2011 Nissan Altima Coupe 2.5 S (843)

This week we’re looking at the 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S two door Coupe. The last Nissan I reviewed was the cube SUV that is somewhat of an ugly duckling. Amazing how one sibling can be unattractive and another can be GQ material. This Altima Coupe is really nice looking in my humble opinion, and I suspect I am not alone. I believe it will be a good selling model, which is a safe bet since the Altima is Nissan’s best selling car.

That is for good reason in my view since I’ve tested Nissan products for a long time and the below listed model years I’ve driven have remained in my mind as solid performers and worthy of a good review.

A little history: Altima was introduced in 1992 and the first year I reviewed the Altima was model year 1996, then again in 1997, and the third generation model in 2002 and 2005 received added interior and exterior upgrades. Those were all 4-door sedans and although the Coupe was added in 2008 I didn’t get around to driving it until now. I looks virtually the same as when introduced and I have really enjoyed the ride in this coupe.

Handling & Performance:

Fun to drive handling and generally an enjoyable comfortable ride. Altima makes good use of lower end horsepower for good performance coupled with very good fuel economy. I would have added a turbocharger for exceptional performance as well.


Clean and classy lines which is consistent across most of all of this class of competitors. The Coupe is sporty and although the Z is my favorite sport model from Nissan this Altima Coupe has the advantage of being able to seat 5 if needed.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


In the hunt in the area of purchase price. All in this class grouping are very close in price to value.

Conveniences and comfort:

Includes all the necessary stuff. I think Nav would be an add on for me because I believe it affords a lot of safety. Nothing is more dangerous on the highway than a driver who doesn’t know where they are going. However I wasn’t sad this Altima was not equipped with one because I always carry a portable Navigation system. Those cost a few hundred bucks for very capable models.

Smart key with push button start and stop is fast becoming one of my must have features. It is just so convenient it ranks up at the top of my list of features along with Navigation, smart cruise and voice activated radio, heater and cruise etc. Don’t you just love this age of technology.

Consumer Recommendation:

I suspect buying decisions will have more to do with personal preference of make than anything else. Nissan has always been a consistently reliable performer, but quite frankly this is such a closely matched group I would have to flip a coin at some point. The 2010 Ford Fusion was Motor Trend’s car of the year, for example, and arguably it is at the top of the exceptional car list. Motor Trend car of the year for 2011 is the Chevy Volt. So there may be more politics and advertising influence in their selections than unbiased evaluation. And finally, a lot of folks will be impressed with Ford because it has taken top sales spot from Toyota.

As to Altima, it is surely close to the top of my list of cars to buy and there is a little bias since you may recall from prior Nissan reviews that my first of their product was a 1966 Datsun station wagon. I had no real problem with that early product and I’m always confident when I step into any Nissan product.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Altima Coupe $20-30,000, Buick LaCrosse $27-34,000, Chevrolet Malibu $22-27,000, Chrysler Sebring $20-33,000, Ford Fusion $20-29,000, Honda Accord $21-32,000, Hyundai Sonata $19-27,000, Kia Optima $19-22,000, Mazda 6 $19-29,000, Mercury Milan $22-28,000, Mitsubishi Galant $22-24,000, Subaru Legacy $20-31,000, Suzuki Kizashi $19-27,000, Toyota Camry $20-29,000, Volkswagen Jetta $15-24,000, Volkswagen Passat $27,915.

Good News:

Really nice styling, good fuel economy for a sporty performer.

Bad News:

Small back seat, entry and exit is difficult as with all low profile sport cars.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 175 hp inline 4-cylinder engine, CVT automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows & locks, smart key, audio with CD player, front and side airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, traction control & stability control.

Gas Stats:

$3.09/ Gal avg. Dec 3, 2010


for more information.

23 City and 32 Highway MPG


MSRP $23,440.

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