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STYLING | 8 out of 10
Flared fenders and sculpted headlights resemble Nissan's 350Z sports car
Sporty yet mature-looking lines
The annoying, seemingly misaligned tunnels are gone
Car and Driver
Nissan's mid-size sedan, the Nissan Altima, underwent a redesign for the 2007 model year. It returns for 2008 with the same styling both inside and out that reviewers from across the Web find attractive and contemporary.
The 2008 Nissan Altima arrives in showrooms in four different trim varieties, though they feature few external differences. Edmunds lists the available trims as "base 2.5 (by customer order only), 2.5 S, 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL." Edmunds goes on to say that the external differences between the trims consist of 16-inch wheels on the 2.5 model, while the "sporty 3.5 SE" offers "17-inch alloy wheels" and "power-folding side-view mirrors with integral turn signals," and the 3.5 SL further adds "16-inch alloy wheels" and "xenon HID headlights." The exterior of the 2008 Nissan Altima has been trimmed somewhat from the older version, with Cars.com noting that, at "189.8 inches long, the Altima sedan is 2.5 inches shorter than the previous generation."
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that most writers feel that the smaller dimensions are a styling bonus, as Road & Track testers find that it allows the Altima Nissan's designers to add "more character...along the car's flanks." Kelley Blue Book raves about the exterior on the Altima Nissan, which is "rich in Nissan family cues, most notably in its grille, headlamp and taillamp treatments," but at the same time, it sports "a bit more aggressive edge than you'll find in the Sentra or Maxima." However, not all reviewers appreciate the sheetmetal, as Car and Driver laments "the way the front view gets into an argument with the side view when they meet in the front fenders" and points out that "there's nothing cautious about the Airbus-theme taillights either."
Interior styling was one of the biggest complaints about the previous car, so for the 2008 Altima, Nissan has made a concerted effort to improve the cabin. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that their effort has paid off nicely, with Car and Driver noticing that "although the instrument cluster still shows you three dials, the annoying, seemingly misaligned tunnels are gone, replaced by a single-lens grouping of much improved graphics." Mother Proof reviewers appreciate the "sound system that displays the radio station and time in easy-to-read, large characters," while ConsumerGuide praises the "large and legible gauges." ConsumerGuide reviewers also find that the "audio and climate controls are simple to operate in models without the available navigation system," though when equipped with the navigation system, it "isn't easy to program, and it absorbs and complicates audio functions," they write. Kelley Blue Book best captures overall reviewer sentiment by saying that "the Altima's airy cabin has a contemporary appearance" along with "logically arranged" interior controls that make driving in the 2008 Nissan Altima considerably more intuitive than in some other cars.
The 2008 Nissan Altima offers strong styling cues and a practical interior that give it a distinct flair.