Test Drive: Nissan Altima 2.5 S Sedan

?Nissan?s 2012 Altima Sedan: Three models ? two engines?

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Nissan?s Altima sedan enters the sixth year of its fourth generation design. Still available in three well-equipped models that are intended to appeal to a broad range of consumer requirements and budgets: first up are the 2.5 CVT and 2.5 S CVT, powered by a 2.5-liter, 175 horsepower inline four-cylinder engine; followed by the 3.5 SR CVT, which draws it motive force from a standard 3.5-liter, 270 horsepower V6 engine.

2012 enhancements will include a new Value Package along with the continuation of last year?s Special Edition Package, both offered with the Altima Sedan 2.5 S. A Dark Slate metallic exterior finish will replace the previous Metallic Slate.

The Altima was designed with the goal of becoming the best-performing front-wheel drive sedan on a global basis and is built on Nissan?s advanced ?D? platform and continues with it?s ?dynamic simplicity? styling, featuring an aggressive stance, distinctive Nissan ?T-shaped? grille, powerful front fenders, strong wedge character line, forward A-pillars and Nissan-family roofline. The overall design displays short front and rear overhangs on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 190.7-inches.

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The interior sports a driver-oriented cockpit with refined workmanship; attractive appearance and occupant comfort, utilizing soft materials, such as padded armrests, accented with stylish chrome trim elements. Altima?s interior is enhanced with an available Premium Audio Package that includes a Bose? AM/FM audio system with nine speakers, 4.3-inch color display, USB port with iPod? connectivity, Bluetooth? Hands-free Phone System, MP3/WMA CD-ROM playback and XM? Satellite Radio (subscription required, sold separately).

Also offered is an advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with 6.5-inch VGA color display (replaces the 4.3-inch display), advanced map data including speed limit advisories, Zagat Survey? restaurant guide, XM NavTraffic? and XM NavWeather? (XM? subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth? Streaming Audio, DVD player and an RCA input for auxiliary audio/video connectivity.

Despite the fact that the Altima sedan is rated as a mid-size sedan by the EPA, it seems like a much larger vehicle ? actually more on the order of what the?earlier Maxima used to be, delivering the appearance, quality, driving performance and available features of a larger and more expensive sedan.

My test Nissan Altima S Sedan was powered by the 2.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder with electronic sequential multi-point fuel injection system?with the Xtronic CVT transmission, and featured a Brilliant Silver metallic exterior finish and a Charcoal-toned interior. The base price was set at $22,570 while the extras, which included: a floor and trunk mat set; splash guards; aluminum kickplates; the Convenience and Convenience Plus Packages and Destination charges elevated the final total to $26,320.

SUMMARY: ?The 2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 S is a practical and desirable four-door passenger sedan with an impressive array of features and equipment that come as standard in a value-laden vehicle. It is nicely executed in an attractive package that handles well, rides nicely, and is reasonably economical to operate, delivering 23-mpg city and 32-mpg highway according to EPA estimates.

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Acceleration is delivered in ample doses and gear changes are smooth (technically, there are none) with the CVT. Handling actually leans to the sporty side of the scale, and comfort and interior ambience are quite pleasing, even though the engine tends to be a little on the ?buzzy? side when prodded in a spirited manner. Consumers have the opportunity to acquire an Altima, keeping it within their budget range by selecting the appropriate engine, transmission and options to properly fill their requirements. The Altima is assembled at Nissan?s North America Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi manufacturing plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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