2011 Nissan Altima Coupe 2.5 S

I never cease to be amazed by how quickly the options add up on a Monroney. This Altima felt to me like a relatively sparsely equipped model, with its cloth seats, four-cylinder engine, and lack of navigation. The only readily apparent option was the CVT automatic, which I'd skip. In this form, the Altima coupe isn't a bad choice, with styling cool enough to drive on a date, decent steering and handling, and Japanese reliability all for less than $24,000.

And yet now I look at the price sheet and see that this car has another $5000 worth of options; among the extra-cost items are a the Bose stereo and the sunroof. And in keeping with the Japanese philosophy on options, everything is bundled such that you can't get Bluetooth and an iPod connector, for instance, without also adding a sunroof, backup camera, and automatic transmission. Suddenly, we're talking about enough money to buy a very handsomely equipped Volkswagen GTI, Chevrolet Camaro, or Hyundai Genesis coupe, all cars with the performance to back up their looks.
- David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

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Back in the 90s I owned 2 Nissan 240SX's. The 1991 hatch was my favorite but by the time I was ready for the next one in 1996 all you could get was a coupe. Well, both cars were a joy to drive, handled great with their REARWHEEL drive independent rear suspensions and the 155 hp 4 cylinder was cool also. The fuel mileage was 20 plus in town and 26 or so on the interstate. Why then all these pansy secretary cars like this Altima? It seems to me that an AFFORDABLE, red blooded male edition could be built and sold profitably off the old 240 platform. The 370 is out of most folks price range anyway. By the way. My next car after the 96 240 was my first and last VW. A GTI VR6. Nice car but reliability sucked after 73k miles.

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