If you want to enjoy the benefits of a hybridís great mileage, now
thereís a better way to do it - buy the new fourth-generation 2007
Nissan Altima Hybrid.
A true midsize car now,
the Altima would be a fine choice even without its Hybrid fuel sipping
ways and atmosphere friendliness. The previous model was a clean design
that set in motion a complete redesign of the entire Nissan line.
The new Altima takes
the same smooth-sided themes and gives them a kick. The sculpted
surfaces are bolder and the grille features the center drop section that
is being phased in as a Nissan styling cue. The rear haunches are more
pronounced and the taillamps extend way forward, resembling glass tubes
of Christmas decorations. The look is clean, modern, and distinctive.
The hybrid part comes
from Toyota, whose Prius is the ďKleenexĒ of the gas - electric world.
Everybody knows what it is. Nissan was wise to recognize that and simply
license the technology. They attached it to their own 2.5-liter
four-cylinder engine and electronically-controlled, continuously
variable transmission (CVT). The engine and electric motor together
generate just under 200 horsepower, so performance is pretty strong.
Hybrids like this work
by combining a modest engine with an electric motor to power the car.
The vehicle runs on pure electricity at low speeds on level ground as
long as the powertrain senses no need for the engine to start up.
At higher speeds and on
hills, the engine and motor work together. During stops, the gas engine
shuts down and immediately restarts automatically when the driver
presses down on the accelerator. Braking sets up a regenerative process
that fills the battery with electric charge. There is no reason or way
to plug the car in.
With the borrowed
Toyota ís system comes a display screen that shows the flow of power
from the engine and motor and also when the battery is being charged or
powering the motor.
The EPA gives the
Altima Hybrid mileage ratings of 42 city, 36 highway - not quite Prius
numbers but still quite good. My actual mileage for the test week was
31.7 mpg, which is good but definitely lower. The 2008 model lists
mileage as 35 City and 33 highway - much more realistic - because the
entire industry uses a new measurement scale for 2008.
The EPA rates the
Altima Hybrid as an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle
(AT-PZEV), and awards it a 9.5 for the Air Pollution score and a 9 for
the Greenhouse Gas score. Thatís the third best in the entire industry,
just below the Toyota Prius at No. 1 and the much smaller Honda Civic
Hybrid at No. 2.
My family went for a
ride in the Dark Slate test Altima Hybrid to visit my son and
daughter-in-law a couple of hours north of home. The Altima Hybrid
proved to be a fine freeway cruiser, with power to pass and little wind
or road noise to intrude on the serenity. Later, we fit all five of us
into it with no trouble.
The car comes well
equipped, with what people expect today on all but the most basic
transportation unit- keyless remote, cruise control, AM/FM/CD, air
conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, intermittent
wipers, window defoggers, and the like. Nice extras include dual zone
climate control, an auxiliary audio jack, 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen
headlamps, and chrome exhaust finishers.
The list of safety
features includes power anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force
distribution and brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, traction
control, and Nissanís Advanced Air Bag System. The carís computer keeps
very busy monitoring all this life-saving high-tech stuff.
There are a few
options, but the big one is the Technology Package, which, for $7,250,
adds a huge assortment of goodies, starting with the Nissan Navigation
System. You also get power-adjustable seats wrapped in leather and
heated, XM Satellite Radio, a moonroof, rear spoiler, Bose audio
upgrade, leather on the shift knob and steering wheel, and lots more.
With that package, my
car came to $32,365 - not at all cheap. The base price is $24,400, and
just for reference, a standard Nissan Altima sedan starts at $17,950
plus a $625 destination charge.
With proven technology
and completely fresh styling inside and out, the Altima Hybrid is a
welcome addition to the new green way of motoring. By Steve
Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Nissan Home Page
Byline: Hybrid Review
provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Altima Hybrid is the new green way of motoring
Topic: The 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid
Word Count: 805
Photo Caption: The 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid
Photo Credits: Nissan Altima Hybrid Internet Media
Series #: 2007 -
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2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid
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