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#12

in 2010 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,663 - $17,019
Original MSRP: $19,900 - $30,100
MPG: 23 City / 32 Hwy
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2010 Nissan Altima Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Nissan has upgraded the materials it uses to line the Altima’s cabin for 2010. New fabrics give an air of higher quality, correcting a flaw that had led to some criticism in recent years. Reviewers like the easy-to-read gauges and controls. But some hard plastics on the dash feel cheap for a car in this price range. 

Reviewers are impressed with the quality of the electronics Nissan offers in the Altima, but not with their extra cost. Most features are available only in options packages that drive up the car’s price.

  • "The biggest improvements are inside, where revised fabrics and materials give the look and feel of quality. And the old gauges, which had orange markings and were not especially easy to read, have been replaced by new ones with white lettering." -- Road and Track
  • “Changes to the Altima's interior are subtle for 2010. The cabin feels more somber since Nissan has removed the aluminum-like trim on the steering wheel, which now blends into the predominantly dark surfaces that surround it." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Altima's interior ambiance isn't quite as rich as its use of soft-touch, textured materials would lead you to believe. The use of budget-grade plastics in the center console area is also a disappointment. It's still pleasant inside, though." -- Consumer Guide

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Seating

Altima sedans and coupes have different seats. The front seats of the sedan are typical for their class, and earn few reviewer comments. The rear seats of sedan models offer dimensions slightly smaller than those found in a Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry, but reviewers say they are adequate for adults, and car seat installation is a simple affair.

Altima coupes feature more supportive sport seats up front, which hold the driver and passenger in place during the more aggressive maneuvers the coupe seems to encourage. Its rear seats are not truly usable for adults on a regular basis, or for long trips. Headroom is a particular problem. And while there are seatbelts for three in the back, the center “seat” is a raised area unlikely to be supportive enough for most passengers. The same can be said, however, of the Honda Accord Coupe. Buyers who need to use their back seat frequently may need all four doors.

  • "Good overall headroom and legroom, though six-footers may want more seat travel. Seats have very good thigh and lumbar support, though some testers complain that the seats lack a supportive contour. The steering wheel tilts and is telescopic to aid in driver positioning." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Seats are good. Squirming space is adequate." -- USA Today
  • "Roomy on the inside. I was able to install and uninstall my son's rear-facing car seat easily enough in the backseat with space left over for two moderately sized adults (OK, maybe one should be on the small side)." -- Mother Proof
  • "With two adults in the front, the [coupe] is very comfortable. Put those same adults in the back and there is bound to be a fight. The space is very limited back there, with headroom lacking because of that sloping roof line." -- Detroit News

Interior Features

The 2010 Altima is available with all of the cabin technology buyers could hope to find, including an upscale audio system and a hard-drive based navigation system, with live traffic and weather reports, that reviewers often praise.

Those features, however, are offered only in expensive options packages. The Altima’s base price is low, but a well-equipped Altima is considerably more expensive -- and Nissan’s option structure makes it impossible to order an Altima that slots between the two extremes. Buyers interested in a midsize car with a few specific options, but not one that almost imitates an upscale midsize car in features and price, may need to look to manufacturers that sell options a la carte, like Toyota does with its Camry.

  • “Large and legible gauges. Audio and climate controls are simple to operate in models without the available navigation system. The navigation system isn't easy to program, and it absorbs and complicates audio functions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 4.3-inch color display with the Premium Audio package doesn't offer the color intensity of some systems. However the 6.5-inch VGA screen offers one of the better interfaces we've experienced, with intuitive switching between navigation, satellite radio, and Bluetooth functions.” -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Both the coupe and sedan come with a long list of available luxury and technology features, but they are put into large, expensive packages that often must be lumped together with other packages. ... If you want to keep the price low, we'd normally suggest going light on options, but unfortunately, Nissan makes it just about impossible to do this. It's like going to a salad bar and being offered a choice of either dry lettuce or a 4-gallon bucket of Ranch." -- Edmunds

Cargo

The trunk of the Altima sedan offers 15.3 cubic feet of storage space -- a typical measurement among family sedans. That space can be expanded by folding the 60/40 split rear seats, but reviewers complain that folding them is a difficult process -- a complaint we don’t often see.

The Altima Coupe offers a much smaller trunk, measuring just 8.2 cubic feet. Even for a coupe, that’s small. The Honda Accord Coupe, for instance, has 11.9 cubic feet of trunk space.

  • “The sedan's trunk is generously sized and shaped. Lid hinges intrude deeply into the cargo area. Low liftover eases the loading of bulky items, though the split rear seatbacks on conventional models don't fold completely. Coupes have non-intrusive strut-style hinges, but the trunk is small, narrow, and shallow. Interior storage is only average." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The interior glove compartment, cupholders and middle console also had enough room for me and my traveling circus, and the trunk fit our bigger contraptions pretty easily." -- Mother Proof

Next Steps: 2010 Nissan Altima

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