NEW FOR 2008:

– Sedan receives standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, splash guards, and diversity antennae
– Optional XM Satellite Radio
– All-new Altima Coupe model

Completely revised for 2007, the Nissan Altima sedan and hybrid continue into 2008 with additions to the list of standard features.

The big news is the Altima Coupe, a new model for 2008. Although it is based on the sedan’s platform, it has a shorter wheelbase, and shorter front and rear overhangs, making it a true coupe instead of a two-door sedan; it also features coupe-specific front seats, with extra lateral support.

Both sedan and coupe use a 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder or 3.5-litre V6, mated to a six-speed manual transmission or optional CVT. The sedan comes as the 2.5 S, and as the 3.5 S or SE, while the coupe comes as the 2.5 S and 3.5 SE.

The sedan is also available as a hybrid model; it uses the 2.5-litre engine, but mates it to a hybrid system licensed from Toyota, and comes only with the CVT. It’s a full hybrid system and can run on its battery alone. It comes in a single trim line.

Features on the 2.5 S sedan include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, automatic headlamps, Intelligent Key with pushbutton transmission, power windows, power locks, heated mirrors, cruise control, trip computer, speed-sensitive variable intermittent wipers, six-way manual driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, CD stereo with six speakers and auxiliary jack, tire pressure warning system, and anti-theft system.

The 2.5 S coupe adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and eight-way power driver’s adjustment.

The 3.5 S sedan builds on the 2.5 S sedan with traction control, folding mirrors with integrated turn signals, heated cloth seats, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The 3.5 SE sedan adds 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear stabilizer bar, performance-tuned suspension, fog lights, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, six-way power driver’s seat, and wood-tone interior trim.

The 3.5 SE coupe is equipped similarly to the 3.5 SE sedan.

The Hybrid is equipped similarly to the 3.5 S sedan, adding 16-inch alloy wheels, vehicle dynamic control, rear spoiler, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, six-way power passenger seat, and wood-tone interior trim.

While the Altima sedan is a handsome vehicle, the coupe is stunningly styled, and is an intelligently-priced alternative for those who would like to get into the Infiniti G37 but don’t want to spend that much money. It comes with the characteristics inherent to coupes, including difficult access to the small rear seats.

In both body styles, the peppy four-cylinder makes enough power to keep most buyers satisfied, and its softer ride is very comfortable. The V6 is mated to a sport-tuned suspension that transmits more road imperfections, but improves handling in the corners. On both engines, the CVT is quiet and smooth, and works very well.

The Altima Hybrid offers the sedan’s roominess and comfort, and balances its fuel-saving technologies with driving performance; this is one of the better hybrids for handling, engine performance and driving fun.

Connect with