Subtle badging clue to Altima’s hybrid power
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Going green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality, performance or style when choosing a family sedan. The Nissan Altima Hybrid proves just that.
As Nissan’s first entry into the hybrid gasoline/electric segment, it provides an alternative choice to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry hybrid sedans that have ruled the “eco-friendly” roost up to now.
Available in a single trim level for $32,998 (the only added extra is metallic/pearl paint at $125), the mid-size Altima Hybrid sedan uses the same 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine found under the hood of the entry-level Altima 2.5 S model, mated to a hybrid system. By itself, this 4-cylinder unit produces 158 horsepower, but with added assist from a 40 hp emissions-free electric motor there’s a combined net output of 198 hp to put a little performance “juice” into the mix.
Mind you, if you drive it like that, you’ve defeated the advantages of the hybrid system. Low-speed, stop-and-go driving is what brings out the best results. With its outstanding fuel efficiency — 5.6 L/100km (50 mpg) in city driving and 5.9 L/100 km (48 mpg) as rated by Natural Resources Canada — and a driving range of up to 1310 km (800 miles) per tank, you’re not only getting a lot of fun for every litre of gas consumed, you also get a to go a long way. And don’t forget there’s a rebate incentive available from the Government of Canada to sweeten the deal if your buy or lease an Altima Hybrid. For more details on the ecoAuto Rebate Program visit the Transport Canada website.
The only transmission for the Altima Hybrid is an electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that’s very smooth and responsive. In most driving conditions it feels no different than a conventional automatic set-up.
Despite its “green” credentials, press this hybrid hard and it feels like there’s a V6 residing in the engine bay. It hugs curves well, with little evident body lean and takes tight hairpin turns in stride.
Handling is crisp and the car’s handsome exterior design is matched with a comfortable interior that is a marked improvement over the previous-generation Altima.
The interior dimensions and general layout are no different than the standard Altima sedan, so the Hybrid version feels roomy and comfortable for both front and rear-seat passengers. But the latter don’t fold — due to the battery pack, which also limits trunk room a bit.
Standard features include automatic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable cloth seats, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, stability control, side and curtain airbags, CD with six speakers and auxiliary jack, cruise control, power locks and windows, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and speed-sensitive variable intermittent windshield wipers.
Summing up, if you want to go green in style and need enough room to haul full-size adults in comfort but don’t want to cut corners in the performance and handling departments, then the Altima looks like a fine choice indeed.
‘07 Nissan Altima Hybrid