2009 Nissan Altima Coupe

12/25/08
Dear Altima,

Last week I was quite harsh, essentially calling you out as a weak, overpriced poseur. Well, I had a chance to push you today on dry, completely empty roads (the best part of Christmas for a Jewish person, aside from the Chinese food), and while I don't retract any of my statements, I am willing to look at you with a bit more of a glass-half-full attitude.

Yes, your VQ engine is dated and noisy, but it rises to the challenge when the rpms rise, providing power in second gear that no other mid-size sedan can match. Your manual transmission isn't as good as what I'd find in an Accord coupe, but at least you offer one - that's a growing rarity in the segment (save the aforementioned Accord). And, as I said before, you are beautiful.

For next Christmas, tell Nissan engineers you want stiffer front struts; wider, stickier front tires; and a thicker rear antiroll bar. That should largely cure your annoying axle hop and torque steer, and it might make you less likely to plow nose-first through fast turns. You still won't be the stripped-down G37 your exterior promises, but you'll be able to shock the hell out of some Mustangs.

I'll look forward to that.

Sincerely,

David

P.S. What are your plans for Easter?

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