By on February 8, 2010

Until recently, if you wanted a semi-practical sport coupe for less than $30,000, and pony cars weren’t your thing, you had to get one based on a front-drive sedan. Chevrolet offered the Monte Carlo, Honda offered the Accord Coupe, Toyota offered the Solara, and two years ago Nissan introduced an Altima Coupe. The Nissan was the sportiest of the bunch owing to a dramatically shorter wheelbase and the company’s usual emphasis of handling over ride quality. Then, for the 2010 model year, Hyundai changed the rules of the game by tossing the rear-drive Genesis Coupe into the mix. Given this new addition, the question has to be asked: why would anyone still opt for the Nissan, when the Genesis is the same price?

Both the Altima and the Genesis crib from the G35/G37 Coupe, Nissan more legitimately than Hyundai since it owns Infiniti. The Altima Coupe is quite stylish from the rear quarter, with shades of Bentley in its more complex surfaces and no intentionally odd side window outline. But when viewed from the side or front quarter the car’s front-drive proportions take their toll. There’s simply too much visual mass ahead of the front wheel, which itself is too close to the passenger compartment. The door windows are framed. The 2010 SE’s 18-inch wheels and the tested car’s dark gray paint, with a bluish tinge, do make the best of the shape.

Inside both the Altima and Genesis put the business of driving—and cost—ahead of style and flash. The Genesis has a more flowing center stack, but the Altima makes do with much less faux aluminum trim. Saving the Nissan’s off-black interior from having the ambiance of a coal bin: red leather seats that look so good you wonder why so many companies offer only gray and beige. The women in my life (okay, a wife and a daughter) loved them. Hyundai offers orange-brown leather, which looks more luxurious but less sporty than the Nissan’s red. The 2010 Altima’s soft-touch IP and padded door panels are a definite step up from the shoddy hard plastic interiors of the first-gen V6 models—but then what isn’t? The primary instruments are attractive, designed to provide much of the appearance of those in a Lexus for much less money.

The good stuff inside the car ends here. All of the other readouts—including the new head unit’s LCD–suffer from Nissan’s inexplicable love for orange lighting. The look, feel, and layout of the various buttons and switches continues to lag the leaders by a substantial margin. For example, the trip computer would be much more useful if the buttons for it were on the steering wheel rather than requiring a reach around. And who thought it would look good to place rectangular temperature readouts within the round HVAC knobs? I suspect the bean counters. The seat heaters never get very warm, and the Bose audio system never sounded right no matter what adjustments I tried—one speaker or another always stuck out above the others rather than blending with them.

The front seats don’t feel quite as good as they look. They’re comfortable, but those in the Genesis Coupe are even more comfortable and provide better lateral support—the bolsters are spaced for larger people in the Altima. The view forward is open, while the view rearward is more constricted—which is where the new-for-2010 rearview camera pays off. Typical of a coupe, in back there’s not enough space for the heads or legs of adults. If you need to put adults in the back seat, then Nissan will sell you an Altima sedan. The Altima Coupe similarly gives up much of the sedan’s trunk space—there are only 8.2 cubic feet of it, and the opening is tight. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a smaller trunk in a car with a non-folding roof. Adding insult to injury, Nissan didn’t include a handle inside the lid, so you’ll dirty your fingers closing it.

Without question the V6 engine is the best part of the Altima Coupe. Variants of the VQ V6 have powered various Nissans and Infinitis since 1994, in 3.5-liter form for the past decade. In some applications the enlarged VQ sounds gruff at higher rpm. Not this one. I cannot recall the VQ ever feeling or sounding better than it does in this car. The V6 pulls very strongly from 3,500 rpm on up, and the sound it makes is downright addictive. Hyundai must find a way to make its V6 sound and feel more like this one. Sure, the larger Korean V6 kicks out better numbers, but subjectively it doesn’t come close.

In suburban driving I averaged 17 MPG partly because I could not keep my foot out of the throttle. How much better would it do driven gently? It’d be easier to find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. The 6-speed manual transmission’s shift lever is tall and its throws are on the long side when snicking clunking from gear to gear, but it’s still an easy choice over the CVT for any enthusiast.

Surprisingly, given the 258 pounds-feet the 3.5-liter engine produces, there’s very little torque steer. But before sounding the all clear, try shifting gears during full-throttle acceleration—the front wheels perform such a violent double-hop that I initially wondered if something was wrong with the car’s front suspension. Go easier on the throttle and there’s still a bit of the same unless you slow the shift and feather the clutch engagement. A quick check with owners confirmed that the 6-speed Altima V6 suffers from fairly severe wheel hop. The aftermarket offers a fix in the form of traction rods—not a common mod for a front-wheel-drive car. Another, not recommended fix: the CVT. Never has it been more necessary to eliminate “shift shock.” Did Nissan set up the suspension for the CVT, with the manual an afterthought?

The Altima’s handling is thoroughly predictable, even in snow, with minimal roll and minimal understeer…okay, you know the qualification is coming…for a front-wheel-drive car. This said, the steering doesn’t feel as quick or responsive as that in the Maxima. It’s dull in normal driving, but thankfully becomes communicative in hard turns. The Altima Coupe is one of those cars that feels best when driven aggressively. If the only competition were other front-wheel-drive coupes, it would compare well, if only because competitors with their larger dimensions feel even more like the sedans on which they are based. But the Genesis handles better, if still not remotely like a sports car, thanks to the additional chassis modulation afforded by rear-wheel-drive.

The Altima Coupe’s roll control comes at a high price—over all but the smoothest roads the ride varies between annoyingly jiggly and sadistically harsh. My wife likes to read in the car. She couldn’t read in this one. Even with its optional sport suspension the Genesis rides much better. With a ride this bad, the Altima Coupe should handle like a sports car. It doesn’t. Even if it did this price would be too high. Nissan needs to find a way to calm the suspension down.

And yet…I enjoyed driving the Altima Coupe more than I did the Genesis Coupe. It just feels so much more eager and alive, asking for and rewarding an aggressive driving style. Which makes it all the more a shame that the chassis punishes much more often than it rewards. An outstanding engine can compensate for a lot of minor shortcomings, but not this major one. The 2010 refresh ought to have done more to raise the rest of the car nearer the level of the engine.

Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas for this review

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online provider of auto pricing and reliability data.

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63 Comments on “Review: 2010 Nissan Altima Coupe...”

  • avatar

    I actually saw one of these yesterday and was impressed; mostly because I’m not that into the looks of a coupe.

    You mention it’s predictable handling “even in snow” and follow in the same paragraph with “Genesis handles better” . . . how does it handle “in snow”?

    I’m curious, also, how the Altima would handle with something better for tires, would the “hop” be less noticeable?

    —EDIT— Not sure how I missed the qualification. They provided a tank of gas — I assume you drove it MORE than that, right? :)

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, I think I only went through a little over half a tank in this car–Nissan got much of their gas back. It does have a 20-gallon tank, though.

    • 0 avatar

      The Genesis is a bit tail happy coupled with an overactive Electronic Stability Control. I really like the looks of this Altima. It looks like a poor man’s G37. Michael’s description of the tail looking like a Bently is actually what I thought when I looked at the back of the Genesis coupe…or even an Aston Martin. I’m much less enamored by the droopy nose of the Genesis. Reminds me too much of the Tiburon…which I was never really fond of. The Nissan engine in this car is an absolute delight. I had a different view of the suspension. Nissan has much more experience with sporty suspensions and it shows. The Genesis is stiff and choppy…the lack of compliance hurts it’s contact with the road and makes for a bruising ride (but that experience comes from driving the Track version, which is admittedly the stiffest.) The seats and cockpit of the Genesis really feel like a sports car though…while the Altima looks nice…it doesn’t have that cockpit feel of the Genesis.

  • avatar

    I don’t think tires would help the wheel hop a bit–this is a matter of engine mounts, axle windup, and suspension design. Firmer engine mounts and especially traction bars should help. Oddly, I’ve driven about 550 cars in the past decade, but cannot recall anything like the wheel hop in this one. I almost called Nissan to report a problem with the car.

    I’ve never driven the Genesis in the snow. With the right tires it should fare okay, but won’t be as predictable as a decent front-drive car.

    In terms of fixable car problems, the Altima has been better than average, even much better, from the 2005 model year on based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. You’re much more likely to require a repair with the “about average” Genesis Coupe so far.

    Not yet signed up to help with the survey? Details here:

  • avatar

    Whatever happened to the liftback coupe? Cars like this and the Genesis coupe would be much more useful if the rear glass would simply lift up instead of having a more traditional sedan-type trunk. This is my biggest complaint about the Genesis coupe and why I wouldn’t buy one.

    • 0 avatar

      DrX: The liftback coupe has gone out of favor as it does not readily allow for a rear chassis reinforcement bar. So the manufacturer has two choices with a liftback: Leave out the reinforcement like the last gen Mazda6 5 door liftback and suffer the consequences of insufficient chassis stiffness or do what Nissan did withe the 350Z – simply put the bar in the middle of the trunk and be ridiculed for it.

    • 0 avatar

      A desire for greater refinement, I imagine. Liftbacks are inherently less rigid, and they allow more rear suspension/wheel noise into the cabin. They’re more versatile for cargo carrying, but that’s not a major priority for big coupe buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      This comment goes to

      “”A desire for greater refinement, I imagine. Liftbacks are inherently less rigid, and they allow more rear suspension/wheel noise into the cabin. They’re more versatile for cargo carrying, but that’s not a major priority for big coupe buyers.””

      1. I’d like to know exactly what “liftback / HATCH” made in the past 10yrs is less rigid that a coupe without a hatch.

      2. Also, in this day and age there are at least a dozen cars on the market sold as convertibles.. that are easily as rigid as their sedan or coupe counterparts. Only difference is where you put the material / money.

      3. Id also like to know how this car I classified as a “big coupe”. Its midsized a best, the larger would be the M-B CL.

      4. You also mention “liftbacks” aka hatches.. and hatches literally on 75-80% of every vehicle purchased in the U.S. Not to mention are on every vehicle of every size from a lowly Suzuki that holds 4 to a GL and a Lambda from GM that holds 8. The machinery to quiet the cabin is the same, as is the engineering to silence the cabin. SO every vehicle is designed for refinement.. from the SRX, to the LR3, to a Cayenne masquerading as a Toureg.

  • avatar

    I’m glad they got rid of the chrome mustache on the front end. Option for option I feel that the Accord coupe is the better value of the two. Plus it’s nicer outside and better built inside.

    • 0 avatar

      The more the Accord grows in both size, weight and heft… the more I have to totally disagree with you. Yes Accord has been running 4’s since inception of the name, but its gotten to this point, where the a 4cycl cant move this car anymore, on top of a vehicle of its size cant / shouldn’t be driven “spiritedly” — Actually DRIVEN.

      NTM, the interior / i.p on Accord has far too many buttons and knowing now that those who buy Camry.. and Solara, are now going to look towards Accord Coupe as their middle aged / geriatric cruiser.

      If I was going with a coupe.. of the midsize, Id prob go for an Altima, but in a bright obnoxious shade of either orange or blue.

  • avatar

    I like seeing the photos of the vehicle actually tested rather then the press photos TTAC used to use before. This is much better IMO. We can see the touched up ‘ringer’ photos from the manufacturer’s websites usually and we don’t need to see it here.

    What tires were fitted on this tester? Brand, model and size please. Are they standard equipment?

  • avatar

    It would be most interesting for you to do a test on an Accord V6 Coupe with 6 speed, and compare with both this and the V6 Genesis Coupe.
    I believe those 3 are the most likely competitors to each other, and I think your review of the Altima is the first to recognize it really isn’t the G37 or Nissan Z that the Genesis lines up against in many buyers’ minds.

    A friend has a V6 Genesis Coupe with Michelin Xi2 snows and thinks its just the greatest winter toy ever.

  • avatar

    Michael-Any comment on the throttle tip in? The last Altima I drove with a VQ had a throttle that I had to drive like an old lady from a stop, in order to keep from giving myself whiplash.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t have it in my notes, but IIRC the throttle tip in was aggressive. As was the initial bite from the brakes–also typical of a Nissan.

    • 0 avatar

      The 09 definitely has it – unless you s-q-u-e-eze the accelerator continuously. The engine is very responsive, and capable of Clark Kent-Superman transitions, but I’ve yet to find a car where the drive-by-wire throttle felt as good as the old fashioned linkage kind.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what the sales numbers are for this vehicle but I’m sure they’re minimal. Not quite sure why anyone would choose this car over the Genesis, Mustang or Camaro as I certainly don’t see any advantage to it. The mpg seems to be in the neighborhood of a V8 Mustang or Camaro both of which have far more hp/torque. Based on this review I’d say the Altima coupe is pretty much useless in contrast to the sedan which is a competitive car.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of people I know are convinced that if even a flake of snow falls where they live they NEED front wheel drive or all wheel drive. No amount of discussion about snow tires will alleviate their fears either.

  • avatar

    I have driven both the Altima Coupe and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, as well as the Accord Coupe. The Altima is fun to drive and does have that Nissan sporting character. If it didn’t have some fun Nissan character to it, it would be without relative competitive merit, as the interior and trunk room are minimal and the cheap Nissan switchgear kills my interest in it generally.

    I concur that these cars should be liftbacks, and the Accord Coupe shouldn’t be so BIG.

    I’d care about the Toyota FT-86, but let’s face it, Toyota will find a way to make it blander than it needs to be, and I think a lot of Toyota quality concerns are real.

    Why can’t I like sedans? It would make life much easier (or not – many sedans out there to compare/contrast)!

    • 0 avatar

      I had this car the week after I had the Suzuki Kizashi. The Kizashi’s switchgear was so good for a car with a price in the 20s that the Altima came off really badly in comparison.

      On the other hand, the Kizashi’s weakest aspect, literally and figuratively, was its powertrain.


    • 0 avatar

      If you like a slushbox, go with a Mazda6 V6 . . . if you’re good with a stick and a 4cyl, there’s the I4 (I have one). I love mine, but want more power :/

    • 0 avatar

      Michael, how much of a powertrain improvement do you think it would be if Suzuki added a turbo w/ manual transmission as an option? Would the powertrain still be the Kizashi’s weakest point?

  • avatar

    Ive barely finished reading the review.. and it already aggravates me.

    All Nissan did for interior color.. is red seats and inside door trim.. that’s pretty bad.

    1. Im also p’oed that they went generic and changed the instrument pod. They HAD 3 separate sections.. that mounted on the wheel, so it moved when the wheel went up or down.

    2. I’m also p’oed at the shitty trunk design. They put a little thought (spent the extra money) on the scissor hinges (Honda, this is how you do a efficient trunk hinge!) Then, they cut the trunk JUST enough to change it the bumper design from sedan to coupe.. but enough to mess up sticking a decent sized object in the trunk. NICE!

    3.I’d also like to know… how hard would it have been to engineer the trunk and the back glass with an underlying frame to make it into a hatch? Oh that’s right, if you want “more room”.. go buy a Pathfinder.. *thick sarcasm*

    That’s just messed up.

  • avatar

    Your point on the Altima’s interior was exactly correct, Michael – I’ve driven the sedan version, and it’s a no-style, hard-plastic zone. If not for the sexy red leather seats, this coupe would have been the same.

    I think the interior on Accords is radically better, even with the zillion-button center console.

  • avatar

    Interesting review.

    I’ve driven a Genesis Coupe 2.0T “Track” and an Altima Coupe 2.5 manual in fairly close succession, and honestly I came away feeling that the Hyundai massacred the Nissan. Wasn’t even a contest in my opinion, even with the really bad rev-hang and the Genesis costing $1500 more.

    I wonder if bumping up both to their respective V6 versions could really change my opinion that much.

  • avatar

    Yeah, I really think this would’ve been an ideal spot to test this Altima with the V6 Accord Coupe. Bummer that Honda doesn’t have any press cars.

    I’ve driven my friend’s Altima coupe (V6/CVT) and an Accord Coupe I4 with the manual transmission and, other that power differences, I thought the Accord had a better ride/handling balance than the Altima. Sure, the Altima is a rocketship and the engine note makes sure you know it but the in-town ride was pretty harsh with the suspension always feeling like it’s on high alert.

    The shifter in the Accord was more…err…snickety as well.

  • avatar

    I don’t get this car at all. I thought the purpose of front drive coupes was to be stylish grand tourers. I find this car niether stylish, nor does it sound like much of a grand tourer. I drove the sedan and did like the way it drove, however I was turned off completely by the interior and CVT. Any ride more punishing than that would have to come with some serious performance chops and rwd, though.

  • avatar

    I have to agree with AccAzda, the red seats and door inserts aren’t doing it for me, they look aftermarket. And not in a good way.

    And why all the hate for orange instrument lighting? One of my cars has it, doesn’t bother me at all. Red is too….red, green is so 80s, yellow and purple aren’t even worth discussing. I guess you could have multiple colors, but I’ll pass thanks. Blue works, but who wants to live in a world where every car made has blue instrument lighting?

    • 0 avatar

      I happen to like any REMOTE kind of thought into interior design.. as far as material choices, color choices. They just need to follow through with their execution, and double their resources.

      But Jesus.. this is GM in their best days bad. I think I can name half a dozen cars that have the same interior philosophy.

      I’m just po’ed that they went to all of that “thought” to order red seats and matching inserts on the (otherwise) gray and colorless doors, but they couldn’t order red belts to match, or red panels that snap in to the i.p, or SOME kind of extra red accent pieces on the i.p to show that you didn’t just get some random red / aftermarket b.s.

      They = Nissan could have ordered:
      Red seat belts
      Red plastic panels or soft touch to go over the e-brake.
      How bout a nice shiny red SHIFTer
      Or a coupla nice red soft touch pieces to go on top of the i.p.
      Or even some blasted red contrast stitching around an otherwise grey / abysmal center console.
      I could go on… for hours.

      They didnt have to go so damn cheap. Heck.. I wouldn’t buy the car.. just based on this interior, (and I’m the one who always bitches about bad the ZR-1 Interior is when the car sells for 100k, least they could do is spend a coupla grand on a nice interior) but maybe they spent too much money on the rear trunk hinges…

      Let me guess… oh I know.
      They spent all of that money to develop the coupe with the engine variations (platform as I believe is just a shrunken version of the Sedan ala Camry-Solara /Accord – Coupe) That and the the trunk hinge. Do nice hinges really cost that much?! Or maybe it was the fancy cut of the rear bumper and trunk mesh to make the Sedan and trunk look “visually different” (as if you/I couldn’t tell them apart otherwise.)

    • 0 avatar

      The seats look better in person than they do in these photos. I used a flash, and the red appears oversatured. In the photos they look like vinyl. In person they’re clearly leather.

    • 0 avatar


      I like having photos of the actual test car, but you might want to consider getting a DSLR of some type (even one of the lower-end ones, like, say, a Nikon D50) and shooting with a tripod and no flash. On-camera flash can make anything look awful, particularly car interiors – and any non-DSLR will pretty much suck in every possible way.

      Also, bigger pics would be nice in general – 1600×1200 would go a long way toward seeing what’s really there; 2048×1536 or so would be ideal.

      Edit: I should have clicked on these pics before I wrote something… turns out they’re the biggest ones I’ve ever seen on TTAC! Oops… At any rate, the suggestion stands in general. :)

  • avatar

    an interesting car although a tad confused

    it looks like a mini Skyline/Infiniti G37

    yet it looks too small to have the VQ35 motor and it’s FWD

    this is the same motor that drives the maxima, 350z and el grande (and murano and just about everything else nissan)

    • 0 avatar

      I believe in theory..
      Nissan is trying to sell the coupe “concept” in a couple of different price segments.

      The Altima Coupe as the cheapo, with the Z coming in behind it.. and ultimately the G then the GTR.

      It doesn’t matter how “small” the car looks…

      It can currently be ordered with either the 2.5 or the 3.5. I also believe the G and or the Skyline / GTR / GODZILLA are of a VERY similar size, but its the proportions that are different.

      Inaddition the skyline / GTR / Godzilla also has a awd unit..

  • avatar

    “A lot of people I know are convinced that if even a flake of snow falls where they live they NEED front wheel drive or all wheel drive. No amount of discussion about snow tires will alleviate their fears either.”

    The problem is that when bad weather happens those tires are still stored in the garage whilst you are still at work. And if you didn’t buy a separate set of rims for them you are are going to spend $100-200 every year mounting, balancing and dismounting them.Try getting in line for that when the news media announces the next “snow apocalypse”

    Then there’s the opposite problem, the people who mount their studded snow tires in October and then tear up the pavement until March.

    • 0 avatar

      “Then there’s the opposite problem, the people who mount their studded snow tires in October and then tear up the pavement until March.”

      Yeah, one of my pet peeves. Snows here once or twice a year (none yet this winter), yet we have tons of people driving around with studs. There are studless snow tires, I’m thinking of getting a set for next year. Even if it doesn’t snow, studless snow tires out perform all-seasons in the rain, so it’s not a bad investment. (Rains a lot here)

      As you point out, if you buy snow tires you may as well get another set of wheels and keep them mounted. Don’t have to spend a fortune on them.

  • avatar

    Although I don’t think this review is really trying to compare the Genesis coupe and Altima coupe, I must say that there can be no comparison in terms of driving dynamics (not to mention looks in and out). The genesis coupe is built to be a sports car from ground up (and is good one). Also, its V6 makes great sound, better than Nissan’s imho. I know these because I drove G37 and 370Z before purchasing the Genesis coupe 3.8 track.

  • avatar

    This car SHOULD have been a lift back to differentiate itself from the RWD G37 Coupe. Clearly the G buyer will accept the smaller trunk as its a proper RWD sports car with a focus on performance and handling. Altima owners on the other hand aren’t going to complain about such things so give them the liftback design.

    My wife is going to own a G35 coupe at some point this year and honestly the biggest let down is the trunk – its TINY and rear seats don’t fold down. This makes no sense since they could have easily designed a bar (ala the Z) to tighten the rear up while still allowing the rear seats fold down no? Seriously the trunk in these two vehicles are Saturn Sky small.

  • avatar

    “And who thought it would look good to place rectangular temperature readouts within the round HVAC knobs?”

    I actually think it’s a clever and intuitive place to put the read out instead of, say, sticking it somewhere on the radio display. I suppose it might be annoying if you tend to turn the dial in a way that your hand gets in the way of the display, but it’s one of those things you’d adjust to in a couple weeks.

  • avatar

    +1 Redrum

    Some of these things Mr. Karesh is whining about seem contrived. You’re whining about orange illumination? What color would you prefer, pea-snot green? Eye-searing red? Eye-searing blue? They may be frillier colors but they’re less functional and cause higher eyestrain (mostly blue though red doesn’t always dim properly)

    And you’re whining about the trip computer button location not being on the steering wheel? Having driven one it’s in the logical location- on the IP to the left of the wheel by the gauges- not behind the wheel. Why would I further clutter up a steering wheel already laced with cruise control and stereo functions with a button that cycles through outside temperature and fuel economy? What idiot would put it on the steering wheel?

    And then you whine about the feel of various switches lagging in quality compared to the segment leaders. Which ones- because if you’ve felt the happy meal toy materials in the Accord/Camry the Altima’s are a notch up (not saying much but still…)

    Finally, I appreciate the photography approach, but bring a tripod and turn off the flash.

  • avatar

    Nice review as always, Mr. Karesh.

    Do you have any figures on the ownership breakdown female/male? I recall seeing some stats early on for the Altima Coupe that reflected a very heavy female/male bias. Whatever its objective virtues, the Altima Coupe has the reputation for being a “chick car” ( or secretary-mobile.

    Maybe that’s a good thing, if you are a young single male, and you have time to go to the owners’ club meet-ups (if any).

  • avatar

    The Accord Coupe has a slicker manual shifter, but that’s all I’ll give it over the Altima. Not only is the Accord Coupe significanty bigger than the Altima Coupe – it’s actually bigger than the Altima SEDAN. Some people want a sports coupe the size of a limo, I guess. I’m not one of them.

    And my Dad drives a current gen Accord sedan – there is nothing about the interior that I find superior to my Altima 3.5 SE 6MT sedan. In some ergonomic respects (rampant buttonitis) it is inferior.

    As for fuel economy – I agree that he combination of the VQ and the manual transmission encourage agressive driving – with the predictable result. But on long highway trips I routinely get 29-30mpg, which I find more than acceptable for a vehicle of this size, weight and power.

  • avatar

    Funny how Hyundai is kicking everybody’s ass these days, although the Nissan VQ engine is incredible.

    • 0 avatar

      The 3.5 Ltr 6 in the Nissan.. is a fantastic front drivin torque monster to drive around (just not in any color /shade of gray / silver).

      Only reason why the Hyundai is being considered.. is cause its their first attempt and they are aiming it at any vehicle with any kind of cred.

      If I had the money, the sporting intentions and a coupla hatches.. Id go RIGHT for a 370Z in bold Orange.. I wouldn’t touch a Hyundai.. track edition or not.

      But that’s besides the point. The Altima Coupe.. COULD be SO MUCH more. The engine speaks volumes, but the interior clearly lacks. (Again, like paying 100k for a ZR-1 Vette.. and getting current base Malibu Interior). Even the LTZ Malibu has a two tone leather interior.. with some nice / alibiet cheap plastichrome for a shifter cover.

      Now, I’m also going to guess that the Accord has LESS sporting pretensions (because of its BLOATED SIZE), has a lesser gear amount in the trans.

      In this respect, I believe the ALTIMA interior / dash layout is better than Accord, for having less buttons alone. (Although Honda has a nice tan cloth / leather that I’m fond of, with wood applique on the i.p).

      And for the heck of it..
      Altima has been bigger than Accord for the past generation. Only Honda hasn’t caught up with it and or Camry till this gen. Accord coupe being larger now doesn’t make it better.. cause of its size, nor does it make the Altima Coupe better because it was the bigger car 2yrs ago.

      In short..
      There is no need for a midsizer as big as a 300 / Crown Vic, current Taurus / Avalon.

      And the interior trim / fit-out, paired with a decent motor, and is drivable at a sporting speed.. is the better car.

    • 0 avatar

      Got the 09 sedan with the tan ‘suede’ finish seats/IP with tan and ‘carbon fiber’ accents (complete with wood applique for the storage compartment panels). IMO, this looks way better than the morass of black/gray Altimas suffer from, and the adjustable orange lighting is actually very easy on on the eyes – my second make with this lighting, and it definitely beats Chevy green, Mazda red and Honda blue.
      If only Nissan factory fitted something for the surge/wheel hop….!

  • avatar

    Why do car companies still put crappy Bose car stereos in their vehicles ? The one in my Acura was awful as well . Bose was once a reputable speaker company that now makes overpriced , overhyped lousy sounding stereos . Hell , the $120 Logitech 2.1 speaker system I added to my computer makes a friend’s $500 plastic table ‘Wave Radio’ sound like a tiny transistor radio by comparison ! It’s true what they say – No highs, no lows – must be a Bose !

  • avatar


    Well written review! The orsange gauge lighting has been proven to be the easiest to read at night. This is why BMW uses it, although other lighting schemes def. appear flashier. I agree with your opinion about the Bose car stereo. The one in my 06 MDX sucks. Never understood how they get a premium for their units. I just love the reviews on this site! I would never buy a car without reading what you guys say about it. I have found most of the reviewers insight to be spot on.

  • avatar

    Altima 3.5 is the only coupe worth considering. I would even go so far as to picking Altima coupe over the Infiniti when taking price and practicality into consideration.

    I test drove an Accord coupe, it’s a huge awkward looking car and drives like one too. Just take a look at its back seat, might as well go with a sedan.

    Hyundai Genesis is a Hyundai, need I say more. Esthetically their designs are just not on par with the Japanese.

    Also the CTV transmission on the Altima coupe is awesome, there is no lag between gears and the right amount of power is delivered every time. I’ve driven stick for the last 7 years.

    Altima coupe is a one fun ride that offers a great combination of comfort and performance and is very easy on the eyes.

    I’ve recently purchaes it, love it.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I’d buy an already depreciated 1st generation Infiniti G35 coupe over a new Nissan Altima Coupe. Same great VQ35DE engine plus RWD. Saw several G35 coupes at a local car show last weekend. The G35 coupe looks like it might be mildly collectible vs. the Altima coupe which looks like future scrap metal.

    • 0 avatar

      A used high milage g35 is a good call for a used car. But I’d rather drive a brand new car than someone elses second hand that’s been farted in for the last 5 years.

    • 0 avatar

      A used high milage g35 is a good call for a used car. But I’d rather drive a brand new car than someone elses second hand hooptie.

  • avatar

    I cannot agree with gmartin above, there are a couple great coupes worth considering.

    I drove the Altima Coupe 3.5 and the Genesis 3.8 back to back, and the Altima left me wondering where they went wrong, it felt so disconnected and numb compared to the sharp Genesis. I don’t know if FWD vs RWD is a fair comparison though, as their handling is quite different. Regardless of what ones opinion is of Hyundai these days, they have made one great car and the hype seems to be warranted. Styling of course is a subjective opinion, the Altima to me looks too generic. The Genesis could use work on the front end but otherwise very nice.

    Interior wise I like the cockpit feel of the Genesis more, but something both are lacking is the more luxury feel of the Accord Coupe.

    After that test the Altima Coupe is no longer on my car shopping list.

  • avatar

    I was given a new Altima as part of my promotion at work. No more train…A few comments – I really like the temp settings in the middle of the nice practical knob. I hate the fact that the temperature display has to be turned on by the flat button to the left of the steering wheel, mostly because I can’t keep the MPG display on with the temperature display simultaneously. Sounds nitpicky, but it is a PITA because I want them both. I like the nice large red display of the radio. Seat comfort really could be better for my 1.5 hour stints that I have to do twice a day. Still, considering that the car and all associated expenses are covered for me, I am not complaining.

    Impact harshness is well controlled, mostly, but I do yearn for more roll stiffness. Acceleration is pretty good, especially considering my car is a hybrid. Slogging through traffic for about 30% of the time yields 33 MPG for me. This is the first hybrid I have ever driven, and I do find the start up of the engine when stopped rather rough. When rolling, it is minimal. I would really like to try the V6 version…

    gmartin: are you the poster that used to go by the name BEAT?

    • 0 avatar

      I have not posted before under other names.

      By the way Altima coupe and sedan are 2 different animals. Try the 3.5 coupe, you will love it. One of the major pluses for me, is the fact that the car doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles like many luxury cars. The 3.5 VQ is a beast and the interior design is very well done and not over done.

  • avatar
    Spencer Williams

    Great review. I’ve seen one of these around the neighborhood, they look better in person than in pics, and as you said, the 3.5 VQ is a fun engine. Not sure why this car is so rare in the world…

  • avatar

    “…. the ride varies between annoyingly jiggly and sadistically harsh. My wife likes to read in the car. She couldn’t read in this one….”

    Funny stuff, this is a coupe targeted at the youth market not a “boat” for geriatrics.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      gmartin… I understand your point but it seems to me that’s the problem: The auto industry seems to think vehicles have to be designed for one of only three groups: 18-year old boy-racers with attention-deficit disorder, multitasking commuters who view vehicles as appliances only… and geriatrics who equate isolation with quality and luxury.

      Can’t their be some intelligent, sporty, reliable vehicles that can please enthusiasts over the age of 30 without punishing them physically? One can count the number of coupes under 30K on one hand. I agree with mtypex… I wish I could love sedans (especially with automatics), it would make car buying a much easier and happier process. Right now, it’s mostly frustration.

      I want to like the Altima coupe, but I think I’ll look at the Genesis Coupe instead. The Accord is just too big, bloated and ugly. The Mustang and Camaro? All the emphasis seems to be on the muscle-car variants in pony-car history – not the light, nimble, sport coupes they were originally intended to be. If the Genesis doesn’t work out, what’s left? A Mazda6? A Suzuki Kizashi? A Mitsubishi Lancer GTS? There doesn’t appear to be much more for under 25K, which unfortunately is my limit.

  • avatar

    I find the comments about the interior out in left field, gosh compare this interior to that of a Camry with it’s tupperware plastics.  Do I sense an anti-Nissan reviewer here?

  • avatar

    Aftermarket wheels/tires DO make a huge difference on this car.   I have 245/45 18’s on mine and it feels dramatically more solid than the wimpy stockers which I sold at 800 miles. It’s almost like Nissan expected owners to upgrade the wheels. Wheel hop is unheard of. And the CVT in combination with the Variable Valve Timing keeps the revs WAY down when you’re cruising around town. I’ll admit the ride is a bit firm, but I figure I can change out the struts at some point.  I know that all reviews must be done on a stock vehicle, but when a few basic changes can make a big difference, it’s important to consider that.  Very happy with the car, trouble free after 3 years, motor feels like it will last much longer than I will want to keep the car.

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