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2010 Nissan AltimaThe Altima is an old favorite of mine, but in recent years I've had to drop it from my list of recommended cars because it didn't offer electronic stability control (ESC) in combination with the four-cylinder engine. (That's a pet peeve of mine, by the way -- restricting safety features on low-cost models. And with more buyers opting for smaller engines for their fuel economy, rather than their cheaper price, it makes even less sense.) The Altima is getting a round of updates for 2010, and the most important change is that ESC is now standard. Does that mean I'm going to go back to recommending the Altima? Find out in my 2010 Nissan Altima test drive. -- Aaron Gold

Photo © Aaron Gold

October 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm
(1) Jay says:

I had to rent a mid-size sedan when our 2004 Corolla was in the shop for a week(again) and we got a 2007 Altima with the 4 cylinder and CVT. We loved it. It hand tons of room, cool push button start, great fuel economy, comfortable with a real fun to drive factor that Hondas and Toyotas lack and now that ESC is standard it’s even more appealing.

October 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(2) DFI says:

I’ve always looked at the Altima as a dumbed down version of the Infiniti G. Sure there are lots of differences in power, tranny, interior luxury; but overall they are more similar than different. I’m pleased to see Nissan is stepping up with more features that bring it closer to the G, just hope the price doesn’t do the same. :)

October 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm
(3) George in Ohio says:

You are dead on, Aaron. Finally – Nissan wises up and lets you get ESC in the 4 cylinder Altima. If they had provided this option in July 2008 when I bought my Sonata, my decision might have been different. I loved the Altima, but I refused to pay a significant premium for it when they didn’t even offer one of my top “must-have” items on my want list. Actually, I was miffed enough to send a complaint to Nissan at the time (they never responded). I am completely satisfied with my Sonata, but I will admit the Altima was more fun to drive. Opportunities lost, Nissan…

October 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(4) Hawaiian Don says:

My wife absolutely loves the design and it has excellent qualities, except for its size. Like the Accord it has too much girth for my taste.

October 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm
(5) Brian from Canada says:

I own a 2008 Altima and like it a lot. Lately I have been reading up on the new Subaru Legacy and I was wondering how the Legacy compares to the Altima. Also, why do you rarely mention Subarus in your comparison of vehicles?

October 15, 2009 at 10:49 am
(6) Mike in Minn says:

Our 08 Altima 2.5SL has been extremely reliable. We have 41,000 on it with one trip to the dealer for a recall testing passenger seat airbag sensors.

On 55mph highways we get 34-35 mpg. At freeway speeds it drops to 28-31 depending on wind. Normal in-town stop and go results in averages of 26 mpg usually….not too bad for a non-hybrid mid sizer.

It’s quick, semi-sporty (but too much body lean), quiet (except for engine thrash during hard acceleration), and smooth.

I agree that the Mazda has a much nicer interior…but I think that the Nissan’s econ numbers would still make a compelling argument. Malibu has the same economy (with the 6 spd) with a nicer interior. When I drove the Malibu it felt underpowered by comparison (I think it had far less torque and 6 less hp) but was smoother. That was before they offered a 6 spd auto. Ford Fusion Hybrid would also be a contender depending on price since there is a 10-15 mpg improvement over conventional 4s.

In this segment there are several different excellent choices. What a consumer buys would be largely a result of their own wants and how they weight them. I’ve been impressed with my first Nissan…at least so far.

October 15, 2009 at 11:13 am
(7) P says:

Brian – The new Legacy is not that great. I test drove one recently since I was in the market for a car. The interior looks very dated and ugly. The exterior is also the same. and the CVT sucks. it maybe great for gas saving, but the it never seems to shift when you want it to.
i’ve rented an altima and although it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was far better than the legacy.

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