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2007 Nissan Altima Sedan

by Martha Hindes

2007 Nissan Altima
2007 Nissan Altima Interior

Just the name Altima suggests a high-born heritage. While not the flagship of Nissan's auto fleet (the upscale Maxima wears that crown), the all new, front-drive Altima for 2007 sets a high water mark for styling, aggressive stance and agility.

Just look at the rear haunches and sloping, almost fastback rear deck line and there's an obvious relationship with the brash Nissan Z sportscar. Five spoke sport wheels anchor it to the roadway before the Altima takes off for an exhilarating lap or two around local express roads. (Anything less undoubtedly would seem too tame.)

Performance is indigenous to this fourth generation version of Nissan's staple midsize sedan on a wholly new platform for a more rigid, more agile vehicle. It took a bit of brass to bypass more traditional sedan styling in favor of an in-your-face design. But that's the direction Nissan has been taking in recent years as it reintroduces the notion that sedan owners, along with other drivers, "just wanna have fun."

Altima doesn't simply wear the designation of power and performance. It proves it with a high performance 3.5-liter, 270-horsepower V6 and more fuel efficient 2.5-liter inline four that produces 175-horsepower. Both come with either a six-speed "narrow gate" performance-oriented manual, or advanced Xtronic CVT (continuous variable transmission) for smoothness and fuel efficiency. The car's sport mode and clutchless manual override accommodate during those times one might want to play.

Side curtain and front side impact airbags and active head restraints are standard safety equipment. A rear view monitor for backups is an option. Among upscale amenities are available Intelligent Key, touch screen navigation with voice recognition and dual zone comfort control, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Nissan is one of the few auto makers to offer a choice of XM or SIRIUS satellite radio as part of its audio system.

There are six versions on the Altima (plus a hybrid electric version), with prices ranging from $17,950 (plus $625 destination charge) for the entry level 2.5 with a manual transmission to the $30,000 range for a top-line near luxury sedan. Best non-hybrid mileage is 26/35 (manual four cylinder).