2010 Nissan Altima 3.5SR Review & Test Drive

The last time we drove the Nissan Altima it was already a winner in our book. A stylish mid-sized coupe or sedan with a bit of sport and luxury feel, all boxed up in an economical package. This year that tradition continues and is further emphasized in our test vehicle equipped with one of the best V6 engines on the market.

For 2010 styling remains mostly unchanged with the exception of the reshaped outline of the front grill and the addition of the SR trim level replacing the SE trim from last year. We had the opportunity to review the Altima 3.5SR coupe equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission and it was a blast to drive. This time we have the Altima 3.5SR sedan with Nissan’s proven CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which is nothing short of a performer. The Altima V6 sedan, because of its relatively lightweight body (3357lbs.) and powerful 270 horsepower engine, is a decent performing family sedan.

The power delivery of the VQ series 3.5-liter V6 engine is smooth, and when combined with the CTV tranny it almost seamlessly finds the power-sweet-spot when you need it. On the highway the Altima SR sedan’s sport tuned suspension is firm and gives you a since of confidence even at higher speeds. From a standstill the Altima V6 is able to reach 60mph in 6.8 seconds and has a good stopping distance of 123 feet down from 60mph. Traction control and vehicle skid control keep the front wheel drive sedan in check if the 258 foot-pounds of torque gets out of hand. Just like the Altima’s older sibling, the Nissan Maxima, front-wheel-drive torque steer is almost non-existent. This is something the 3rd generation (2002-2006) Altima V6 suffered from greatly.

The smooth sheet metal of the 2010 Altima looks modern and refreshed when compared to the model just a couple years ago. Nissan has added chrome painted accents along the grill, reshaped the headlights slightly and even added in folding rearview mirrors. The Altima has always been among the better-looking entry-level family sedans on the road, in my opinion, even when compared to the Toyota Camry. Out test vehicle was equipped with HID headlamps and integrated fog lights up front which add a luxury look to the vehicle at night as well as helping you see better.

Inside of the 2010 Altima, many things remain unchanged from the previous years. The leather seating appointments are supportive and available in a wide variety of colors. The Bose stereo with its color LCD screen, iPod/USB integration, XM satellite radio and 9 speakers is an ‘okay’ sounding system. The way it handles bass could be improved. What we really like about the Altima is its available back-up camera which is displayed on the 4.3-inch Bose stereo screen. Also to our surprise our Altima had rear a/c vents. This is something you do not find on cars of this class. All of these options were part of the Altima SR’s premium package.

All of the controls and instrument cluster readouts are large and easy to read. Not much about the Altima’s interior leaves you guessing.

The rear seating of the Altima sedan has some room for improvement as it has its passengers sitting relatively low. Trunk room is ample as is the total amount of cargo space with the standard 60/40 split rear seats folded down.

When the Nissan Altima had a major redesign for 2002, it came out of the gates as ‘the family sports car’ which was later shadowed by the Nissan Maxima. The Maxima, built off of the same platform, comes at a higher price point that includes many more available luxury amenities.

The Nissan Altima remains to be a family sedan that is small enough to be nimble, yet big enough to seat 5 comfortably. The Altima also keeps its tradition of being economical with a modest 20mpg city and 27mpg figures for the V6 and 23mpg/32mpg for the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. Nissan has given potential buyers of the Altima the option to load it up with several amenities such as a voice-activated navigation system and even streaming Bluetooth audio. If you are looking for a reliable, stylish, economical yet sporty family hauler, then the Nissan Altima SR is one vehicle you don’t want to overlook. The Altima 2.5 sedan starts at just $19,900 and the 3.5 SR starts at $24,740. Our test vehicle came in at $30,165, which includes a destination charge of $720.

Copyright: 2010 AutomotiveAddicts.com


Price: Base Altima 2.5 $19,990 Base Altima 3.5SR $24,740 As-Tested $30,165
Type: Midsize Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Midsize Cars


Length: 190.7 in.
Width: 70.7 in.
Height: 57.9 in.
Wheel Base: 109.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.4 in.
Curb Weight: 3357 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4279 lbs.

Front Head Room: 40.6 in.
Front Hip Room: 56.8 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 55.7 in.
Rear Head Room: 36.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 55.5 in.
Rear Hip Room: 52.5 in.
Front Leg Room: 44.1 in.
Rear Leg Room: 35.8 in.
Luggage Capacity: 15.3 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Engine Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3.5 liters
Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 270 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4400 rpm
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 37.4 ft.
0-60mph: 6.8 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 20 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 20 mpg / 27 mpg / 23 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 400 mi. / 540 mi. / 460 mi.