Thursday, June 04, 2009

Not A Bad Ride

The Mazda is finally in the process of being repaired from the hail storm last March. On Monday I was tossed to keys to a 2009 Nissan Alitma 2.5S. It's a fairly basic four-cylinder model Altima, cloth interior, but all the power options. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with a manual mode. This is my first ride in this generation of Altima and I was pretty impressed.

Push button start is the latest gee-wiz feature on cars these days and it's standard on Altima. When the remote is in the car, you put your foot on the brake and press the start button and the car comes to life. It doesn't take long to get used to, but there was one time I left the engine on when I exited the car. There's a gentile chime from the exterior of the car that reminds you what you've done. You can leave the car with the remote and it will stay running.

Coming from my Mazda6 with the six-cylinder engine I was surprised when I caught myself hitting the gas and not missing the extra horsepower. The Altima held it's own in suburban traffic. I'm not a hypermiler but it was fun to shift up to sixth gear as soon as possible for the best gas mileage. Below the speedometer there is a gauge that can tell you how you are doing. It's a fun bar graph to watch as it fill up the better gas mileage you're getting at the moment.

The mid-size, four-door sedan market is pretty crowded. The Altima remains competitively priced with the standard players. Reliability is not as high as offerings from Toyota, Ford and Honda, but you won't see yourself coming and going as much in the Altima as you would the others.

Push button start and not accidentally getting into someone else's car in the parking lot are not bad virtues.

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