Nissan newcomer lines up in V8s

02:13, Sep 25 2012
Nissan Altima
WELCOME ADDITION: The Nissan Altima.

We'll hear a lot more about the Nissan Altima next year when it enters our market, as its makers will promote it by racing a rear-drive version in the V8 Supercars series.

In the showroom the car will be a front-drive four-cylinder sedan positioned just below the existing Maxima.

It was recently road-tested in its staple 2.5-litre CVT form by journalists in the US, and they were not only pleased with it dynamically but especially with its fuel economy score, a remarkable 38mpg US - which is about 16 km per litre.

The engine makes 136kW/ 255Nm - enough to give the car a zero to 100kmh time of about eight seconds.

Based on Nissan's D-platform lineup, with a wheelbase of 4851mm, the Altima is so close to the current Maxima for space that many couldn't see a need to keep the six-cylinder car, save for posterity. Anyway, if push came to shove, the Altima has a V6 option available anyway. Using high- tensile steel, aluminum panels and cross-members, the Altima weighs a useful 1415kg, which writers noted is a handy 36kg lighter than the previous model.

With especially good front seats, space for four or five (Americans, mind you), the Altima appears to cater for the nuclear family pretty well.

Handling is top-shelf, said one tester and the ride quality firm but pleasantly comfortable while the electric power steering was well weighted and gave a confident feel. It was summed up as a "sedan that looks and feels like it should cost thousands more". Can't wait.

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