2010 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5 SR

Matt Tierney

Yes, the latest Volkswagen GTI is indeed a good benchmark for budget performance cars, but each time I look at the Altima Coupe -- and its $30,000-something price tag -- I'm prompted to cross-shop Nissan's own portfolio. For virtually the same amount of money, I can pick up a 2011 370Z -- a car that looks just as good, provides just as much power, handles delectably, and still manages to excite the boy racer inside. This looks like a no-brainer, right?

Perhaps so -- unless you have a need for more than two seats. There are buyers who would like a sporty GT that still offers a usable back seat for kids, groceries, and other cargo. In this regards, the Altima Coupe and Honda's two-door Accord are the only true contenders (unless you lump the V-6-powered muscle cars from Ford, Dodge, and Chevy into the mix).

Of those two, the Nissan appeals to the driver with a little more power, sharper handling, and grabby brakes, but the Honda wins the family-friendly title with a bigger trunk, a larger rear seat, and thanks to a less rakish roofline, much more headroom for those relegated to the second row of seats.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

I'm with Joe and Amy...........and will look elsewhere..........
@MusicCityMadman - Since it isn't possible to get the manual transmission without the two equipment packages, discussing the pricing of the transmission by itself isn't really possible.
I never respect nissan engineering! I have driven the G35 and thats the worse 6-speed I have driven.
Sloppy journalism. Spending two minutes on Nissan's website reveals that the 6MT comes standard with two packages that cost about $3400 on the CVT. So if you get the same car for $2400 more than the other base, but you get $3400 worth of options, how much have you paid for the manual transmission......... -$1000. Disclaimer: I do not work for Nissan, I do not drive a Nissan and I agree with all the comments that you can do a lot better than this car for same or less money.

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