Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,000 – $22,500*

2008 Nissan Altima sedan

2008 Nissan Altima sedan

2008 Nissan Altima sedan

2008 Nissan Altima sedan

2008 Nissan Altima coupe

2008 Nissan Altima coupe

  • Acceleration
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy (4-cyl)
  • Quietness (sedan)
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Steering/handling (V6)
  • Engine refinement
  • Rear-seat comfort (coupe)
  • Seat comfort (taller riders)

This Recommended pick is a sportier alternative to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Sedans don’t give up much in terms of everyday usability. Coupes attempt to be even sportier, but ride stiffly and have little trunk space. Both body styles have subpar rear-seat room and comfort. Overall refinement still trails the class leaders, but Altima is more engaging to drive.


Nissan redesigned its best-selling car for 2007, giving it freshened styling and more standard safety features. In this form, the Altima sedan was an inch shorter in wheelbase and 2 inches shorter overall than the 2002-2006 generation. Base 2.5 and 2.5 S models kept their 175-hp four-cylinder engines. Also returning were 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL versions with a 270-horsepower V6. A six-speed manual transmission was standard on all but the 3.5 SL. A gearless continuously variable transmission (CVT) was standard on the 3.5 SL and optional on all but the base 2.5 sedan.

All models had four-wheel disc brakes. Antilocking was standard on V6 versions, but optional for four-cylinder models and not available for the base 2.5. Previously optional front side airbags and curtain airbags now were standard in all models. Traction control was standard on 3.5 models, but unavailable on 2.5 sedans. An antiskid system was an exclusive 3.5-model option. Nissan’s navigation system was available, now including a rearview camera. Additional options included leather upholstery and a wireless cell phone link. With the Altima sedan, Nissan competed against the Honda Accord, Saturn Aura, and Toyota Camry.

Before long, Nissan followed up with a companion Altima coupe, smaller in dimensions, with a more sporty nature but the same powertrain choices. Nissan also introduced an Altima Hybrid sedan, sold only in California and seven specific northeastern states. The Hybrid coupled Nissan’s four-cylinder engine with a CVT and electric motor, producing a total of 198 horsepower. The Hybrid sedan could run on either or both power sources, depending on driving conditions, and did not require plug-in charging.

Yearly Updates

2008 Altima
Antilock braking became standard on all models for 2008. Also newly standard were splash guards and a Diversity Antenna. XM satellite radio joined the option list.
2009 Altima
The 2009 Nissan Altima was largely unchanged, though Nissan expanded availability of its gas/electric Hybrid model to include Oregon; it was previously offered only in California and a few northeastern states..
2010 Altima
The 2010 Nissan Altima receives slightly freshened interior and exterior styling.
2011 Altima
The 2011 Nissan Altima sees no major changes following its model-year 2010 freshening.
2012 Altima
Only minor trim alterations were made to the 2012 Nissan Altima, the last year of this design.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Altima 2.5 models came with a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; Altima 3.5 sedans held a 270-hp, 3.5-liter V6. Both engines mate with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Altima Hybrid sedan has a four-cylinder engine and battery-powered electric motor, plus the CVT.

dohc I4/electric2
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 158
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 162
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic


dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
CVT automatic
dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
CVT automatic

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years. 2. Hybrid Note: Total powertrain output (gasoline engine and electric motor) is 198 horsepower.

Road Test

Four-cylinder models with the CVT are sprightly from a stop and show good highway passing response. V6 versions are stronger still in all situations. A test 3.5 SE sedan with CVT accelerated to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The CVT is well matched to either engine, and its manual shift gate allows for nearly-instantaneous “virtual” gear changes. Altimas with manual shift feel quicker still, but the shifter has long “throws,” which somewhat blunts any sporty nature.

Fuel economy is about on par for the class, and the Hybrid sedan promises frugal operation in city driving. A test 3.5 SE sedan with CVT averaged 23.8 mpg in mostly highway driving and 19.1 mpg with more city duty, including gas-eating performance runs. Also in the city, manual-shift 3.5 SE models averaged 22.4 to 24.8 mpg. Altima 2.5 models use regular-grade fuel. Nissan recommends premium for the V6. Altimas have a 20-gallon fuel tank-among the largest in the midsize-car class.

Ride comfort varies. In regular form, Altima is one of the more poised and comfortable midsize sedans. Overall, the 2.5 models are best composed. The sport suspension on 3.5 SE models induces unwanted thump and body jiggle over sharp bumps. SE coupes with the V6 have even firmer suspension tuning and are very stiff over even small bumps.

Sedans demonstrate nicely damped body motions. Precise, direct steering imparts a sporty feel. In one 3.5 SE coupe, however, steering was light and devoid of road feel. That coupe also suffered more body lean than expected for a sport two-door. Torque steer is not evident even on 3.5 versions. Models equipped with ABS have showed generally good stopping control, though one test sedan suffered touchy pedal action.

Neither the four-cylinder nor theV6 sounds especially refined, but they’re not overly intrusive, either. Tire, road, and wind noise are well controlled in sedans, less so in coupes. One test model suffered from dashboard rattles.

Large gauges are easily legible. Models without a navigation system have simple climate and audio controls. The navigation system absorbs audio functions and isn’t intuitive to program. Textured, soft-touch materials are put to good overall use, though some hard plastic panels are found in the center console area. Regardless, Altimas are pleasant inside.

Front headroom and legroom are good overall, though six-footers may want more seat travel. Seats have very good thigh and lumbar support, though some test-drivers complained that seats lack supportive contour. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes to aid driver positioning. Visibility in sedans is fine in all directions. Thick rear roof pillars create large blind spots in coupes.

The sedan’s rear bench is reasonably comfortable for people under six feet. Tall riders will find headroom cramped and leg space lacking, unless front seats are well forward. Coupes are cramped for both heads and feet. The front seat tilts forward, but its release is on the inside of the passenger seat, thus less accessible.

Altima sedan trunks are generously sized and shaped, but lid hinges intrude deeply into the cargo area. Low liftover eases loading of bulky items, though split rear seatbacks don’t fold completely flat. Interior storage qualifies only as average. Coupes have non-intrusive strut-style hinges, but the trunk is small-narrow and shallow.


Model Tested: 2008 Altima 2.5 S sedan w/CVT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 5


Value - 8

Total: 63


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.3 182.5 70.7 55.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
7.4 20.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 35.5 42.5 34.4
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.3 189.8 70.7 57.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17.9 20.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 36.8 42.2 39.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Altima 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: Coolant may leak from the sump pump plate on hybrid vehicles requiring resealing with silicone sealant. (2007-10)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel gauge may not work or may not read properly all the time requiring replacement of the fuel sending unit in the tank. (2007-10)
Ignition switch
Description: The ignition may not turn to the on position, requiring replacement of the steering lock assembly. (2007-09)
Description: The driver’s bottom seat cushion may move back and forth requiring replacement of the frame assembly. (2008-09)
Description: The sunroof may not seal completely because its seal becomes deformed. (2007-08)
Vehicle noise
Description: A buzzing or whining sound from the front of the 4.0L V6 engine is likely due to the timing chain(s) which should be replaced along with its tensioner(s). (2004-06)
Description: The passenger side window may not operate due to a malfunction in the driver’s side window switch assembly. (2007)
Description: If the auto-up feature of a power window quits working, it is restored by closing the window and holding the button for four extra seconds. (2007-08)
Description: The speedometer may be inaccurate and/or the ABS warning light may illuminate due to an electrical ground problem inside the right front fender. (2007-08)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate due to failure of the intake valve timing control solenoid. (2008)

Recall History

2007 Altima
Description: If sufficiently hot object enters air filter housing of certain vehicles, the filter may ignite.
2007-08 Altima
Description: If the body control module (BCM) was replaced during service at a dealership, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) may have been inadvertently deactivated due to an issue with the dealer service software. Dealers will check the TPMS function and reactivate it if necessary.
2007-08 Altima
Description: Sensor in passenger seat cushion may fail, preventing the air bag from deploying in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
2008 Altima
Description: A bolt in the left side front suspension may not have been tightened to specification. This condition could cause the bolt to become loose while the vehicle is being driven. If the bolt were to come out, the driver may experience difficulty controlling the direction of the vehicle which could result in a crash. Dealers will tighten the bolt to specification.
2009 Altima
Description: Some of these wheels may not have been manufactured to specification, and one or more of the five lug nuts attaching the wheel to the vehicle could become loose. Dealers will inspect the vehicle to determine if it is equipped with one of the affected wheels.
2009-10 Altima
Description: The upper front strut insulators may have been manufactured out of specification resulting in a potential to crack. This could affect vehicle stability and increase the risk of a crash. Nissan will notify owners. Dealers will replace both left and right side front strut insulators free of charge.
2010 Altima
Description: Some of the front side member assembly components may not have been welded to specification due to a tool maintenance error. If several structural welds are out of specification on a single vehicle, it may have an effect on the vehicle crash performance. Dealers will inspect and if necessary repair free of charge.
2011 Altima
Description: The transverse link bolt may not have been torqued to the proper specification. This condition could cause the bolt to become loose while the vehicle is being driven, creating a rattling noise and vibration. If the bolt comes out completely, the driver may experience difficulty controlling the direction of the vehicle which could result in a crash. Nissan will replace the transverse link bolts and nuts and tighten them to the proper torque specification free of charge.
2012 Altima
Description: Side-curtain airbags may have an incorrect propellant mixture, resulting in insufficient compressed gas output. The airbags may not deploy.
2012 Altima
Description: Vehicles may have been equipped with improperly torqued transverse link bolts and power-steering rack bolts, which could loosen and fall out.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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