2010 Nissan Altima


We’re fishing around for a new car and feel that the new Nissan Altima will fit our needs. We’ve had three Nissans and were always happy with them. However, Nissan is now using push button ignition switches and smart keys. It didn’t bother us when we tried it out, but I would like the opinions of those who are more acquainted with this mechanism than we are. Also, it seems to me that way back in the '50s an auto maker came out with a model that was completely button operated. True?


Forget about buttons in the 50s. Chrysler products had them for a few years and the ill-fated Edsel as well. Those were Mechanical and subject to wear and malfunction. My sister had an RCA Whirlpool stove with push buttons instead of rotary rheostat dials. They failed miserably too and a resourceful tech replaced them with rotary dials, making the stove look like a spaceship dashboard.

Nissan’ electronics have always been relatively good, and the Altima is coming out as a good, reliable car in surveys.

My only hangup with it is the CVT transmission, which at this time, no one, not even the dealers, can fix. If it fails, they just replace it. Under warranty that’s OK, but out of warranty you’ll be out about $4000 for a replacement.

Otherwise, the Altima is a nice car!

My '63 Dodge Dart had a push-button automatic, but it was all mechanical, not electronic. There is no comparison with modern cars.

I don’t like push-button start/stop, and I hope it goes away as a result of Toyota’s problems, but until then it’s the “cool new thing,” and more and more cars have this “feature.”

You either accept it or you find a car that doesn’t have it, which is becoming harder and harder.

Good luck.

Gee–a pushbutton on/off switch. I think the Fords manufactured through 1946 had this system beat. These Fords had an on/off toggle switch. The key (which wasn’t very smart) was used to lock the switch in the off position and lock the steering column. Once you unlocked the column and the switch, you could turn the toggle switch on to energize the ignition and off to stop the engine. You did have to push a starter button to engage the starter. If you unlocked the system, you didn’t even have to carry a key. I might get interested in the Nissan Altima if it adopts the solid front axle and the transverse leaf spring like the Fords made before 1949.
On our 2003 Toyota 4Runner, one turns the ignition switch to start and releases it. The engine cranks and the starter automatically disengages when the engine fires. On our 2011 Toyota Sienna, one has to hold the key in the start position until the engine fires. Maybe Toyota didn’t think that the system on the 2003 4Runner was worth the effort.
One odd thing on the 2011 Toyota Sienna is that the transmission lever comes out of the dashboard just as it did in the 1955 Chrysler products. I can drive the Sienna and make believe that I am driving a PowerFlyte 1955 Plymouth. In 1956 Chrysler went to the pushbutton automatic transmission. I suppose Toyota will do the same thing in 2012 and my 2011 will be obsolete.

I have owned an '07 Nissan Altima since I bought it new back in December '06.
Its ignition button has worked flawlessly the whole time.

As for the one person who is safety concerned, guess what?

If you press and hold the button for several seconds, the car shuts off.

People who drive cars should learn how to operate the vehicle, and read the owners manual before they start driving the car on a regular basis. I’ve also noticed a higher percentage of people who buy Toyota’s are people who aren’t interested in the actual car, but are only concerned with it getting them from point A to point B all the time, without breaking down. They don’t want to learn anything about the car, and wouldn’t notice if someone switched cars on them, as long as it was the same color, and the radio station presets were the same.