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Nissan Altima Hybrid

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  • No problem. I personally have not driven a Camry Hybrid. I was infatuated with the new Camry when it was first released last year. I was convinced that my next car was going to be a Camry Hybrid, up until the LA Auto Show when I saw the Altima Hybrid. It's like Nissan just took what Toyota started and made it better. They tweaked on the Hybrid control software and mated the electric motor to their gasoline motor, and BAM +10 HP compared to the Camry. I still like the looks of the Camry, but I've been reading that the 4 Cylinder Camry has quite a few problems. Among those are a slow to respond transmission, poor paint quality, and bad form and fit causing rattling inside the cab. It sounds like Toyota has been learning a few things from GM. As they get bigger, Toyota's quality is bound to slip. Smaller companies that still have a lot to gain, typically, have better quality. On top of all that, if you are considering the hybrid market, keep in mind that the Federal Tax Credit for buying a Camry Hybrid is currently $1300 and after March 31, that drops to $650. Compare that to the $2300 Federal Tax Credit for the Altima Hybrid, and there are a lot of really GOOD reasons to get an Altima.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    hi, to answer some of the questions i read from this site

    the compression ratio is different because it's not exactly the same engine, they had to downsize it a bit in order to be able to fit the hybrid motor

    that 3000 "discount" was complete bs and wanted you to get in that car that day (scare tactic)

    i highly doubt these are high in demand cars, i ordered one in MASS and i got $1500 under msrp for a car with tech package
  • newcarsnewcars Posts: 103
    I am the very satisfied owner of a Camry Hybrid but I will add that I would have seriously considered an Altima Hybrid if it was available when a purchased. As a note, I bought my Camry Hybrid the last week of September 2006; just before the tax credit was halved.

    Unfortunately, I also do not live in a state where the Altima Hybrid is sold (but if it was available and I liked it, however, I would have traveled to a neighboring state to get it). Therefore, my comparisons are between a "normal" Altima and the Camry Hybrid.

    First off, I must address the issue of quality with the Camry. I had one problem, which I ranted and raved about: when I left it overnight at my dealership to have an accessory installed, it would not start the next day. Turns out, the workmen left one of my interior lights on overnight and it drained the battery by the next night. When they recharged the battery that night, the next day all was fine and I have not had one single problem since.

    Honestly, I attribute that "problem" to the dealership and, indeed, that is an issue with all hybrids: the cars will not start when the battery is drained or excessively low. And, being hybrids, you cannot just "jump" them but must recharge them.

    All in all, I think the quality of the Camry Hybrid is superior to that of the Altima. While you may be correct in that "Smaller companies that still have a lot to gain, typically, have better quality"; Toyota still has a lot to gain from making certain their hybrids are ultra-reliable.

    You may want to check the Toyota forums here, too. I think you will find that the new Camry Hybrid owners don't find nearly as much to complain about as the "regular" Camry owners.

    Personally, I like the interior of the Camry much better than the Altima. The new Altima is itself much better than the old model but I still don't think it quite matches that of the current Camry in terms of either style or quality. But that is, of course, a matter of personal taste.

    Driving wise, I was pleasantly surprised by the Camry Hybrid. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of Toyota's "neo-Buick" ride but I think the extra battery weight of the Camry Hybrid actually plants and balances the car better.

    Having said that, I still think the Altima rides better. The Altima is sportier than my hybrid but not quite as smooth. But all in all, I would prefer the Altima (but note again, I have not driven an Altima Hybrid to compare it to). It is a trade-off and, again, your preference may vary.

    I also must disagree that the engine(/hybrid/transmission combination) for the Altima is necessarily than that of the Camry Hybrid. The Altima Hybrid may have more horsepower but the latest EPA mileage report has the Toyota Hybrid very marginally rated better (43/38 for the Toyota compared to 42/36 for the Altima). Of interest, the latest issue of one of the car magazines has the Altima Hybrid averaging only in the mid-20's. A big disappointment, if true.

    I can personally attest to averaging over 35 mpg with my Toyota Camry and I am definitely not a passive driver.

    Plus, the 0-60 times reported so far in most of the car magazines have their respective times at about the same, if not the Camry as a little faster. This is interesting -- and has been especially noted by one of the car websites -- because the Camry Hybrid is actually the heavier car.

    You are correct about the tax credit. One thing to note is that if you are subject to the AMT, you might not get the full credit regardless. Also, historically Toyotas have had a better resale value than Nissans; perhaps ameliorating the tax credit disadvantage somewhat. But yes, generally speaking, the credit now for the Altima Hybrid is much, much better.

    Besides (or maybe despite) the above, other reasons to prefer the Altima Hybrid is the Technology Package. While it is expensive, the cost is somewhat ameliorated by the tax credit. And, unfortunately, Toyota does not have anything like the backup camera and "traffic sensing" XM radio/satellite NAV combination that you get with the Technology Package.

    All in all, its an interesting comparison between the Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Hybrid. And I personally think both are far better than the Honda Accord Hybrid.
  • Thank you for the insight into the world of Camry Hybrid - newcars.

    Let me first comment, that it is excellent to hear that the Toyota Camry Hybrid does not have some of the same problems as its gasoline only brother.

    Next, the quality problems that I mentioned were from www.edmunds.com and were actual problems reported by owners of the gasoline only 4 cylinder Camry. There is not much feedback available on Camry Hybrid. But, I digress.

    Of the problems that were noted, I'm not surprised that the transmission problem doesn't transfer to the Camry Hybrid because the Camry Hybrid gets a CVT compared to the 5 Speed Auto on Camry. That's good news. The form/fit problems in the interiors that some owners are complaining about, I expect to show up in some Camry Hybrids, unless the Camry Hybrid is assembled some place different then Camry. Same goes for the paint problems.

    Finally, let me address the fuel economy statement you made in your post. I don't know what magazine you saw those numbers in, but of the reputable magazines that are on the web, I have found no such information. The latest issue of "Automobile" puts the average gas mileage at 37 mpg for the Altima Hybrid. The mid 20s numbers you quote in your post, I think refer to the Altima, not the Altima Hybrid. Here are the latest links I could find to articles in the big Auto Mags.

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=4646
    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/hybrid/112_0702_2007_nissan_altima_hybrid/
    http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/2006_los_angeles/0611_2007_nissan_altima- _hybrid/index.html

    There is a lot of personal preference involved in making a decision as to which new car to buy. Some people will inevitably prefer the "neo-buick" ride of Camry Hybrid to that sportier ride of Altima Hybrid. Who knows I might be one of those people when I finally drive the car. Afterall, competition is a good thing...
  • That's great! You can special order these! AWESOME!

    Were you able to get your Altima Hybrid with the Technology Package and Leather? I've been searching the dealer inventories throughout the state of California, and I have yet to find an Altima Hybrid that comes with the Technology Package AND Leather. It seems if you upgrade to the Technology Package, you downgrade to cloth seats. I've seen the leather seats paired with the Connection Package w/XM or SIRIUS (HA-guess it doesn't matter which one you get now because they are merging), but no Leather on any Technology Packages.

    I think this sucks! If you get a car fully loaded, you should at least have the option of leather if you want it.
  • newcarsnewcars Posts: 103
    Thanks for the reply, happy_hybrid_1.

    For the record, I agree with you on the quality problems (relatively speaking) of the "normal" gas-only Toyota Camry. You are correct, they are well noted. I'm just saying that I have neither heard nor personally experienced the same things about the Camry Hybrid. And I do expect that because hybrids are a major investment, market differentiator as a brand and strategic initiative for Toyota (unlike Nissan), I would not be surprised if they "go over the quality twice" for their hybrid automobiles as opposed to their gas-only counterparts.

    Maybe the Camry Hybrid is perceived to be of higher quality because relatively fewer Camry Hybrids are sold or because the quality is just better (or both); I honestly don't know. I'm just reporting what I have heard and personally experienced.

    As for the reportedly bad gas mileage for the Altima Hybrid, it is in the latest issue of Car and Driver, which is not posted on the Internet yet. I don't have a copy right in front of me but I believe it is the April 2007 issue. While noting (like the online articles you reference) what the EPA estimates for the new Altima Hybrid is, Car and Driver did an actual road test and reported that their actual mileage was in the mid-20's.

    While YMMV (literally ;) ) I will report that I have never experienced mileage as bad as the mid-20's in my Toyota Camry. Even when making short trips (less than three miles) on very cold days when I had to first warm up the car.

    By the way, I will also say that my Camry warms up faster than any car I have ever had. Or even just road in. I suspect that this is a feature of the hybrid system and is not unique to the Toyota Camry Hybrid, however; I sincerely hope that Altima Hybrid owners benefit from the rapid warming, too.

    But back to the issue of the actual reported mileage of the Altima Hybrid. Again, I do not have the issue in front of me at the moment but it is the latest issue of Car and Driver. It is towards the back of the magazine, in their "Short Takes" section (I think that's what it's called) of short (one or two page) automotive reviews.

    Interestingly enough, this same issue of Car and Driver did not have universally good things to say about their "Long-Term" Lexus 400h Hybrid.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    happy hybrid....

    the tech package includes the leather package. in actuality, the tech package is $2000 and the additional 5,500 is the connection package which includes leather

    i will be getting my car in 6-13 days, with all the bells and whistles (minus wind deflector, and i will be installing my own kick plates)

    i think most of the tech package hybrids will be delivered mid-late march.
  • langjie

    Thanks for the reply. There's still hope. I checked the online inventories of all of the Nissan Dealer's in SoCal, and only a few had a vehicle in their inventory with a Technology Package, and of the vehicles that had the Technology Package, none of them had Leather. I thought this was Nissan's way of reducing costs and increasing their margin by only offering the cheaper cloth seats on the super expensive Technology Package. Also, the build tool on Nissan's website won't let you combine a Leather interior with the Technology Package option, thus confirming the information that I found in the dealer's inventories.

    Hence this new information that you are describing is refreshing. Are you 100% sure that at least some of the Technology Package hybrids that hit dealers will come with Leather, and that it is not only available by custom order?
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    if you go to carsdirect.com website, and you try to build an altima hybrid, click on the tech package (it will say included contents of connection package) when you click on the connection package (halfway through the options, it will say leather appointed seats)

    also, if you just check off the tech package, it will say leather seats (included) under the "seat and seat trim" section

    also, if you go to http://nissannews.com/nissan/2007vehicles/altima_hybrid/specs.shtml
    nissan's official webpage for news, at the bottom, it will list out everything that comes with the packages

    i'm baffled by you telling me you've seen a tech package without navi (that seems more like the custom order one)

    long story short, i'm 100% sure that 100% of the tech packaged hybrid has leather (maybe the one you saw had an aftermarket navi)

    connell nissan in costa mesa, ca has a tech package hybrid, you can email them and ask them for yourself
  • bogdanbogdan Posts: 10
    Regarding fuel economy, I was curious about the article in Car and Driver, so I went to read it. Doing a quick scan, I saw that they were indeed reviewing the Altima Hybrid, not the gasoline-only powered Altima 2.5S and sure enough they claimed it compiled an average MPG of 23, 1 MPG LOWER than its 2.5S stablemate.

    Disappointed, I put the magazine down, but I could not understand how C&D's numbers differed so dramatically from other MPG numbers mentioned here. I then went back and carefully re-read the section where MPG was mentioned and only there did the reviewer confess that the testing included "test track trashing". I'm not sure what self-respecting automobile publication publishes MPG numbers on a hybrid after it's been running on a test track, but considering the overall negative tone of the article, I suppose that the reviewer really didn't want to like the car and was looking for every last shred of evidence to support his case. I can also safely assume that the total time spent at a test track by the average Altima Hybrid buyer would be close to zero.

    Having said that, doing some digging on the web came up with Road & Track's estimate at 37MPG:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=4646

    Autoweek posted similar numbers (36.8MPG) in a blog:
    http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070216/FREE/70214003&Search- ID=73274861512255

    There was also some data from real-world users at www.fueleconomy.gov which posts numbers in the low 30s with a 40/60 mix of city/highway.

    For my part, I will probably wait for the Consumer Reports test. This is not to say that the CR test is any more valid, but at least their consistent testing methodology across cars ensures that they're comparing apples to apples.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    It's a great magazine if you're looking for a Honda, but they trash just about everyone else
  • This is good information. Thanks for digging it up. I too am looking forward to a Consumer Reports test. Any idea when that is going to happen?

    As of today, there have been 2 reviews posted on Edmunds.com, and the owners are loving it. 10.0 out of 10.0! Sweet...
  • I purchased one yesterday (March 13th) for a delivery by Monday. The dealer gave a hefty discount. I don't know what my package was called, but it came with most everything except the navigation. It has a list of $30,625 including destination, dealer took off $2121, net cost $28,504 plus tax and tags. I know everyone knows the fed. gives a rebate, does anyone know that NJ and most states give something also? It's not much, but it's a discount off ordinary income, it may be worth a few hundred in your pocket, I'm not sure, it seems vague.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Actually, you -can- "jump" a hybrid. On Toyotas and the Altima, which uses the same system, the 12 V battery that goes dead if you leave a light on, only "boots" the computers and closes the relays that connect the high voltage "traction battery" to the powerplant. Once that connection is made (the car is turned "on") the hybrid system takes over, using the traction battery to start the ICE (internal combustion engine) and charge the 12 V battery (it's charged by the electronics from the traction battery, not by an "alternator"). It takes only a few amps to get the system going.
    Once going one of the two MGs (motor generators) charges the traction battery, providing power to recharge the 12 V battery as well as power to move the car (via the other MG and the ICE).

    If you did leave a light on overnight, you would have to have the car "on" for a few hours to fully recharge the 12 V battery. BTW, fully discharging it is not good for any lead acid battery. Each time you do so it causes some damage, shortening its' life. Leaving it discharged for some time is much worse, so if you do manage to kill it, charge it up asap, either by running the car, or with a charger.

    The Hybrid Civic can have the same problem, but they have added an extra starter motor (12 V), so if the "traction battery" goes dead you can start the ICE with the 12 V battery.
    In the Toyota system, it's unlikely the traction battery will go dead. It's operated between 40% and 80% state of charge and is not allowed to go above or below those values. This is to ensure the battery lasts a long time (it's never overcharged or drained fully). I suspect the Civic is the same, so I'm not sure why they added the 12 V starter motor.

    BTW I'm told (by a dealer( we will not see the Hybrid Altima here in Canada until June.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    It's the connection package, but good deal! I got $1500 off for mine which STILL ISN'T HERE YET!!!! I was supposed to pick it up today, but it hasn't even been shipped yet, =T

    Enjoy your car though
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm new here. I need some major advice. I just got a job but it is about 40 miles away from my house. I leave early in the morning but still takes me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to work. So I drive 80 miles a day and I'm stuck in stop-and-go traffic the majority of the way.

    The H3 has been the car on my mind ever since it came out, but because of the gas prices, the distance, and conditions I have to drive in 5 days a week, it seems unreasonable. I would probably fill up once a week at $60?

    Should I sacrifice my dream car? My other option is to get the Altima Hybrid. Cheaper, more affordable, and definitely a gas saver. Any suggestions. Please help.
  • Wow, when I first saw this new conversation being started, I laughed thinking this was a joke, but no, you're not joking...

    Seriously! Completely different choices. Its almost kind of a battle between good (Hybrid) and evil (Hummer). I can sympathize with you somewhat though because I have always wanted a full-size pickup, and I fell in love with the F-150 when it came out. The reality is that automotive vehicles are easy to fall in love with, but equally as easy to hate after owning them and realizing the true cost of ownership. Seeing how gas is not going to get any cheaper, and if you live in one of the states that is offering the Altima Hybrid, you are already paying close to $3/gallon. That works out closer to $80/fillup. I know, I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and it gets 13 mpg, and has a 23 gallon tank. It sucks. Trust me. It sucks a lot. Truth be told, not many advances have been made in improving the efficiency of SUVs or Pickup trucks. Eventually, the hybrid technology will make its way into the larger auto segment as well. Honda is developing a Ridgeline Hybrid with a new generation of its own hybrid technology. It is due out in 2008 or 2009.

    My advice to you: Wait on the H3. Its not worth the total cost of ownership, and soon (5 years) there will be more fuel efficient big vehicles available, and then you can trade in for the H3 Hybrid...GM are you listening to this...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    I think this is going to come down to dollars and cents for you. Given your description of your daily driving conditions, you're probably going to spend at least twice as much operating the H3 compared to the Altima. You probably should look at long term items too. Tires for the H3 are certainly going to wear out faster AND cost more. And don't forget about what it's going cost to insure as well.

    If I'm looking at getting an H3, the Altima hybrid probably isn't on my radar.And if I'm considering the Altima, I doubt that the H3 is on my short list. Not the the typical comparison shopping dilemma :confuse:

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  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    if you can afford the h3 and are willing to dish out $250 a month for gas compared to $100 a month for gas, go for the H3...

    though at the price of $250 a month, you could buy the h3 for fun and buy a versa to commute
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Is there some reason you have left out the other hybrids from Toyota and Honda? I would think the Civic or Prius would be at the top of your list of hybrids that get good mileage. The Altima may have some early bugs to work out. If you are that far from work you do not need a vehicle in the shop. Just more choices to think about.
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