2008 Nissan Altima Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Altima

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Altima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Nissan Altima

  • Thanks to its dashing style, entertaining driving dynamics and welcoming interior, the 2008 Nissan Altima is one of our top picks for a sporting family sedan or midsize coupe.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong engine performance, smooth and responsive continuously variable transmission (CVT), quick steering, good-looking cabin with quality materials, coupe's sporty styling.

  • Cons

    Stability control not available on four-cylinder models, mediocre backseat comfort, Nissan's annoying structure of options packages.

  • What's New for 2008

    An all-new coupe model joins the 2008 Nissan Altima lineup. It features the same set of powerful engines and impressive transmissions but offers unique exterior styling, sportier suspension tuning and slightly smaller proportions.

Full 2008 Nissan Altima Review

What's New for 2008

An all-new coupe model joins the 2008 Nissan Altima lineup. It features the same set of powerful engines and impressive transmissions but offers unique exterior styling, sportier suspension tuning and slightly smaller proportions.

Introduction

Ever since its 2002 revival, the Nissan Altima has been a very popular choice for consumers interested in a sport-oriented family sedan. In particular, the previous-generation car was known for its athletic handling and performance. Unfortunately, it was also known for its low-buck interior and excessive road noise.

When Nissan redesigned the Altima sedan last year, it focused on keeping the car's sporting credentials intact while simultaneously addressing its faults. The new Altima's significant dynamic and interior improvements contributed to a powerful five-seater that provided plenty of comfort and driving excitement for those looking for a lot more than basic transportation.

The 2008 Nissan Altima adds to this pedigree with an all-new coupe model. More than just a regular Altima with a pair of doors lopped off, it's very close to being a junior Infiniti G37, in both appearance and performance. The two-door features unique body panels (it shares only the hood), a shorter wheelbase and overall length, and a revised suspension for even sportier handling.

Both the coupe and sedan come with a long list of available luxury and technology features, but they are put into large, expensive packages that often must be lumped together with other packages. For example, if you want satellite radio on a 2.5 S Sedan, you must spend $1,200 for the Connection Package, which then must be ordered with the $500 CVT, the $3,850 2.5 SL package and $300 antilock brakes. The Technology Package on the 3.5 SE is $6,400. If you want to keep the price low, we'd normally suggest going light on options, but unfortunately, Nissan makes it just about impossible to do this. It's like going to a salad bar and being offered a choice of either dry lettuce or a 4-gallon bucket of Ranch.

Although its options pricing is a little shady, the 2008 Nissan Altima is now an even more versatile (and attractive) choice in the always competitive midsize segment. The Altima coupe competes closest with the new 2008 Honda Accord coupe. Both vehicles providing a compelling mix of sport and practicality that other midsize coupes don't come close to matching. Meanwhile, the Altima sedan continues to be a very desirable midsize family car, especially for those who want one with a good amount of sporting potential. Either body style should be near the top of a shopping list.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Nissan Altima is available as a midsize sedan or coupe. The sedan is available in four trims, with the number indicating its engine: base 2.5 (by customer order only), 2.5 S, 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL. The base 2.5 comes with 16-inch wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry/starting, cruise control, a split/folding rear seat and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The 2.5 S adds air-conditioning, a CD player and MP3 input jack, a trip computer and intermittent wipers.

The sporty 3.5 SE comes with a sport-tuned suspension with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, power-folding side-view mirrors with integral turn signals, a power driver seat, wood-tone accents and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The 3.5 SL goes the full luxury route with leather seating, a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 16-inch alloy wheels, xenon HID headlights and a Bose audio system with CD changer and a choice of satellite radio providers.

The Altima coupe comes in only 2.5 S and 3.5 SE trim levels that are consistent with the sedan version. However, all coupes come with antilock brakes and sport seats with more aggressive bolstering.

The Premium Package on the coupe models and the 3.5 SE Sedan (it's known as the SL package on the 2.5 Sedan) includes essentially all the additional features of the 3.5 SL Sedan. Available on all but the base Altima sedan is the Technology Package that bundles a navigation system with real-time traffic and a rearview monitor, but it must be ordered with the Premium Package for an eye-bugging total of $6,400.

Powertrains and Performance

The Nissan Altima is powered by either a 2.5-liter inline-4 with 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque (on the 2.5 trims) or a 3.5-liter V6 with 270 hp and 258 lb-ft (on the 3.5 trims). All but the 3.5 SL Sedan come with a six-speed manual transmission, while a CVT is standard on that trim and optional on all others except the base sedan.

The four-cylinder engine provides enough giddy-up for most buyers ¯ zero to 60 mph is achieved in the mid-7-second range. In our tests, a 3.5 SE sedan with the CVT ran to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, while a six-speed manual coupe we tested did it in 6.2 seconds. Fuel economy is impressive considering the car's power; four-cylinder/CVT sedans have a 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway rating. Nissan Altimas with the V6/CVT combination have an average rating of 19/27. Manual transmission fuel economy is virtually identical.

Safety

Front-seat side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags are standard on every 2008 Nissan Altima. Antilock brakes are standard on the 3.5 sedan trims and all coupes, and optional on the 2.5 S sedan. Only the 3.5 trims are eligible for traction control (it's standard) and stability control (optional). In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the Altima sedan received a top five-star rating for its protection of occupants in frontal and side impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2008 Nissan Altima sedan and coupe feature a quiet, handsome interior constructed of quality materials. The coupe differs from the sedan by having a hand-operated emergency brake for all trim levels (CVT-equipped sedans come with a foot brake) and more aggressively bolstered front seats. Taller drivers will find the coupe a little tight on headroom, though. In addition, the coupe's shrunken proportions take a significant toll on the backseat's head and leg space, though it still offers seatbelts for three and the flat bench makes car-seat installation possible in a pinch. The front seats in both the sedan and coupe are excellent, offering a vast range of adjustment ¯ particularly in models with power seats ¯ and a good mix of comfort and support.

Driving Impressions

With its sporty suspension tuning (especially in coupe and 3.5 SE sedan guise) and quick steering, the 2008 Nissan Altima provides enthusiasts with one of the most enjoyable midsize coupes and family sedans available. Ride quality is still comfortable throughout the line, and road and wind noise are subdued.

Strong performance from the V6 models should more than satisfy those who like a kick in the pants when they boot the gas, and the four-cylinder provides perfectly adequate acceleration. A six-speed manual is standard, but its clutch engagement is abrupt and its shifter feels unsubstantial and moves through its gates with all the precision of a $10 Folex watch. We don't make this recommendation often, but we'd opt for the continuously variable transmission instead. Easily the best we've come across, this CVT does an excellent job of maximizing each engine's power, while responding rapidly to throttle inputs.

Braking is the one area in which the Altima could be deemed mediocre. Pedal feel is progressive, but during instrumented testing, we've measured stops from 60 mph in the 126-134–foot range, which is only average for this class.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Still loved my 2008 with

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Bought this car brand new in 2008, S model. Loved the CVT engine, got used to it after 3 days of driving. Comfortable drive, car turns like a dime. Did not have any major issues except 2013 when the dealer have to replaced the brake cylinder for leakage (under warranty.) Still driving with original tires and break pads which I need to replace soon otherwise, it runs and drives beautifully! This is my 2nd Altima, my first one was a 1994, drove it for 15 yrs. with 170k miles on it.




Too many issues, now dealer

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Everything was going pretty good until about 50,000 miles. I am getting a pulsating when letting off the gas, and a rough idle when cold. The 12 v outlet quit working. I brought it back to Future Nissan of Folsom, and they replaced the head! Thankfully I had the Nissan extended warranty, but they wouldn't allow me a rental, even though the extended warranty covers one! I get it back, idle is rough, bring it back, they say the reprogrammed it per some bulletin. The next morning, the idle is as rough as ever. Now the service guy, Rod, who had always been so nice, changes abruptly and tells me there's nothing wrong with my car. Now they won't take my calls and won't fix my car!



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

It was the most perfect

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 2dr Coupe (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I bought my 08 Nissan Altima Coupe in 2008 brand new. It was my first brand new car and I'm still in love with it even though I don't own it any longer. I put over 50k miles on it in 3 years. I took it on long drives from Omaha to Chicago and Omaha to Indianapolis. The seats were so comfy that my butt was never abused. The acceleration was always great even though it was a 4 cyl. I had no problems getting around in the winter during some bad snowfalls. The only reason I traded it in was because I needed to get a bigger car for a family. When I think of my silver 2008 Altima I get a little tear in my eye as I wistfully remember how great of a car it was.




Cvt gone at 50k. wheel

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Overall, this car was not a good choice for my wife. She had very annoying issues with it almost immediately with the automatic light shutoff and battery dying on her at the airport. In 2009 she used AAA 7 times. In 2011 we replaced wheel bearings, exhaust shield came loose, and radio would become unresponsive on random occasions - light would dim and volume controls would only cycle 6 and 7. Then in 2012 at 51k, the tranny goes. Yes, Nissan came through and forked over $5k towards replacing it as well as some other outstanding recall and emmision problems. Thanks for that. From a simple, cheap car all she wanted was decent reliability, at least up to a respectable 80k. But tranny at 51k. No



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 years, 60k miles

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 6M)

Noticed only one other review for a Coupe with some miles on it, so thought I'd share my experience. Took delivery in January of '08 and other than a broken limit strap on the driver door, the car has been flawless. Fuel economy on the V6 has been as high as 32 @ 70 (Hwy, measured several times at fill-up and around 20 in town with combined in the low 20's. Although designed for premium, I've used regular. Performance is excellent with some torque steer on hard launch. One track day, with VDC off, was a hoot. Excellent for long trips and plenty of room for skis, with the back seats down. Plus, it takes someone who knows the car to know an '08 from the current model.




So many problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

When we first purchased the car, we had no issues until the 15K mark and car would not start. Brake sensor issue. Another 15K, stopped to get gas in Alabama, car would not start. Brake sensor again. Trip to Florida and a loud whining noise, Transmission replaced 60K. After getting the maintenance, they stated that it will be fine. Whining brakes are annoying and the leather on the console is torn...not covered by warranty. Also, center console is very loose. Now the radio will not power on. Drive about 15 miles and then press the push start w/o foot on brake, radio comes back on. Problems and will not own another Nissan



Talk About The 2008 Altima

2008 Nissan Altima Discussions See all Started By

I just bought a 2008 Altima Sedan 2.5S and is under 200 miles. Today, I finally looked under the hood along with the manual book in my hand to learn the whereabouts of all fluid locations.. to my sur...


mable91367
mable91367
01-22-2007
Hi, Do anyone have any information on the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe? I saw it at the Los Angeles Car Show, and I really do like it. When will it be available?...


dkruck
dkruck
06-24-2008
I installed an aftermarket stereo in my 2008 Nissan Altima. Now my airbag light located on top of my fuel gauge has started flashing intermittenly and will not shut off even after I hook the stock ste...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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