The 2.5 S features good looks and comfortable ride
The mid-size Nissan Altima sedan has long been viewed as the athlete in its peer group and the latest version, which made its appearance as an all-new design in 2007, is the same, only more so.
Engine performance is a point of pride with Nissan and the 2008’s carryover unit sitting under the hood makes best-in-class power.
But don’t be misled by the seemingly sedate 175 horsepower of the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder lurking under the hood of the base Altima 2.5 S model. Its rated output is measured by tougher test protocols that came into effect last year. Likewise, the 3.5-litre V6’s 270 hp — in the step-up 3.5 S and 3.5 SE trim — is a bigger gain over its predecessor’s “250” than it appears.
Even in its basic entry-level four-cylinder-powered form, the 2.5 S will surprise you with its level of refinement.
The 2.5 S carries a sticker price of $24,498. Not too shabby for a well-equipped sedan that cruises quietly at highway speeds. Things can get a little noisier, though, when this four-cylinder is revved hard in the lower gears. But driven with sedate common sense it’s a nice unit with decent power delivery under all throttle conditions.
The rest of the Altima’s attributes are just as nice. The steering, while a little on the light side, does a good job of communicating exactly what’s going on with the front wheels, while the brakes are strong, easily modulated and progressive in action. Throw a piece of challenging road at this family hauler and it feels that deep down it knows how to dance if you want a willing partner.
With the 2.5-litre engine, the Altima’s big claim to fame is its fuel economy numbers, which, even in today’s “go green” climate, is pretty good by any standards. The standard six-speed manual transmission 2.5 S gets 8.9 L/100 km (32 mpg) city and 6.1 L.100 km (46 mpg) on the highway. The optional CVT transmission ($1,200) gets identical city numbers but a hair less — 6.3 L/100 (45 mpg) out on the open road.
The interior is very good, too, fronted by a nicely arranged dash and centre console. The gauges are bright and legible while major controls all feel placed just right.
Standard equipment includes push-button start, air conditioning with in-cabin microfilter, power windows with one-touch auto up/down for the driver’s side, power locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, trip computer with multiple displays, two 12-volt power outlets, to name just a few.
For those with a more powerful itch, the 3.5 V6-powered and more comprehensively equipped Altima 3.5 S goes for $28,898, while the top-line 3.5 SE starts at $30,298.
Unfortunately, things like traction and stability control are absent from the base 2.5 S, though they are available on the step-up models.
2008 Nissan Altima 2.5 S