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2008 Nissan Altima

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2008 Nissan Altima Review

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Totally redone for 2007, Nissan's mid-size Altima is even closer to the marque's flagship Maxima in size and character. Spun from Nissan/Renault's robust D-Platform architecture, this stylish front-drive four-door continues as the volume leader in the division's lineup, having been joined by a gasoline-electric Hybrid variant as well as a new-for-2008 Coupe model (each reviewed separately). Even in conventional form, the Altima sedan covers a lot of competitive ground, offering four trim levels, both four- and six-cylinder power and the choice of a six-speed manual or Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). That wide selection helps it face off against the current best-seller, Toyota's popular Camry, as well as the Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord -- both all-new for 2008 and both formidable foes in one of America's toughest market segments.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Altima's breadth of powertrain and packaging choices opens the door for lots of comparatively affordable variations on the theme that can meet and exceed the needs of all manner of mid-size sedan buyers -- whether they're seeking basic transportation or want something with a more sporting character.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Anyone who regularly plans to carry adults in the rear seat will find the Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry all offer a bit more usable "stretch space" in the aft quarters than the slightly smaller Altima package.

What's New for 2008

The key Altima enhancement for 2008 is anti-lock brakes becoming standard across the entire line. Also new to the mix are splash guards, a diversity antenna and the availability of XM Satellite Radio as a factory-installed option.

Driving the Altima
Driving Impressions

An extremely rigid body structure serves as a great foundation for all Altima models. Even with their smaller wheel-and-tire packages, the four-cylinder variants have a semi-sporty feel, and things get...

... more overtly engaging when you step up to an SE V6 variant. While not quite as dynamically sophisticated as the new Accord, the Altima's suspension soaks up minor road imperfections while delivering a comfortable and well-controlled ride over most surfaces. The four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are competent and consistent stoppers. Both the 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL also offer the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) group that adds both driver-selectable stability and traction controls to deliver an extra measure of confidence.

Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Standard on the 3.5 SL and available on all but the base Altima 2.5, the Xtronic is Nissan's third-generation CVT. This computer-controlled stepless shifter helps improve performance, economy and emissions. In "Sport" mode, it even creates six "virtual" gears that closely approximate the response of a conventional manual gearbox.

Optional 2.5 SL Package
This fashionable extras group gives buyers who want a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder Altima 2.5 S virtually all of the main upscale trappings of a 3.5 SL, adding leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, a moonroof, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, HomeLink universal garage-door opener and numerous lesser luxury touches.

2008 Nissan Altima Details
Interior

The Altima's airy cabin has a contemporary appearance supported by nicely textured plastic, lots of stow space and numerous soft-touch surfaces that contribute to its welcoming character. White-on-black main gauges are easy to read, the ancillary controls and center-stack switchgear is logically arrayed and the Altima's generous glass area provides the driver with good sightlines to the outside world. The front buckets, although comfortable, could use a bit more lateral support. Even though the Altima skews to the smaller side of the official EPA "mid-size" category, its 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat can still accommodate two average adults or three kids while enhancing the flexibility and utility of its 15.3 cubic feet of trunk capacity.

Exterior
2008 Nissan Altima photo

Even a quick glance shows that the Altima is rich in Nissan family cues, most notably in its grille, headlamp and taillamp treatments. However, the lines and contours of its crisply rendered sheetmetal display a bit more aggressive edge than you'll find in the Sentra or Maxima. A well-defined shoulder ridge complements bold flaring on fenderwells that house 16-inch 215/60 tires on steel wheels on 2.5 and 2.5 S models and 215/55 rubber on 17-inch cast-alloy wheels on 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL versions. Only six-cylinder Altimas offer front fog lamps, which are standard issue on SL models but optional on SEs.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the low-volume, special-order Altima 2.5 base model (available only with a manual transmission) includes anti-lock brakes, power locks and "Intelligent Key" push button start/stop. The 2.5 S, which accounts for the majority of all Altima sales, adds air conditioning, an audio system with CD player and offers the luxury-oriented SL Package as an option. In addition to V6 power, the 3.5 SE appeals to enthusiasts with a sport-tuned suspension, six-speed manual transmission and performance tires, while the 3.5 SL has leather, a Bose audio system, automatic up/down passenger's front window and standard CVT automatic. All Altimas have front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

An impressive array of upgrade packages are offered for all but the base 2.5. Even the 2.5 S can be outfitted with leather upholstery, a dual-zone climate control system, power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, premium Bose audio system, XM Satellite Radio, rearview camera and lots more. The V6 3.5 SE and SL step it up further with dedicated packages of their own, netting all of the above plus Vehicle Dynamics Control (stability and traction control systems and a full-size spare tire). Adding the Premium Package to a 3.5 SE brings virtually all of the 3.5 SL's luxury touches, as well as xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps.

Under the Hood

Conventional Altima sedans offer the choice of an inline-4 or a V6. Both engines are made from lightweight aluminum, have four valves per cylinder and use continuously-variable valve timing to improve response and efficiency across their entire operating ranges. The 2.5-liter four (2.5 and 2.5 S) develops a solid 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque while the 3.5-liter V6 (3.5 SE and 3.5 SL) raises those figures to 270 and 258, respectively. Both can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox (2.5/2.5 S/3.5 SE) or Nissan's Xtronic CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission), which is optional on the 2.5S and 3.5 SE but standard on the 3.5 SL.


2.5-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
180 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 (manual), 23/31 (automatic)

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)

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2008 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 1049 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Hybrid technology works!

By on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,535

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Easy driver, great economy 29-32 MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car has required new tires, brakes all around, new engine battery, Serpentine belt, fluids changed, new wipers and dealer safety check. Total out of pocket over 9 years is about $433.00/yr. Not bad for a family and commute car. I would do it again."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Silver Bullet

By on Thursday, April 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great gas mileage, leather"

Cons: "I can't think of any...."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this car 4 years ago to save on gas as I commuted 140 miles a day. My commute was a "set it and forget it" commute - I set my cruise control at 74 mph and didn't have to touch the brakes until I arrived at my exit....so, all the miles are highway, easy miles. I have consistently had the car serviced and don't drive it near enough now....I work from home and have not commuted for the last 10 months. I am looking to purchase a SUV and either trade my car or sell it. My silver bullet has been fun to drive - it has many bells/whistles for comfort and entertainment."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is the first car that I purchased from a dealer. I love it! It's sleek and gets great mileage. I drive 15 miles one way to work every day and it gets over 500 miles to the tank. When i trade in I'll def look at the newer Altima models."

13 people out of 22 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Monday, January 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, reliable, comfortable, stylish"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this car for the past 4 years and bought it from my parents who drove it off the lot. I love it. It has been a reliable car, no major issues or concerns. I am just starting to have to change brakes and some of the other more expensive but basically maintenance stuff. I had to replace a weird switch for the push button start a couple of years ago, but it wasn't expensive or difficult. It is a very comfortable and stylish car that still looks as good as new. It has aged really well already. I'm looking forward to how well it does for the next 100k miles."

9 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle I've Owned

By on Friday, January 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable"

Cons: "4 cylinder....should have got V6"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned a chevy cavalier and Mazda 6. I purchased this car new in Nov. 2010. I've have never had an issue with this car."

12 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Solid midsize sedan

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Quiet, smooth, solid handling, reliable, fuel econ"

Cons: "Rear leg room, CVT refinement, passenger seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Top trim level 2.5SL with leather & Bose stereo. Quiet, smooth ride. Sharp handling for its class. Excellent factory stereo. Large trunk. Folding rear seatback. Very comfortable driver's seat with multiple power adjustments, BUT passenger front seat not adjustable (only fore-aft/seatback tilt. CVT calibrated for max fuel efficiency so can 'lug' a bit at times. Outstanding mileage for this much room (actual ave 24-27mpg city/suburban,33-35mpg highway @ 70-75mph). 100% reliable with nothing but routine maintenance."

7 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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