The 1963 Beach Boys hit was the b-side single opposite “Surfer Girl”, and was about a b-car, the 1932 Ford model B. “Deuce” in the song title was a result of the last digit in that model year, and the Nissan I drove last week was another “deuce coupe”, the 2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2 door. A lot of things have changed in eighty years, and as an example, “pink slip” in the lyrics of that song meant the title to the souped up Ford. In today’s jobless recovery a “pink slip” would refer to the termination notice that might be found in one’s pay envelope. “Little Deuce Coupe”, “409”, “Shut Down”, “This Car of Mine”, and “Fun, Fun, Fun” were examples of Beach Boy car hits of the 60’s, and like my kids, I loved them all.
I grew rather fond of the Altima in our time spent together, as well. The Ford back then cost $490.00, so in inflation adjusted dollars, the Altima may be a little pricey ($32,165.00), but then again it’s pretty loaded with equipment not even dreamed of in 1932. The M.S.R.P. included a base of $30,700, floor and trunk mats, and a rear spoiler. The SR is the top line Altima with bolstered charcoal leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Bose stereo, USB port, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, moonroof, universal garage door opener, and xenon headlights. Also included is, of course, power windows and locks, tilt/telescope steering column, a smallish leather wrapped steering wheel with lots of controls on it, pushbutton starting, real “hand” brake, keyless entry, and an excellent cruise control. Back seat room is designed for three people, but by the looks of it back there, I think the less entrants the better. It is, after all, a coupe.
Under the hood is a DOHC, 24 valve, 270 horsepower V6 with 258 lbs. ft. of torque. It provides plenty of snap through a close ratio 6 speed manual transmission (a coupe exclusive) and front-wheel-drive configuration. It’s fun to drive and provides fuel economy ratings of 18/city and 27/highway (my observance – 21.1). I set sail for Cherry Creek mall in the “Red Alert” Altima and noticed a lot of attention being paid to me at stoplights in LaSalle, Platteville, and Brighton. The styling of the car includes a re-designed chrome grill and foglights up front with a Maxima look, 18” ten spoke alloy wheels, and dual tip exhausts at the rear. Ride is compliant, but firm, and as mentioned earlier, acceleration is fine (reportedly zero to sixty in 5.5 seconds).
The main competition for the Altima is the Honda Accord coupe with similar size, horsepower, and dimensions. As I understand it, the Altima comes out on top relative to sportiness and handling. I would certainly rate it as a top pick in this particular category.