Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Sedan

While reviewing the Altima Coupe, I joked that, while the Sedan may be a nice kid, the Altima Coupe would always be the favorite child. Now, after a few days in the sedan, I realize I may have spoken a bit too soon.

Nissan Altima Coupe

With an entry price of just $19,000 (or up to $30,000 with all the features added), the Altima offers itself to a very wide range of buyers, and provides excellent value to all of them. The comfortable seats, well placed interior, spacious cockpit are all high-above most competitors. I personally found the interior to be among the best Nissan has ever designed. It was very well thought out, and incredibly functional while maintaining a level of comfort and everyday usability that I hope every car strives for. Continue reading Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Sedan

Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe

The family-friendly four-door is often the forgotten sibling in households that also offer a two-seater sports coupe, and in the case of the Altima Coupe, it’s easy to see why. While technically looking related to it’s slightly larger, and more door-endowed brother, the Altima Coupe got all the looks in all the right places. The grill, the wheels, the sleek rear window, even slightly adjusted headlamps tell a story of mischief and trouble that the older, more mature four-door just doesn’t seem to know about. And I’m sure as the proud parent of the sedan, the coupe would always be the favorite child.

Nissan Altima Coupe

Driving the Altima was as rewarding an experience as I’ve had in a while. It was comfortable, thanks to nicely bolstered seats and comfortable leather. It was quiet on the highway. It was tight and agile in the corners. It was snappy and ready to go in the throttle. And starting around $21,000 (and delivering 175 hp), this was quite a car with quite an appeal for anyone willing to live with two doors. If you bump that dollar amount to the $26,000 range and get yourself a 3.5 SE, you’ll be negotiating and extra 95 horsepower, taking the total to 270. $5000 for extra luxuries and almost 100 horsepower can only be described as a win-win. Continue reading Review: 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe

Review: 2007 Nissan Versa 1.8 S Sedan

When I was told what my car would be this week, my response was “a Nissan What?” I’ll be honest. I hadn’t heard of the Versa, and when asked by my friends what I was driving, they responded the same. It’s a quiet, unassuming car that asks for very little attention. It’s easily overlooked in parking lots, and pretty much forgettable in appearance.

However, I wish I could say the same about it’s driving. I think I’ll remember this car for long after, as a benchmark to judge miserable, long-term driving by. Many have touted it’s low-price and perceived offering of extras; tilt-steering, A/C, CD stereo, and… um. I guess that’s it (I had the base model at $14,105). And around town, this car was great. I can easily see the target market, young, first time buyers, skipping around town on their short commutes loving this car. It’s new, it’s theirs, and it isn’t enslaving them to poverty.

–Nasty Alert! In the following section, I let out a little steam over this car, and address one of the biggest gripes I’ve ever had with a test drive. Please forgive me for being a bit harsh.–

I had the inconvenience of driving it 250 miles to see my wife’s family over Easter, and after about 30 minutes on the freeway, my right leg was already cramping. The gas is unbelievably touchy thanks to 95% of the throttle being in the top inch of the pedal, with the left-over being pretty much useless. While trying to maintain an even speed of 70 mph, my legs were constantly flexed to hold the exact same position. Move your foot 1/4 of a centimeter up, and you quickly drop 8 mph, shift your weight in your shoulders and let your foot slip down a hair, and you speed up past 80. None of this happens immediately, as it’s not a powerful car, but while trying to maintain a nice and steady speed, it was quickly deemed impossible. And I would have quickly given all the other luxuries for cruise control in a second. I’ve heard of this phenomenon before, in Hyundais who purposely adjust the pedal explicitly for the test drive. Driver gets in, pushes down a touch while pulling out of the parking lot, and the car screams off. “Wow, this has a lot of pep…” the driver must think. Well, it doesn’t. It’s just that touching the gas in these cars is the equivalent of flooring it. There is no “soft-touch” on these pedals, and all communication with the throttle is jerky and annoying, never more apparent than at freeway speeds when trying to maintain a constant speed. In my mind, this is absolutely unacceptable, and I wish more people knew about this. That the industry is sacrificing long-term value and driver experience for deceit.

With that said, and that issue behind us, the rest of the car was a decent value. It isn’t the cheapest on the market, but it provides a solid vehicle for first-time owners and well-behaved high-school students alike. it’s simple, it’s not going to get anyone in trouble for drag racing, and it has enough room to hall all your friends about town. If Nissan can address the gas pedal, I’d have no problem giving this to my son when he turns 16 (approx. 19 years from now).

Review: 2007 Nissan Armada

The word Armada immediately makes me think of maritime warfare, with the Spanish Armada leading the charge. All-in-all, it’s not a bad metaphor for an SUV so big it easily holds a fleet of adults with room to spare. However, there in lies the problem. This vehicle is so big that it’s closer to compare it to the Post-Panamax vessels, which are too big to fit through the Panama Canal, and are one of the causes of the recently approved Canal expansion. In a word, this thing is big. Really big.

2007 Nissan Armada
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