2008 Nissan Altima

The Altim-ate Driving Vehicle

The 2008 Nissan Altima combines performance and good looks to deliver the ultimate driving experience.

Whether you opt for the four-door sedan or the two-door coupe, the 2008 Nissan Altima is a top pick if you’re looking for a vehicle that’s both versatile and attractive. Boasting a long list of luxury and technology features proves the Altima isn’t just basic transportation.

The sedan is available in four trims: 2.5 (customer order only), 2.5S, 3.5SE and 3.5SL. The base 2.5 comes with 16-inch wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, a split/folding rear seat and tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The 2.5S adds antilock brakes, air conditioning, a CD player and MP3 input jack, trip computer and intermittent wipers.

The 3.5SE comes with a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, power-folding heated sideview mirrors with integral turn signals, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, wood-tone accents and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The 3.5SL is pure luxury with leather seating, a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 16-inch alloy wheels, xenon HID headlights and Bose audio with CD changer and choice of satellite radio providers.

The coupe is available in 2.5S and 3.5SE trims that offer the same features as the sedan version. Both the sedan and coupe have front seats that offer a vast range of adjustment, providing an excellent balance of comfort and support. Notably, all coupes come with antilock brakes and sporty bucket seats.

The Premium Package for the coupe models and 3.5SE sedan includes all the additional features of the 3.5SL sedan. The Technology Package is available on all but the base Altima sedan, bundling a navigation system with real-time traffic and a rearview monitor on models equipped with the Premium Package.

The Nissan sedan measures 189.8 inches long, 57.9 inches high and 70.7 inches wide. Taking an aggressive edge, the sedan features flared fenders and sculpted headlights that resemble the Nissan 350Z sportscar. Its grille includes what Nissan calls a “T” shape. The rear of the Altima boasts jeweled taillights.

The coupe resembles the Altima sedan from the front, thanks to the same hood, but exudes the sporty two-door feel from the back. It has a shorter wheelbase, slightly lower roof, short front and rear overhangs and larger tires. Side windows are elongated with porthole-like rear windows.

Looks aside, both the sedan and the coupe share the same two engines and transmissions: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6 paired with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter churns out 175 hp and 180 lb/ft of torque while the 3.5 produces 270 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. Edmunds.com noted that the Altima´s continuously variable transmission (CVT) does an “excellent job of maximizing each engine´s power while responding rapidly to throttle inputs.” The sedan´s 2.5 trims get an impressive EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway and the coupe has similar mileage.

2008 Nissan Altima On the road, the sporty suspension tuning gives drivers a comfortable ride. Both the four-cylinder and the V6 models give a strong performance. Kelly Blue Book writers agree that the Altima is a “great ride and fun to drive.”

Standard on every 2008 Nissan Altima are front-seat side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. With the exception of the base 2.5, antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution are standard across the line. The 3.5 trims have standard traction control and optional stability control. The Altima sedan received the top five-star rating for its protection of front occupants in frontal and side impacts in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests.

The Altima appeals to a spectrum of budgets – from an MSRP just under $19,000 for a base 2.5, to $29,000 for the luxury-packed 3.5SL. The 2.5S starts around $21,000 with a manual transmission and is about $500 more with a CVT. The 2008 Altima 2.5S coupe starts at $21,000 and the 3.5SE V6 is close to $26,000. Fully loaded, the 2.5SE with an automatic transmission is near $32,000.

Two-door or four-door, the 2008 Nissan Altima gives the excitement that you want to kick up your driving experience. Get ready for the ultimate ride.