Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at the tender age of 31? Because I think I am. I feel this innate desire to suddenly try things I've never been interested in before. Case in point: I recently convinced a friend to take me out for my first sushi experience (not as bad as I thought, though I wasn't thrilled about eating the monstrously large shrimp head, decked out with tentacles and eyeballs, juices secreting with each bite). I knew I'd gone way off the deep end when I ordered something other than my usual at my favorite neighborhood coffee joint. I've even opened myself up to the possibility that non-mom-like cars can actually be family-friendly.
That said, I still don't think the 2008 Nissan Altima coupe is one of them. Now, don't get me wrong: I really enjoyed driving this car - between the hours of 8:30 and 11:30 a.m., when my preschooler was at school, not attempting to climb in and out of the back of a two-door car. Access to the backseat through the passenger door was fairly simple; the door swings open quite wide, and the front seat slides far enough forward to make a nice passageway for munchkins to clamber through. However, most of the time I opened my door to exit the car and let them out from my side. The back of the driver's seat folds slightly forward, but the entire seat doesn't automatically slide up. This created an awkward seat/seat belt tripping/stumbling gymnastic maneuver every time we needed to get out of the car. It was almost as awkward as watching a bunch of second-graders in a hip-hop class (I think that's one new thing I won't be trying any time soon).
Of course, the Altima is also zippy and fun to drive, and during my first outing in the car - to the aforementioned coffee shop - onlookers stopped to admire and ogle its sleek lines and sporty, sophisticated look. Next to a slight caffeine infusion, the best way to start a day is with an ego boost like that - or a really hot shower, both of which are few and far between for us busy moms. Look at me in my Altima coupe! I'm a cool mom, my hair's been washed and I drive a hot car. Boom chicka bow wow!
Partly because of the Altima coupe's fun factor and hot new styling, I was surprised to find well-designed access to the lower anchors of this car's Latch system. A Velcro flap covers the Latch connectors when not in use and allows incredibly easy access to them when needed. However, for older kids in booster seats - or those just out of booster seats - the seat belts are tough for little hands to manipulate and buckle on their own.
Storing an assortment of kiddie and mommy things in the Altima also presented a bit of a challenge for me. Just trying to pop the trunk resulted in a frantic search for the trunk release button. Turns out it was located down near my left knee in a dark, non-visible location. Every time I needed to use it I had to open my door to let some light in and crank my neck to an unnatural angle in order to spot it. (New activity for today: Look up vehicular yoga in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.) Once the trunk was open, I was a little surprised by its shallow capacity. The kids' backpacks fit OK, but I had trouble getting my new mirrored side table in there. I ended up having to set it precariously on the passenger seat.
I enjoyed my brief stint in the Altima, but what I enjoyed most about it was that it was brief. There's nothing really wrong with this car, other than the fact that it didn't help make my daily life as a mom any easier. Like my sushi dinner, I'll chalk this one up to a good one-time experience, not to be duplicated anytime in the near future.
*For more information on the 2008 Nissan Altima coupe and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Not-Really - Fair
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Groove On
2008 Altima 2.5 Coupe
Base price: $20,490
Price as tested: $20,490
Engine: 175-hp, 2.5-liter I-4
Fuel: 23/32 mpg
Turning Radius: 17.4'
Cargo space: 7.4 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: Not Rated
Passenger's side: Not Rated
Front occupant: Not Rated
Rear occupant: Not Rated
Rollover resistance: Not Rated
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||October 18, 2007|
|David Thomas||Cars.com National||July 19, 2007|
|Kelsey Mays||Cars.com National||August 15, 2007|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||April 13, 2008|
|Courtney Messenbaugh||Mother Proof||November 28, 2007|
|Kristin Varela||Mother Proof||August 28, 2007|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||June 17, 2007|
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Nissan Altima
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.