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2012 Nissan Altima 2.5S

The Nissan Altima is a quietly competent vehicle. There's no flashy design, no fancy dual-clutch automatic transmission, and no high-performance pretensions here. But there's also nothing really wrong with the Altima, which is why it's always near the top of the all-important mid-size-sedan sales charts.
I've consistently found Nissan's continuously variable transmissions to be well suited to torquey V-6 engines but significantly less enjoyable when paired with a modest four-cylinder. This four-cylinder Altima proves the exception to that rule. The 2.5-liter engine is powerful enough that the car can move quickly without requiring stratospheric revs. Running between 1000 and 4000 rpm keeps the engine from feeling strained or bellowing like Chewbacca while squirting through traffic. The CVT also brings the benefit of supreme powertrain smoothness -- no surprise since there aren't any gear changes. In terms of handling, ride quality, and noise, the Altima drives quite well.

However, the Nissan Altima lacks character, which I consider synonymous with a reason to buy. The majority of mid-size sedans possess the same qualifications as the Altima with more compelling reasons to own them. The Volkswagen Passat has a massive rear seat and the option for an efficient, entertaining diesel engine. The Ford Fusion is actually quite entertaining to drive with great connectivity inside. The Kia Optima is the style leader in the segment with impressive fuel economy from the base engine. All three of these boast reasons to own that are more than rational justifications. They have character that reflects the lifestyles and personalities of the people that buy them.

Traction control
Stability control
Tire pressure monitoring system
60/40 split folding rear seat
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Cruise control
Air conditioning
Rear floor vents
Keyless entry and ignition
Two 12V DC power outlets
Center console w/three cup holders and sliding armrest
Rear armrest
Dual power mirrors

2.5 S premium audio package
Bose audio w/nine speakers
4.3-inch display w/rearview camera
USB port w/iPod integration
Satellite radio
Splash guard
Convenience package

16-inch aluminum wheels
Eight-way power driver's seat
Automatic headlights
Leather-wrapped steering wheel w/audio controls


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