2008 Nissan Altima

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2008 Nissan Altima Review

By KBB.com Editors

The Altima has become a real bread-and-butter vehicle for Nissan so, when product planners looked for ways to expand the model line-up, they looked to the popular sedan for inspiration. With the hood the only shared body panel, the affordable Altima Coupe manages to look unmistakably Altima from the front and yet undeniably sporty-two-door from the back, thanks to a distinctive angular rear design that some will certainly love - and may be a deal breaker for others. Offering more horsepower and torque than the Toyota Solara and Honda Accord Coupe, the Altima Coupe definitely has a leg up on its competition but may find a new challenger in the redesigned Accord Coupe.

You'll Like This Car If...

With two doors and a much sportier feel than the sedan, the Altima Coupe is a boldly-styled vehicle for those who want to get noticed. The reasonable price certainly doesn't hurt, either.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you commonly drive with more than one passenger and need a large trunk, the Altima Coupe may not suit your needs, even with a 60/40 flat-folding rear seat.

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Altima Coupe is a new addition to the Nissan line-up, sharing few parts with its sedan relative. Priced less than a 350Z, the coupe allows more budget-minded buyers to still get a sporty and distinctive-looking car within the Nissan family.

Driving the Altima
Driving Impressions

With a shorter wheelbase, lighter overall weight, sportier suspension and body-hugging seats, the Altima Coupe feels responsive, yet comfortable enough to drive in everyday traffic. The speed-sensitive power steering adjusts...

... nicely to driving conditions to accommodate both low and high speeds, making steering fairly effortless both on freeways and in parking lots. While the manual transmission is the less-expensive and more fuel-efficient choice, the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) provides a more controlled and smoother drivability, something passengers may appreciate. Overall, the 3.5SE with V6 handles perceptively better than the four-cylinder 2.5S, thanks to traction control, a sportier suspension and larger tires.

Optional RearView Monitor
Since the rear of the Altima Coupe has two blind spots that make driving in reverse and changing lanes slightly awkward, this feature makes backing out of a parking space a little easier.

XM NavTraffic
This option allows drivers to see real-time information regarding traffic conditions on the navigation screen. On a long trip, the system can even reveal conditions ahead, so a driver can make decisions early about possible alternate routes.

2008 Nissan Altima Details
2008 Nissan Altima photo Interior

The front bucket seats are unique to the Altima Coupe, adding body-hugging support padding and giving the interior a more sports car-like feel. Pouches on the lower fronts of the seats also add some additional storage spaces. The dash and instrument panel illuminate in a warm amber color and have a similar layout to that in the Altima Sedan. The trunk is wide and rather shallow; it can, however, be enlarged by folding the 60/40 rear seat down and extending items into the cabin if needed. Head- and legroom, as with any coupe, are not particularly abundant in the rear seat, but the front bucket seats should comfortably accommodate even those with longer legs.

2008 Nissan Altima photo

The Altima Coupe may share a platform and hood with the Altima Sedan, but with a shorter wheelbase, slightly lower roof, short front and rear overhangs and larger tires, it looks much more aggressive and certainly sportier than its four-door relative. The side windows have been elongated, with the rear side windows becoming porthole-like. The back end is by far the most distinctive and angular part of the vehicle, and it may prove to be the feature that people either love or hate, with a low, sloping rear window flanked by wrap-around diamond-like tail lights. The V6 adds wrap-around turn signal repeaters and larger wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe 2.5S has keyless entry, push-button ignition, air conditioning, cruise control buttons mounted on the steering wheel and an AM/FM six-disc stereo with auxiliary audio input. The 3.5SE adds a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, a power sliding moonroof with sunshade, traction control, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat and heated side-view mirrors with integrated turn signals. Both models also have six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), seat belt sensors, front-seat active head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system and a 60/40 fold-flat rear seat to aid in carrying longer items in the trunk.

Optional Equipment

Options include XM Satellite Radio, a Bose FM/AM six-CD player with nine speakers, speed sensitive volume, a HomeLink Universal Transceiver and Bluetooth. Other options of note are the 6.5-inch touch-screen Nissan Navigation System with real-time traffic information and a rearview monitor that helps drivers deal with blind spots to the rear. Leather seating, an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and Vehicle Dynamic Control are also available.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Altima Coupe shares its two engines and transmissions with the sedan, offering a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6 paired with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The Coupe's four-cylinder with an automatic transmission offers mileage similar to that of the V6 with a manual or automatic transmission, so those concerned about ultimate fuel economy should think about getting the four-cylinder with manual transmission. An available Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) offers smooth gearshifts and gives the driver the option of manually shifting. Those choosing the V6 automatic will get a "sport" function that offers faster shifting by electronically taking into consideration the driver's perceived intentions.

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. torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)

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