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Thread: 2008 Nissan Altima

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2008 Nissan Altima

    What draws you to one particular puppy in litter of look-alikes? Personality. This is also the '08 Altima's ace in the hole. Mid-size family-type cars have become ever more homogenized in recent years; they're excellent as transportation modules ... as appliances - but most are about as interesting as bingo night at the Elks Lodge.

    But the Altima's different.

    It still seems eager to be used as more than just a cruise-controlled conveyance with a good stereo, lots of elbow room and plenty of cup holders. For one thing, you can still get a six-speed manual transmission (Nissan dropped this option from the Maxima's menu), which when teamed with the optional 3.5 liter DOHC V-6 is enough to get to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Base four-cylinder models also come with a standard six-speed stick - and can reach 60 in the mid-sevens. A new-for-2008 option with either engine is Nissan's Xtronic CVT transmission. It offers a slight mileage benefit over a conventional automatic - while also providing some of the sporty driving feel of a manual without the clutch (for those who have to deal with stop-and-go commuting).

    Nissan has been honing its DOHC 3.5 liter V-6 for many years now - and it is without question one of the best engines of its type on the market. Potent and willing when called upon, it is also justly well-known for its smooth operating characteristics, durability and trouble-free history. Power output continues to trend upward, too - with the '08 version now dishing out a 270 horsepower.

    The standard 2.5 liter four is not to be overlooked, however. It produces a very respectable 175 horsepower - which provides strong acceleration with either the six-speed or the optional CVT. It also features chain driven cams (stronger than belts and less maintenance, too). The four also comes with a dual exhaust system, just like the V-6.

    Important comment about the Nissan Xtronic CVT transmission. It's far less noisy than many other CVTs is ciruclation, for openers - and it seems to do a better job of matching the engine's power curve to how you're driving. If you floor it, the tach will spin to near redline and stay there - as happens in other CVT-equipped cars. But as soon as you back off, the CVT responds by dialing back the revs almost immediately - very much like a conventional automatic does when you back off the gas. It doesn't feel like you're stuck in second or third with the engine on the verge of spitting pistons through the cam covers.

    Overall response at other engine speeds/throttle angles is noticeably superior to other CVT-equipped cars, too.

    How does it do this?

    The CVT features an adaptive logic controller with 700 programmed algorithms that allow near-instantaneous adjustment of the transmission's operating characteristics to driver input and driving conditions. It's a "smart" transmission that gets more aggressive as you do, less aggressive when you dial it back. It has both manual and automatic control, too.

    Enthusiast types may still prefer a clutch and the ability to row through the gears on their own - but the Altima's CVT is a real improvement over a regular automatic - and almost as fun as the six-speed gearbox. In theory, you might get slightly better fuel economy, too.

    A sport S package is available with either the four-cylinder or the V-6. It consists of 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season performance tires, leather-wrapped steering wheel and interior and exterior trim upgrades - such as chrome-tipped tailpipes. The suspension's tuned for a firmer ride, too.

    With either engine or transmission the S-equipped Altima's one of the most enjoyable "family-sport" sedans on the market right now. It does just as good a job of carting the kids around - and you to the office - as anything else in the segment.

    But it does a better job than most when you want to have a little fun. It is, for instance, a lot more lively than a Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata or Chevy Malibu or Ford Taurus. Those cars are quiet, smooth and accelerate confidently - in a straight line. But they are not happy when pushed even a little bit in a corner. Lots of body roll, SS Minnow steering and tires that begin to squeal like Ned Beatty when leaned on at all. Great for kids and road trips to Oklahoma. Not so great for anything that might be described as enthusiast driving.

    The availability of a coupe version this year (spring/summer 2008) only sweetens the pot. It offers the same basic drivetrain choices and features but in a more aggressively styled shell that shares just a few pieces with the sedan. In fact, the hood of the pending Altima coupe is the only major piece of exterior sheetmetal that's interchangeable. The coupe is shorter overall, too - and there are subtle interior differences such as a hand-operated parking brake, more firmly bolstered sport buckets up front and sharper roofline. Backseat access is fine, but headroom's a little tight. Still, the Altima coupe is vastly more sporty than, say, a Camry Solara or Chrysler Sebring. And its presence in Nissan's lineup gives it a direct answer to its main and obvious competiton - the Honda Accord coupe.

    All versions of the '08 Altima come standard not merely with "expected amenities" such as AC and power windows/locks and cruise - but also remote entry/keyless ignition as well as a tilting and telescoping steering wheel. These two items are more commonly found on more expensive cars - where they are often extra-cost options, too. The tilt/telescoping wheel is very nice to have, especially if the car will be used by multiple drivers with different builds.

    Every '08 Altima also comes standard with front seat side-impact and full-length head/curtain airbags; ABS is made standard for 2008 as well.Traction control is standard on V-6 models, with an upgraded stability control system available optionally.

    Prices begin at $18,230 for the base SE sedan and run to $28,280 for an SL V-6 with the CVT - giving it a broad range that extends from just-above-economy to almost-luxury.

    Nissan vehicles continue to be more zesty than equivalent competitors and the new Altima's no exception.

    With more personality than most, the '08 Altima does a great job of combining family-guy sensibility with the possibility of single-guy good times - when no one's looking and you've dropped off the kids.

    Just keep it quiet, ok?

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    FYI:
    Nissan's US website is http://www.nissanusa.com

    nissan.com is formerly Uzi Nissan's computer shop site. As a result of Nissan Motor Corporation's suit against him, he is limited in what he can use it for.

    Chip H.

    (disclaimer: Uzi used to be my ISP, back when I had an ISDN line)

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Have to give Uzi some credit, he's been fighting Nissan for years, to keep his registered domain - nissan.com which is his right to keep since he registered it first and his company's name is Nissan Computer Corp. Hope he's successful in keeping it, for it's always nice to see the little guy not get stomped on by the big multinational corporations that think they can throw around their weight and get anything they want.

  4. #4
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    He was actually winning his case against them, and then he started accepting auto-related banner ads, and the court then found that he was occupying the same "space" as Nissan Motor Corp, and thus cyber-squatting.

    So his current site is what you see today -- a mere placeholder for what it used to be.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Chip,

    Bummer. Do you think that Nissan will eventually get his domain name. Did they offer him money for it at any time?

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    He was actually winning his case against them, and then he started accepting auto-related banner ads, and the court then found that he was occupying the same "space" as Nissan Motor Corp, and thus cyber-squatting.

    So his current site is what you see today -- a mere placeholder for what it used to be.

    Chip H.
    So, in brief, the guy is legally not entitled to use his own name for business purposes?

  7. #7
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    His business is still Nissan Computers, but he can't use the domain name for anything beyond what you see.

    I don't know if they offered him money, but given the acrimony, I suspect their first offer was in the form of a cease & desist letter. And that certainly wouldn't endear them to me if I were in his shoes.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    I wish you would include a photo in your car reviews.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    I wish you would include a photo in your car reviews.
    Several photos are included with this review... did you check the Main Page?

  10. #10
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    I wish you would include a photo in your car reviews.
    Several photos are included with this review... did you check the Main Page?
    The review is in this thread. Why should I have to look someplace else for a photo?

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2008 Nissan Altima

    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    I wish you would include a photo in your car reviews.
    Several photos are included with this review... did you check the Main Page?
    The review is in this thread. Why should I have to look someplace else for a photo?
    Well, sort of... the Main page feeds into the Forum; I suspect you're coming in directly to the Forum - and not going to the Forum from the Main page... is this correct?

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