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BWC High-Mileage Review

Nissan Tentatively Dips Its Toe Into The Hybrid Pool With The 2007 Altima

Have you ever seen those kids taking swim lessons at the “Y” decked out in inflatable armbands, a swim cap, goggles, earplugs, and noseplugs? You can tell they’re not at ease in the water. Adding to the general sense of anxiety is the kid’s mother, who's sitting nearby and watching the lessons with visible nervousness. It makes you wonder how long that kid will be taking swim lessons.

This is kind of our take on the 2007 Altima Hybrid, the first ever hybrid produced by Nissan. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is not a hybrid fan, though he’s producing one because people are buying them. Not wanting to invest a lot of time or money into a product line that they’re not fully behind, Nissan made the decision to license Toyota technology.

Overall, the hybrid version of the Altima is a decent mid-sized family sedan. It has surprisingly few glaring faults, considering it was cobbled together using Toyota’s technology in Nissan’s chassis (which was co-developed with Renault). However, Nissan has asserted that if the 2007 model sells well, subsequent hybrid models will be based on hybrid technology developed in-house.

Thus, only time will tell if the awkward kid stays in the pool and learns to swim, or gets out early and goes with his mom to Dairy Queen for Heath Bar Blizzards, which ultimately give both of them brief, but crazy painful, ice cream headaches.

Begin At The Beginning. Hybrid Electric Vehicles Defined:

A hybrid is any vehicle that uses two or more sources of power – in today’s HEVs; the two sources are electricity (from batteries) and mechanical power (from a small internal combustion engine). HEVs can offer the very low emissions of electric vehicles with the power and range of gasoline vehicles. They also offer up to 30 more miles per gallon, perform as well as or better than, and are just as safe as any comparable gasoline-powered car – and they never have to be plugged in for recharging. Widespread use of HEVs would help reduce our nation’s growing dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by one-third to one-half.

Not all hybrids are alike. There are many ways to combine the engine, motor/generator, and battery. Three basic hybrid configurations are the series, parallel, and split (or through-the-road) designs.

With the series configuration, the engine never directly powers the car. Instead, the engine drives the generator, and the generator can either charge the batteries or power an electric motor that drives the wheels.

In the case of the parallel configuration, the engine connects to the transmission, as do the batteries and the electric motor. So both the engine and the generator/motor can supply power to the wheels, switching back and forth as driving conditions vary.

The engine drives one axle and the electric motor drives the other in the split configuration. There is no connection between the engine and the electric components except “through the road.”

What’s The Deal With The Batteries? The Shocking Truth: Battery Lifespan And Disposal:

Hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of a vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the manufacturer.

Hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. Nickel metal hydride batteries are non-toxic and can be fully recycled.

Quick Stats:

- Prices start at $24,400
- 42 mpg city / 36 mpg hwy
- Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV)
- 158-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 40-hp electric power motor
- Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT)
- Hybrid models available in CA, CT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, RI, and VT.



Standard Warranty:

Every Nissan is backed by a 36-month/36,000-mile limited vehicle coverage and a 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain coverage. (For complete information, see your Nissan dealer and read the actual limited warranty.) For extra protection, you can also add Security+Plus®, the only extended service agreement approved by Nissan.

Link To Tax Credit Summary:

Tax Credit Summary (PDF)

Link To IRS Certification:

IRS Certification (PDF)

Things People Like About The Altima Hybrid:

- Enough torque to enable peppy take-offs and power you up hills.
- It can achieve 40 mph on just electricity (depending on your terrain).
- Very good visibility, including a back-out camera and a noticeable lack of blind spots.
- Lots of interior room.

Things People Don’t Like About The Altima Hybrid:

- Doesn’t corner well and the steering is soft.
- Engine is really noisy, especially during the transition from the electric motor to the gas motor.
- Tiny trunk (9.1 cubic feet).

Recall Info:

Nothing much to report. We have yet to see any recalls for the Altima Hybrid.

Long List Of Standard Features:

- Adaptive Automatic Transmission
- Xtronic(TM) Continuously Variable Electronically Controlled Adaptive Automatic Transmission With Overdrive
- Steering
- Tilt Steering Column
- Power Vehicle Speed Sensing Rack and Pinion Variable Assisted Steering
- Telescopic Steering Column
- Suspension
- Independent Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Independent Multi-Link Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- 17.3-mm Rear Stabilizer Bar
- 244.8-Volt Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery
- Delayed Power Retention Operates Windows and Sunroof (If Equipped)
- 2 Front Power Outlets
- Audio Pre-Wiring
- Braking & Traction
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Front Power 297-mm X 26-mm Vented Disc and Rear Power 292-mm X 9-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution
- Traction Control
- Electronic Brake Assistance
- Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) Vehicle Stability Control System
- Seat Mounted Front Side Airbags
- Passenger Airbag Cutoff
- Front and Rear Side Head Curtain Airbags Located In Roof
- Trunk Anti-Trap Device
- Driver Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment
- Passenger Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment
- Front and Rear Automatic Locking Retractors
- Front and Rear Crumple Zones
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Rear 3-Point Center Seatbelt
- Front and Rear Outboard 3-Point Seatbelts
- Front Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Child Safety Door Locks Located On Rear Doors
- Power Door Locks
- Vehicle Anti-Theft Via Engine Immobilizer
- Remote Controls & Remote Releases
- Intelligent Key Card Key
- Remote Decklid Release
- Remote Fuel Door Release
- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob
- Multi-Function Remote Operates Door Lock/Unlock, Panic Alarm and Trunk Release
- Panic Alarm
- Cloth Seats
- Driver Power Seat Adjusts 6 Ways Total
- Front Dual Reclining Bucket Seats, Passenger Side Manually Adjusts 4-Ways Total With Driver Adjustable Seat Height and Adjustable Headrests
- Rear 60/40 Split Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests and Fold-Down Center - Armrest
- Covered Lower Console Storage Located On Floor
- Coinholder
- 2 Front and 2 Rear, 4 Cupholders Total
- Front Dual Door Mounted Storage
- Lockable and Illuminated Glovebox
- Overhead Console Storage
- Front Dual Seatback Storage Pockets
- Steering Wheel Mounted Controls For Cruise Control
- Tachometer
- Trip Computer
- Electroluminescent Instrumentation
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Battery Gauge
- Clock
- Cruise Control
- Engine Start/Stop Button
- Exterior Temperature Gauge
- Illuminated Entry Includes Ignition Key Surround
- Trunk Light
- Front and Rear Reading Lights
- Exterior Lighting
- Halogen Headlights
- Radio Antenna
- AM/FM Radio With 6 Speakers Total; CD Player
- Automatic Climate Control
- Rear Heater Ducts
- Interior Air Filter
- Separate Driver/Front Passenger Climate Controls
- Interior, Design, Decor & Floor Covering
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Trunk
- Compact Spare Tire
- SBRP215/60R16, Continental Conti Pro Contact All-Season Tires
- Alloy Wheels, 16-In. X 7-In.
- Windows, Mirrors & Wipers
- Dual Body Color Power Adjustable Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Dual Vanity Mirrors
- Power Window Lockout
- Power Windows With Driver One-Touch Up, One-Touch Down and Pinch Protection
- Rear Window Defroster
- Green Tinted Glass
- Front Dual Sunvisors
- Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Front and Rear Body Color 2.5-MPH Impact-Absorbing Bumpers
- Splash Guards
- Front Air Dam
- Metallic Paint (If Selected)
- Chrome Located On Exhaust Pipe