-sized sedan is built in Mexico and the prospect of a coupe version is slightly more distant than Alpha Centauri and this Nissan is more American than the American cars, it’s a 1974 Colonnade for modern times.”

    Yup, pretty sad really. GM finally has a decent sedan in the Cruze and Ford has a solid hit with the Focus, how hard would it be to offer all the traditional body styles in a very popular car? Coupe, wagon, sedan, & hatch. Hell even if GM only offered the Cruze in an RS Coupe and Ford only sold the Focus coupe as a Titanium or ST trim level they’d still sell a bunch and likely make money on everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Easton

      I’ve been saying that for years. Adding a coupe to already popular cars could only increase profits and draw in a lot of young people who are now buying Civics. I can’t think of anything more useless than a compact sedan, which is neither spacious nor stylish.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “I can’t think of anything more useless than a compact sedan, which is neither spacious nor stylish.”

        That’s the thinking that gave us the Vega and Pinto to a tee.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Funny, I find almost all sedans/cars in general larger than a compact to be bloated and unnecessary.

        • 0 avatar
          Easton

          My experience in the backseats of any compact sedan (Mazda3, in particular) has been knees banging againt front seats and head banging on the ceiling, and I’m not even that tall. Couple of buddies want to go for a round of golf? Not in that trunk, unless you’re picking up your rentals at the course. To each their own but I’m never going compact again.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            In contrast to the Mazda, the G35 coupé had a diagram for the trunk that explained how to fit two golf bags. It worked. Third wouldn’t have worked (you said two buddies…).

      • 0 avatar
        TorontoSkeptic

        The vast majority of the world (including me) disagrees with this, given the runaway popularity of the Focus, Corolla, Cruze and Civic:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/the-top-10-best-sellers-world-wide-in-2012/

        With car size creep, a compact sedan really isn’t that small…

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “The guys (ALWAYS MEN) I see driving them are the same age and demographic of the guys I saw driving 1980s RWD GM G-body coupes and Thunderbird/Cougar coupes in the late 80s.”

      The people I know who have Altima Coupes are middle-aged boomers (empty nest — they used to have a 4-door when the kids were of college age). Is that who was driving the G-bodies and T-Bird/Cougars?

      The people I see driving them on the freeway sometimes are younger females.

  • avatar
    scrubnick

    To me, the Altima Coupe with a V6 and a Manual is(was) and excellent cheap performance car. They were like 25 grand when they were sold. If not for Nissan’s current quality issues, I might get one.

    And I can’t believe nobody has commented on the Snow Queen. Nice Twin Peaks, especially for someone so skinny.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      haha as if they are real?! Not that there is anything wrong with that, I happen to love the look but any skinny girl with $6k or so can have the same wonderful peaks.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I was just surprised that she wasn’t Scottish like the rest of the made up women.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        “I was just surprised that she wasn’t Scottish like the rest of the made up women.”

        I thought “Angry Birds” was a reference to Jack’s so-called girlfriends.

      • 0 avatar
        D.McH.BNA

        Let’s not call her the Snow Queen…Who approved that bullshit name anyway?! Queen for a day, Queen for a night…as if it matters. That prepubescent looking strumpet will never be the queen of anyhing in Baruthland. Instead, let’s call her “Teeny McAshes-in-My-Kracken” bottle. She can be the queen of Crustacea. She can live on the floor of the Pacific where the temperature suits her.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I want one of the “original” V6 sedans. Mid 13s and legitimate room for 5 for like 6 grand. Just make sure to get it with the black leather interior to cover up the cheapness.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The Altima Coupe’s rear end has always reminded me of two other cars, both GM products:

    1) The final-gen Buick Riviera, which always looked like its taillamps had been left in the dryer; and
    2) The EV1.

    That said, it is an interesting, not unattractive coupe, and I’ll be sad when it goes the way of the dodo, G6, and Solara.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I don’t get why somebody would buy that, or a Accord coupe, over a V6 Mustang, or even a Camaro. Unless, they just hated anything American made (which, I know plenty, so is that really just it?)

    I have two classic Chevy’s. A 78 Malibu sedan, and a 79 Malibu coupe. I miss the days where you could get a standard mid-size car in a sedan, or coupe, or station wagon, or hell, even a truck. Of course, I want a proper drivetrain lay out in mine.

    My sedan is a daily driver. The coupe a toy that collects dust in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Honestly for some Ohioans, buying an Accord is an act of civic pride. They can proudly point to the “Made In Marysville, OH USA” stickers on the door jams.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Having driven the current version of the V-6 Mustang, and the previous version of the Accord coupe, I would say one reason not to buy the Mustang is that the car feels positively huge, in a way that the Accord doesn’t. IMHO the nicest thing about the V-6 Mustang is the engine and drivetrain, which, even with the autobox, definitely goes when you tell it to. The interior on the non-premium model is pretty crappy and not as nice as the Accord.

      And, BTW, I wasn’t particularly fond of the Accord. I felt like I was sitting in a tub the whole time.

      For my money, the nicest looking coupe out there is the 3-series (not the current F30, but the prior version). The sedan was a meh, but I find the coupe very nice looking.

    • 0 avatar
      jd418197

      I drive 75+ miles per day, about 2/3 freeway, for my work commute. It snowed a foot yesterday. So I’ll keep my FWD Acura CL-S 6MT for now (basically a 2-door Accord, but with 260 BHP). Plus I once owned a Mustang (I was a very spoiled 16 year-old), and it was positively the worst built car I’ve ever even sat in. I’m sure the new ones are better, but my god – the ’94 was an absolute joke. Which was too bad, because I actually loved the exterior styling.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The Altima and Accord coupes are simply different cars than the Mustang or Camaro. The Altima and Accord share parts with high volume relatively reliable sedans, but have 2 long doors with the B pillar pushed back and out of the way. They’re reasonably comfortable, safe, economical, and well suited to taking you to work in suburban traffic. After earning money at work, you can buy a classic non-Clydesdale late 60s Mustang or Camaro with a V8 for weekend fun.

    • 0 avatar
      BigDuke6

      What on earth would make you think a ’78 Malibu sedan or a ’79 Malibu coupe are “classic Chevys”……?

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Anyone who ticked the 305V8 w/ 4 barrel carb option?

        Had the battlewagon. Lived (after a fashion) till 1995 (thank God and GM for galvanizing). Unfortunately for those who got the V6, that came with the chevette transmission that just wasn’t up to the job. Two different cars.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        There are a number of definitions of what constitutes a classic car, but the legal definition in most states is anything over 20 years of age. At the other extreme is the Classic Car Club of America, that maintains that a classic is a fine or distinctive car manufactured between 1925 and 1948.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          In my state, you can get Antique tags for a car that is 25 years old and older. No more renewal fees.

          But you must present proof of current registration for a car with regular tags.

          If you don’t have another car, then you have to put regular tags on the antique and renew them yearly.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I think another factor is one’s own age. It is harder for me to think of cars of the late ’70s as classic because I remember shopping for them when they were new. They’re about 35 years old now though. I was 25 in 1995. Did I consider the cars of 1960 to be classics then? You bet. I’m not the classic car police, and I don’t have a problem with individual definitions of what constitutes a classic.

  • avatar
    FordMan_48126

    +1 to Jack for the ‘Lost in Space’ reference…truely a child of the 70′s! I grew up on that stuff on local channels after school that and ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’

    I did have one of a famous American coupes right out of high school…a 73 Monte Carlo, red with white viynl half top and red velour interior. The front seats would swivel 90 degrees for easy exit/entry. Those were the days….

  • avatar
    JimR

    Whether you were sent RallyCrossing willingly or otherwise, the press is appreciated.

    I’m the MiDiv SCCA RX steward, and like our friends in (clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas, we’re always trying to build our young, growing program. It takes a little persistence to lure weekend warriors more familiar with autocross or lap days to the dirt side. Once they get a taste of intentional slip angle, they get hip pretty quickly.

    This October the SCCA RallyCross National Championships are in Tulsa, core population to one of my home regions. This is the “big one” you want to compete in. (Overt hint for best authors and brightest readers.)

  • avatar
    Ltd783

    I just don’t get this segment of car, I wouldn’t call them coupes in the traditional sense, but rather 2 door sedans. The 2 door Accord, Camry, 3-series, C-Class, etc. I’m fine with the loss of practicality of owning a 2 door car if it’s necessarily a sportier vehicle (FRZ, Mustang,etc). But buying a 2 door version of something that exists as a 4 door is really only done for the sake of vanity. I’m sure someone will say weight difference, but on no car is the difference more than half a passenger. Maybe this is why the 2 doors of the aforementioned cars seem to be especially popular to own with younger, single females.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      I’m with you on this one. There is no functional benefit over the sedan, you’re basically sacrificing practicality for looks. And it is not just the doors. That swooping roofline means I generally can’t sit comfortably back there while I fit perfectly well behind myself in a compact sedan. Perhaps I’m just not hip enough and need to learn to slouch more… I can at least understand it for a rwd 3-series, but I just have no comprehension as to why an Accord or Altima coupe is such a popular choice.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        What’s wrong with sacrificing practicality with looks? There are worse crimes made by the car consumer. It is true that these will never be considered ‘sporty’ due to their power being sent the wrong wheels, but many consumers can overlook that. With the Solara long gone, and now the Altima, this leaves the market wide open for the Accord Coupe, which already sells in pretty healthy numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I agree wholeheartedly. If you don’t need the back seat but occasionally, why not get the sportier version?

          Side by side, I think the Accord looks much classier than the Altima. Having a 6MT available is a huge bonus.

          • 0 avatar
            Ltd783

            Because, as I said, in none of those cars is the two door any sportier, it is only less practical. Dropping 2 doors from an Accord doesn’t suddenly make it a sports car, it just looks like an Accord that was picked out by the 18 year old girl herself…

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      Exactly, I file this under cars I really want to like but just can’t ever really support. The practical part of me says “why shouldn’t there be reasonably priced coupes based on reliable models for people who don’t need the hatchback/sedan cargo capacity and want some fun?”

      But it always comes across as an afterthought from the manufacturer and it’s hard to justify this when you could just get the 4 door version with the same engine, transmission etc.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    We had a rental Cruze about a month ago and were driving it on the interstate. It happened to have that same P.O.S. Hertz navigation system in it, which we got as an upgrade. But I got so tired of the thing that I turned it off, and then used OnStar’s Turn-By-Turn Directions–of which the car still had a few months’ worth of service–and got us home without hassle. Hertz should just contract Tom-Tom or Garmin to build all or part of its navigation systems, like some of the automakers (Aston Martin, Chrysler Group, Fiat, Mazda), do…

  • avatar
    JMII

    Think the blind spot in the Altima Coupe is bad? Try the Z! Same basic shape just with even smaller windows and mirrors, plus being lower and wider.

    I just love the shape of this car along with its G35 / G37 twin. I’m downright shocked Nissan even made such a configuration, as a fan boys are just a few ebay badges away from claiming they drive a Skyline or Fairlady.

    For most people coupes with just 2 doors work fine… how many times do you really have four people in your vehicle? Other then parents with young ones (who are driving CUVs anyways) I’d bet most people would function perfectly well with 2 doors and four seats for a daily driver. Room for you plus any lady friend, and maybe another couple heading out to grab a bite. Now technically I find 3 doors (aka hatchbacks) the best configuration possible. I think two biggest sins of the current 86GT/FRS/BRZ was: lack of turbo and silly trunk.

    And Hertz should just offer iPhone mounts in vehicles that come without built-in nav and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My argument is that manufacturers should offer a low trim level that replaces the stupid nav system with a very nice sturdy smartphone/small tablet mount with the places for the charging cable and connection cable for audio.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Saw a blacked out G35 with smoke lenses and Skyline badging about 5 years ago near Philly, I thought it was quite attractive… I’m a sucker for vertical lighting on a car..

  • avatar
    suspekt

    - Altima coupe looks like crap. Honestly, it has a cheapness to its exterior style that I just cannot get past. The updated headlight clusters did sharpen the look of the car somewhat, but overall, it is an ungainly looking turd.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Be honest…is the Snow Queen a butterface?

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Nice headlights, but how easy is it to access the rear? I mean, that’s the problem with coupes.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The Accord coupe has the Altima beat on back seat space and accessibility, and it’s not even a comparison when it comes to trunks. The Altima coupe gives “mail slot” all new meaning.

      However, the Accord’s seats (at least the 2011 I had) were ATROCIOUS. From day one they caused me hip and thigh pain. I never got to experience Nissan’s leather, but I can’t imagine them being worse.

      Ask me if I’d get a 2-door car again, and the answer would be hell yes. You can make it work as a family car, so long as it’s not babies in car seats you have to carry. The kids would bitch about the extra 15 or 20 seconds it took to get in/out, but they never complained about the space.

      I’d love to get a 2012 or 213 G37 coupe in a couple years when the youngest turns 16 and we shuffle cars again. There will be no 6MT infiniti’s after this year, sadly…

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Infiniti hasn’t said yet that the Q60 (new name for the G35 coupé) won’t have a manual transmission, has it? It won’t come out until 2015, I believe, and in the past the new generation coupe has come out a year after the new saloon.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I see what you did there jello.

      Lol

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I sat in an Altima coupe at NAIAS a few years ago. I rather liked it, but the trunk was way too small. As a second car though, I could go for it, but for my primary mode of transportation it’s just too small inside. Oh well…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Sorry Jack, but I have to disagree; a turboprop commuter isn’t going to sound like a B-25. While there will be plenty of prop noise on both, the turbine engine’s noise will be totally different from the rumble of those big radials. I haven’t been on a B-25, but I have been on a DC-3 and a B-29, and the thrum of those round engines is something I’ll never forget.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m torn on the coupe vs sedan thing. For me it boils down to what looks better. Altima Coupe is heads and shoulders above the sedan in looks. Accord coupes have always looked better than the sedans since the 1998 “NSX tail” version. But aside from the 2002-2005 generation, I’ve always liked the Civic sedans over the coupes. Especially modified. That gulf in preference grew with the 2006 version. I am kind of warming up to the coupe, but I find the sedan more cohesive. My only gripe is that awful dash config.

  • avatar

    Is that bodywork original?

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “Is that bodywork original ?”

      Whenever he mentions “ill-fitting bits of trim” or “the rear end was loose” from now on I’ll be thinking of something completely different.

  • avatar
    raph

    I like this Altima coupe, not enough to purchase one but I think its a good looking car. Every time I see one I think; “To bad it isn’t RWD with a great engine, suspension and transmission”.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    How many airbags?

  • avatar
    jonsey

    Classic Baruth.

    I always wondered if all the beautiful women he’s always hinting at were really just middle aged frumpy spinsters who couldn’t do any better.

    Guess you settled that one, Jack.

    I propose that TTAC have a requirement that Jack always post of a picture of the ladies that take part in so many of his reviews.

  • avatar
    kanu

    If you’re going to photoshop the number on the rear license plate, you really should do the front one to match.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    If you think the Altima Coupe looks better than the current Infiniti G Coupe, you may need your head examined.

  • avatar
    AFX

    Having sold electronics and TVs many years ago I’d say sedans are much more practical for everyday usage. You can load 32″ CRT TV in the back seat of sedans with no issues, but a coupe is a major PITA. You have to slide the front seat all the way forward, tilt it forward the whole way, then if you’re lucky you can squeeze it in between the seatback and the door pillar. The other alternative on the coupe is to unbolt the passenger’s seat and take it out.

    A 40 gallon water heater will fit in the back seat of a Olds Achieva sedan. On the same car only two bolts hold in the rear seatback, located at the bottom. If you needed to carry long items unbolting those two bolts and popping the seatback out made it easy to do so.

    I think the best sedans for ease of back seat loading were the Chrysler LH platforms. The rear doors on those opened at close to a 90 degree angle, and there was lots of room in the rear door openings.

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      This will probably come as a shock, but for some of us, driving is about more than just hauling around TV’s and water heaters.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        “..driving is about more than just hauling around TV’s and water heaters.”

        Absolutely……

        There are desks, sofas, snowblowers, cat trees… ad infinitum.

        I mean, duh-uh-uhhh….

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        ” This will probably come as a shock, but for some of us, driving is about more than just hauling around TV’s and water heaters.”

        I’ve had coupes, sedans, a hatchback, and a wagon.

        The sedan body style is my favorite because you can hide stuff in the trunk and have it out of sight of any crackheads looking to break into your car. Plus the rear parcel shelf is an easy place to mount 6×9″ speakers.

        A coupe is a PITA as an everyday car, because the doors are long and you have to squeeze out of the car in tight spots, plus getting access to things in the rear seats like grocery bags is annoying too.

        Things I’ve noticed over the years:

        A 21″ frame mountainbike will fit in the trunk of a Mustang.

        Even though their hatchbacks and relatively big cars the 3000GT/Stealth don’t have much cargo room in the rear.

        Hatchback Camaros and Firebirds probably have less cargo space than a compact hatchback FWD car.

        A Corvette is about the same as a Camaro hatchback.

        Young guys will buy cars like Mustangs and Camaros to meet girls. Once they’ve gotten the girl then kids arrive, then the 2-door coupe gets sold for a sedan, SUV, or minivan because there’s not enough room or access to the rear seats in a coupe.

        Coupes are basically for younger single people, or as 2nd cars and toys for older people.

        Chevy must’ve sold a sh*t load of Cobalt coupes, because I see lots of young people driving them out on the road. The older people will be in the Cobalt sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          There was a point when families bought coupes nonetheless (e.g. 70s). Was that only because they were cheaper?

          The trend now is for coupes to cost more, or at least the same. The reason is likely that they are seen as a “premium” option in some cases, but also because some of them are separately engineered — for example, the reason BMW 3-Series coupés, Audi A5s, and Infiniti G-coupés come out later than their sedan models are due to this. The Infiniti G-coupe is based more on the Z than on the saloon. Prior Mercedes E-Class coupés were based on some C-Class internals, I believe.

          Those long doors are often heavy because they have to meet the side impact requirements, and they’re longer than in the past because they generally need more overlap with the body for that.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I stuffed a “mobile home” sized water heater in the back of my last coupe – it was a ’97 Camaro, hatchback. Chevy lost a customer when they decided on a “Transformer” that’s great for hauling 2 cases of beer.

      The Altima? Impossible – smallest trunk I’ve ever seen outside of a convertible. I talked a buddy’s girlfriend into buying one (black) to replace her 97 Dodge Avenger – she’s quite happy with the Altima – 2 years with no problems (4 cyl, CVT). Boyfriend has an F-150 :-)

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    1) The domestics gave up on this segement (FWD COUPE) because it doesn’t sell.

    2) If you are going to by a coupe go whole hog and get RWD or AWD. FWD and a car that sacrifices for looks is a secetaries car. But the domestics get this (See the first point).

    3) This is a very easy car to rent. You need to check out the categories at Herz over a Flyer talk. Its pretty much the only car you can get in the standard car class.

    4) The best looking coupe is the Audi A5. The Challenger is the second best (or the best if you like muscle cars).

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Seems reviews indicate the Accord Coupe handles quite a bit better than the Mustang and the 6 Accord is faster and gets better mpg to boot. I believe the interior is also more livable. Mustang has an antiquated suspension and much poorer build quality.

      V6 Mustang was always a secretary’s car.

      As for a Fusion coupe, it’s too high-waisted for a coupe. Even the Altima really can’t pull it off. A high beltline is a reason most convertibles these days look so off compared to their sleek predecessors.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        “V6 Mustang was always a secretary’s car.”

        Those secretaries are now driving a 305 HP V-6 Mustang that will outrun many old Shelbys, Bosses, and GTs. Heck, it’ll outrun most later models of the Mustang, too.

  • avatar
    cmcpokey

    I bought a G35 coupe just before the Altima Coupe came out. I frequently found myself at light looking over the Altima thinking I would have preferred a car that looked like that, and the Altima driver looking over at my car, presumably thinking he wanted one as fast (or rwd) as mine.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Loved the Billy Ripken reference…good baseball cards are like good rear-wheel drive coupes…few to find and overpriced once you do.

    I know exactly one person who drives an Altima coupe…his folks bought it for him before he started at Kennesaw State. Good kid.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India