2010 Nissan Altima Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Responsive steering, capable chassis, solid cabin construction, loads of electronics features, sedan's perfect safety scores, available coupe body style.
  • Smaller backseat than rivals, coupe's wonky manual shifter, complex options structure.
List Price Range
$3,500 - $13,200

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Nissan Altima is an excellent pick for a midsize sedan or coupe, particularly if you're looking for something with some sporting flair.

Vehicle overview

"Fun for the whole family!" is usually attached to large buffet restaurants or miniature golf courses, but occasionally it applies to cars. Yes, it's possible for Dad or Mom to have a modicum of fun behind the wheel without squishing Junior into a cramped backseat and jostling him around with a firm ride. There are a few such candidates in the family sedan category, with the 2010 Nissan Altima being one of our favorites. As a bonus, it's also available as a coupe for those who don't need a whole family to tag along.

The amount of fun you'll have will somewhat depend on whether you choose the four-cylinder engine or the V6. The latter comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension that trades some ride comfort for sharper handling, making the V6-powered Altima 3.5 SR model feel more like a sport sedan in family-friendly clothing. The four-cylinder car is more sedate due to its softer suspension and considerable power deficit relative to the V6. Still, all Altimas will be more involving to drive than sedans purely focused on comfort, such as the Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry.

For 2010, the current-generation Altima receives its first significant update since its debut back in 2007. This includes a restyled front end and the welcome addition of standard stability control across the board. Nissan has also upgraded the stereo, navigation and Bluetooth systems, making the Altima one of the most high-tech models in the midsize sedan and coupe markets.

Unfortunately, that equipment comes in expensive options packages, which in some cases must be paired with other packages. This structuring makes it difficult to pick and choose among options you would consider essential or frivolous. Another downside to the Altima is its backseat, which isn't quite as roomy as what you'll find in other top models. Then again, bigger isn't always better, as the Altima's "just right" size is a major contributor to its athleticism.

All said, we consider the 2010 Nissan Altima to be one of the class leaders -- especially with the V6. There are some other models we'd strongly suggest checking out -- the highly impressive Ford Fusion, the perennially popular Honda Accord, the enjoyable Mazda 6 and the new Suzuki Kizashi come to mind -- but should you choose a Nissan Altima, it will surely provide plenty of fun for the whole family.

2010 Nissan Altima models

The 2010 Nissan Altima is available in sedan and coupe body styles. The hybrid-powered Altima sedan is reviewed separately. The base sedan is the 2.5, which is sparsely equipped and only available by customer order. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning and a trip computer. No options are available and a stereo is not included, but the car is prewired for one with four speakers.

The 2.5 S trim is available on both sedan and coupe. It adds to the base car keyless ignition and entry and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The 2.5 S coupe adds 17-inch alloy wheels. You can get more equipment with the 2.5 S Convenience package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels (sedan), an eight-way power driver seat, automatic headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

The 2.5 S Convenience Plus package (sedan only) adds a sunroof and dual-zone automatic climate control. The 2.5 S Premium Audio package (sedan only) adds a nine-speaker Bose stereo, a color display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an iPod interface and satellite radio. The 2.5 S Premium package for the coupe essentially adds all the optional content listed above.

The 2.5 SL package for the sedan adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear A/C vents. The SL package is known as the Leather package on the coupe; it lacks rear A/C vents but gains xenon headlights.

The 3.5 SR adds a V6 engine, 17-inch alloy wheels (18s for the coupe), a sport-tuned suspension, heated side mirrors and the contents of the 2.5 S Convenience package. The 3.5 SR Sport package available on the sedan adds a sunroof, xenon headlights, a rear spoiler, foglights and dual-zone climate control. The 3.5 SR Premium package available on both cars essentially includes all the 2.5 S coupe Premium package, SL package and Premium Audio package items.

The Technology package available on the 2.5 S and 3.5 SR trims of both sedan and coupe includes a hard-drive navigation system, real-time traffic and weather updates, Bluetooth streaming audio and digital music storage.

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2010 Highlights

The 2010 Nissan Altima has been refreshed with a restyled front fascia and standard stability control. There is also a newly upgraded sound system with an iPod interface, while the navigation system has been enhanced with a larger touchscreen, additional real-time satellite information, Bluetooth audio connectivity and digital music storage. Finally, the 3.5 SE model has been renamed 3.5 SR and loses its available manual transmission in sedan form.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Nissan Altima features two engine choices. The 2.5 models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is mandatory on the sedan, while the coupe gets a standard six-speed manual transmission and the CVT as an option. EPA estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with the CVT and 23/31/26 with the manual.

The 3.5 SR models get a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets the same transmission choices as the 2.5. In Edmunds performance testing, a 3.5 sedan went from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds. The coupe with the CVT did the same sprint in 6.7 seconds; with the manual, it dropped to 6.5. EPA fuel economy is 20/27/23 for the CVT and 18/27/21 for the manual.

Safety

Every Altima comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Altima 3.5 with 17-inch wheels (regardless of body style) came to a stop from 60 mph in about 130 feet, a performance deemed average by our testing team.

In government crash testing, the Altima sedan received a perfect five stars for frontal protection, while the coupe got four stars. Both models got a five-star side rating, however. The Altima sedan received the best possible rating of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Driving

The 2010 Nissan Altima is really a tale of two cars. The four-cylinder will be the choice of many, but our opinions are divided on the CVT, with some editors complaining that it makes the engine seem overly noisy and labored during acceleration. Four-cylinder cars also lack the sport-tuned suspension of the V6 model. A less special driving experience is the result, though you do get a more comfortable ride quality out of the deal, and the chassis is still sportier than the norm for this segment.

The V6 is a different matter. The CVT is much better suited to the more powerful V6, and the sport suspension pairs with precise steering to make the Altima drive like a discount sport sedan. The coupe is available with a manual transmission, but despite this model's intended sportiness, we'd stick with the CVT. The manual gearbox has a sudden clutch engagement and sloppy gear selection.

Interior

The 2010 Nissan Altima offers a quiet and attractive cabin made with top-notch materials, though the overall appearance is a little dour, especially in black. All coupes come with sportier seats that feature more side bolstering than the sedan's relatively flat chairs. Controls are straightforward, even with the optional navigation system, and updates made for 2010, including items like Bluetooth streaming audio and an iPod interface, keep the Altima current in the rapidly evolving world of in-car electronics.

Space is quite good in the Altima, although rear headroom is a little tight compared to some competitors, and the back headrests are built into the seatback rather than being adjustable. Legroom also trails the competition by the numbers, though in practice the Altima is plenty roomy in this regard. The coupe's backseat, however, is notably cramped, particularly if you compare it to the one in the Honda Accord coupe; however, it's acceptable for brief jaunts with one or two average-size adults. The sedan offers a decent 15.3-cubic-foot trunk, while the coupe is significantly smaller at 8.2 cubic feet.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2010 Nissan Altima.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Owned 3 years, treated me well!
Matt Sargent,01/25/2016
2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I purchased my Altima certified pre-owned and drove it for 3 years. This little car was VERY good to me, couldn't have asked for a better vehicle. I will say the engine was a little loud especially on the highway, or when you were pushing it to get to speed. Outside of the occasional noise though I had absolutely zero problems.... the only thing I ever had to put into the car was oil changes, tires, and brakes. If you are looking for reliable transportation this is it. Also just to note, the trunk space is HUGE, I have hauled soooo many things in this vehicle and each time to my shock and dismay they always fit. I would definetly recommend this vehicle, after owning this I am a Nissan fan for life, in fact I just bought a brand new one.
Reliable, roomy, & fun 4dr sedan
jona57,01/28/2014
2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
After much research, I bought 10 Altima loaded with SL package. Well-balanced near-luxury sedan with these options. Smooth, quiet ride but also sharp handling (for family sedan) and fun to drive. After 4+ trouble-free years, my worst complaint (as for most midsize cars) is that front passenger seat is not height adjustable.
Great ride!
Kim,08/08/2015
2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I was in the market for a new car fell in love with the look of this. I bought one used, but it was in great condition. The seats are comfortable; they hug your body and make you feel safe, unlike the Nissan Sentra I had before where the seats were just boring and flat. I get a lot of miles out of a tank of gas, it feels pretty sturdy and heavy driving on the road, which is important to me. The Sentra felt like it'd fly off the road if there was a gust of wind. However, the trunk is TINY and SHALLOW. You can't even fit a decent sized box in the back. This isn't a good traveling car if you do a lot of traveling, as the back seat is pretty small as well. But since I'm only one person with no kids, it's perfect for me. Also, sometimes this car seems to have trouble speeding up on hills. This car is also very safe. I recently got into a four-car wreck - the Infiniti behind me was totaled, but I only got away with my two bumpers needing replacement and the exhaust system repaired. No windows shattering, engine problems, or any other damage to the body that I know of.
Stylish Ride.....But
James,08/08/2015
2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I've owned quite a few cars of all makes and models, and the Altima SL is one of the more stylish vehicles out there for the money. It comes with many options standard that you would pay extra for on Hondas or Toyotas. The ride and performance are decent for the price. Having owned the other Japanese vehicles, I thought I'd give the Altima a try since I really like the body style. With all that said....I did nothing but basic routine maintenance on my Civic amd Corolla up until both were sold with about 200K miles on each. My Altima had turned 68K and been in the shop 3 times for things such as....belt pully assembly failing, front axel replacemrnt, rotor replacement. Thank god I purchased the extended warranty which covered most of the exspense. Aside from the inconvienance, it is a nice riding car. The local Nissan dealership has been great to deal with. While I'll probably keep the vehicle until time for a replacement.....not sure I'll buy another Nissan? Update: It's now 2018, and my Altima has all in all been a decent choice. At 137K miles, its been a better than average commuter car. The new Altima's have even better fuel mileage. I will eventually turn the car over to my daughter, and would definitely consider another Altima...or upgrading to a Maxima or Infiniti.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Acceptable
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Nissan Altima
More About This Model

So, first things first — don't let the new name fool you. The 2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is basically the same as the outgoing sport-tuned 3.5 SE model, albeit with the refreshed styling and technology bits common to all 2010 Altimas. But at the same time, don't let this model's advancing years put you off. The 3.5 SE was the sports car of family sedans when it debuted for 2002, and the 3.5 SR carries on that tradition, even as the current-generation Altima enters its fourth year of production.

Of course, a few challengers have appeared in the intervening years. The Ford Fusion Sport provides similar power and handling. The Mazda 6 combines entertaining athleticism with American-size dimensions. The Subaru Legacy boasts all-wheel drive and a capable chassis. But with the exception of the manual-transmission-only Legacy GT, there's still no family hauler that's as gratifying to drive as the taut and tossable Altima 3.5 SR.

Yet there's much more to this Nissan's appeal than its appetite for tight corners. The powertrain is a revelation, a blissful marriage of broad-shouldered V6 thrust and seamless CVT (continuously variable transmission) oversight. The interior materials are Infiniti-grade — few cars in this class can compete. And the technology is top-notch, including updated optional navigation and sound systems with real-time traffic and Bluetooth streaming audio.

There are still nits to pick with the Altima 3.5 SR. The relatively low rear-seat cushion, for example, forces longer-legged passengers to ride with their knees in the air. Also, Nissan makes you pay through the nose for desirable option packages. But if you appreciate the Altima's sporting character, these burdens will be easy to bear. The 2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is proof positive that family-minded consumers still have the option of enjoying the drive.

Used 2010 Nissan Altima Overview

The Used 2010 Nissan Altima is offered in the following submodels: Altima Sedan, Altima Coupe. Available styles include 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.5 SR 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT), 3.5 SR 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl CVT), 2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl 6M), and 3.5 SR 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Nissan Altima?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Nissan Altima trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Nissan Altima 2.5 S is priced between $3,500 and$13,200 with odometer readings between 49058 and208285 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Nissan Altima 2.5 is priced between $6,500 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 52389 and128661 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR is priced between $7,840 and$7,840 with odometer readings between 91814 and91814 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2010 Nissan Altimas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Nissan Altima for sale near. There are currently 11 used and CPO 2010 Altimas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,500 and mileage as low as 49058 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Nissan Altima.

Can't find a used 2010 Nissan Altimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Altima for sale - 4 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $22,289.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $25,016.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Altima for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $12,697.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $25,273.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 Nissan Altima?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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