Nissan Altima Hybrid Test Drive - Give us Your Report!

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
edited April 2014 in Nissan
Now that they're starting to hit the lots, this is the place to give us your test drive review of the Altima hybrid!


  • robh243robh243 Member Posts: 4
    I'm a salesman for a Nissan dealer in central NY. We just got a Hybrid Altima in a couple of weeks ago but it's been so cold that no one has come to look at it really. I took it out for a drive and it's actually pretty cool. I think the "older folks" might have a problem with the engine starting and stopping going between the gas and electric modes. Younger people have more of an ability to adapt and will fing the fuel economy outstanding. It's funny to see the fuel economy estimates reversed 42mpg city 36 hwy. The car has great lines and is nicely equipped.

    Rob :shades:
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    So, it's out there, I've test driven one, but you still can't build one on the Nissan USA website. That is a little irritating, and probably not helping Nissan in marketing the vehicle. It was a quick drive, but I was pretty impressed with the sporty feel and responsive acceleration. I was a little discouraged by the jerkiness of the gas motor engaging after the vehicle was in EV only mode, and I was wondering if this is typical for the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system that Nissan borrowed from Toyota. It would be nice if any Camry Hybrid owners could way in on that, as I have a Honda Civic Hybrid and the electric and gas systems are always on together and there is never any jerky feeling. Also, I'd like to see one of the major auto magazines do a full up review of the production version before purchasing one. (The Motortrend article, mentioned before on a different thread was on a engineering prototype.)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    Having owned nothing but Datsun/Nissan vehicles since 1979, the new Altima might get me to take a test drive and run a hybrid through its paces. (Shh... don't tell my Versa as it's only a week old! :P )
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    Albeit, not very comprehensive Autoweek took one out for a test drive and had this to say: HISWEEKSISSUE

    I'm not sure if the actual magazine has more information, but if anybody out there has more experiences to share, lets get them on this thread.
  • wannabgreenwannabgreen Member Posts: 1
    I test drove an Altima Hybrid yesterday, along with Camry Hybrid, Civic Hybrid, and I currently own Prius Hybrid (Touring version and am interested in getting one more hybrid)), so for what it's worth here is my take on it.
    Power & CVT performance:
    Civic - Drag (loud/noisy), Camry - reasonable (noisy), Prius - Better(less noisy), Altima - Pretty good (least noisy).
    Drive feel/Handling: Civic - Sporty (but bumpy), Prius – confident/smooth, Camry - confident/smooth, Altima - smooth (just a hint of stiffness) & not as confident as the Camry, but very quiet ride.
    Interior (fit/finish/feel): Civic – bright/loud, more for the younger crowd, Camry – functional, but almost a bit gaudy, Prius - Space age but with a hint of
    conservatism, Altima - quite acceptable (just a hind of
    In conclusion, Altima does feel that you are driving a normal car, while others don't. Civic was a bit disappointing.
  • pushlatencypushlatency Member Posts: 2
    Hi, I'm seriously considering purchasing an Altima hybrid in NY, however after looking at it, the dealer has been telling me that there is a 3,000 discount on the first three hybrids each dealership sells. Effectively after the first three are sold, the price of the vehicle goes up 3,000 dollars.

    Has anyone come across this before, because I'm 99% certain this is BS. Especially coming from a salesperson that vehemently denied that the hybrid system was of Toyota origin.

    Also, have any of the Altima Hybrids the rest of you have driven been fully equipped? Everyone I've seen has been a base model with cloth and little or no options. I'm curious if more nicely equipped vehicles are available on the market.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    The hybrid is not available here in PA, but I'll ask my sales guy here if they ever hav run a dealer promotion discount like that. I've been buying cars from the same Nissan dealership and salesman since 1979 and I don't ever recall the pot being sweetened in that way.
  • twq83twq83 Member Posts: 19
    To Answer your Question about the Hybrid Drive in the Camry Hybrid .......... NO it does not "Clunk/shutter" when shutting down OR starting the 4Cly ICE ......... They Rented the technology but not the Engineering ......... They rented everything ........ MFD Symbols are the Same, Volt Meter Same. It's a Camry Hybrid in a Altima Skin with a slightly bigger Engine ( 2.7 vs 2.4 ), a worse frame and an Altima Interior. :confuse:

    I'de be worried to see if it get's the normal growing pains or if it has it's own Nissan set of Problems........ Only time will tell.

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice. ;)
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    first off, it's a 2.5 not a 2.7

    not sure which frame is "better" but i know the altima's frame is improved and stiffer

    the 2007 altima interior is much better then the previous generations. quite frankly, i sat in the camry hybrid and felt it to be very cheap inside. things didn't have the "right feel" (very subjective) and i was in a camry hybrid with leather and the works. i just feel the altima's black leather/chrome feels more expensive (but again, very subjective)
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    This past weekend, I went with my wife to test drive and compare the Nissan Altima Hybrid vs. the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

    Toyota Camry Hybrid:
    Well, we arrived at the Toyota Dealership (I'm not saying it was or was NOT in Cerritos, CA), and we were immediately swarmed by a Salesman upon stepping out of the car. He very blatantly asked, "So, you're going to buy car from me today, right?" And I very blatantly told him, "NO!" I told him that I would like to test drive a Camry Hybrid. After this he was conveniently, paged...and I never saw his face again. Then another salesman pointed us in the direction of a Camry Hybrid on the lot. It was a stripped version...Black w/Cloth Tan Interior. I explained that I would like to drive one with a Leather Interior, and a Moon Roof. He then wondered off leaving us on the lot for about 10 minutes. Fed up, we walked across the street to the Nissan Dealer...we did end up driving a Camry Hybrid, but I'll get back to that later…

    Nissan Altima Hybrid:
    So this was my second test drive of the Altima Hybrid, and my wife's first. This particular dealer had one with a connection package. It was Red w/Black leather interior. First things first, the salesman (Ernie), was very nice. He showed us what was under the hood, and popped the trunk. Upon looking under the hood, I immediately realized that long term maintenance on this car would be extremely difficult. Yes, I know you are not supposed to do ANYTHING to a hybrid yourself, but I'm guessing that's going to change over the course of 10 years of ownership...after all I don't want to be shelling out $200 for an oil change, when I could do it myself for $20 with Synthetic Oil and a High Performance Filter. For the life of me, I could not locate the dang oil filter under the hood. I got down on one knee and couldn't see it from immediately under the car either. The salesman theorized on its location, but couldn't find it either. Bottom line, there is a lot of stuff crammed up under the hood, and it would be difficult to maintain. On a positive note, I did notice a lot of metal components under the hood. This was very nice to see when most of the American Automakers are going to plastics and rubbers to save cost.

    My wife asked the salesman a series of questions regarding the safety of the key FOB device. If you are sitting in the car with the doors locked, and a person (i.e. car theft or other criminal) approaches the car from the outside, the automatic unlock/lock button located on the door handle gets disabled, so the criminal wouldn’t be able to just walk up to your car and open the door, even though the key FOB is within range. The car is smart enough to know when the key FOB is inside the car, so it won’t let you lock your keys in the car, either. If your key FOB battery dies, you are screwed. Since, the key FOB is responsible for telling the computer that you are in the car, if the battery dies, it can’t tell the computer, and you, consequently, can’t start the car. You’ll have to have someone bring you a spare, and take the dead one back to Nissan for replacement.

    Now, on to the test drive. This was my second time driving the car, and I must say, I was more impressed the second time around. During my first test drive, I noticed some jerkiness when the ICE engaged. None of that happened this second time around. ICE engagement was very smooth. The car handles very well, and I attribute that to the drive-by-wire steering on the Hybrid. You point the car in the direction you want to go, and there is no hesitation, the car just goes in that direction. I was able to take the car through a mini slalom course – a couple of tight hard turns, and was super impressed with the grip and the handling. I noticed that the Nissan was quick to engage the EV Only Mode when cruising when compared to the Toyota. This must be something Nissan did with the software because I could not get the Toyota to switch into EV Only Mode when cruising at all. This will save you on gas in the long run, especially if you do a lot of city driving at 45-55 mph, or even on a highway (when it’s moving). Now, if the city could only time the dang lights…back to the test drive. We pulled into an empty parking lot, where I attempted to fake parallel park the car, before my wife took over for her part of the test drive. Since, she was driving it gave me a chance to start playing with all the gadgets. The Nissan Altima Hybrid has Dual Climate Control – great for those of us who are married. My wife is always cold, I’m always hot, and so this works perfect. The Bose Stereo System was quite impressive. Although, I didn’t have the guts to turn it up loud enough to drown out my wife’s singing, I tried. It was crystal clear sound with a great deep bass, and clear treble – just what Bose is known for. After the test drive, I wanted to check out the trunk again. Upon careful inspection, I determined that I think it could fit possibly 2 suit cases, and 2 golf bags, but that depends on the size of your suitcases. The trunk is very tall but not very deep. It would be a challenge, but I think it could be done.

    Toyota Camry Hybrid:
    Well, it was back to the Toyota Dealership where things didn’t get much better. We ended up with a super Arrogant “Toyota is the best, why would you even consider buying anything else salesman.” So let me comment here, I’m a little arrogant, and gross arrogance gets people in trouble, and if this is common to how Toyota is doing business, they will not be on top for long. GM, Boeing…arrogance got the better of these companies.

    After another 30 minute wait or so, we finally got to test drive a shiny Toyota Camry Hybrid that the salesman brought down from the garage. It was Red w/Tan Leather, and it was loaded. The Nav didn’t work because there was no DVD in the system, which was a little disheartening, as I wanted to play with the cool toys. The salesman was just wrong on many points he tried to make, including by saying that the Camry didn’t have a CVT because CVTs are poorly engineered and have problems with low-end torque and long term maintenance. He said that the Camry Hybrid that we were driving had a 6-Speed AT. WRONG! CVTs are actually a much simpler design than geared automatic trans, and will most likely be easier to maintain. The salesman really should have asked what I did for a living, because maybe he wouldn’t have said such foolish things if he knew I was an engineer.

    Anyways, trying to subtract the horrible experience with the sales guy, and actually evaluate the car is a challenge. The car drove fine. I would compare it to a Buick handling. Its not sporty, and it kind of sloshes through the turns. The sales guy was careful to not put this to the test by taking us down the “mini-slalom” I described earlier. Mostly parking lots and city streets for this car.
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    The acceleration was fine, but not as quick or as torquey as the Altima. The seats were comfortable, and the stereo was good. The trunk in the Camry seemed to have more usable space. It also, had a small pass through (about 36” x 10”) into the cab with 60/40 split rear seats, something the Altima does NOT have at all. Overall, the trunk in the Camry is better than the Altima.

    Both my wife and I liked the Altima better than the Camry. I thought it drove better, had better performance, better acceleration, and I liked the driving position better in the Altima. The trunk in the Camry takes advantage of the space available better than the Altima (even though the Altima, technically has a bigger trunk). The cars are very close in overall creature comfort. You will like the Altima if you are looking for something a little sportier. You will like the Camry if you are looking for something a little more conservative. For me, the Camry was going to have to be in a league of its own to justify the now, $650 Federal Tax Credit, and the higher sticker price. The Altima has a $2300 Federal Tax Credit, and a lower sticker price when comparably equipped. Soon, I will most likely be the proud owner of a new Nissan Altima Hybrid. I hope this review can help others in making their decisions. Thanks…
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204

    In regard to the "hybrid tax credit" -

    Don't be fuelish and base ANY PART of your decision on the tax credit.

    MANY MANY people did not get the full credit for the 2006 tax year based on their personal tax situation.

    I'm not the one to say either way for YOU, but you must, as a proper planner, take into account the possibility that you would get ZERO tax benefit from either car.

    You might get $650 for the Altima, or zero.

    Look around at some of the hybrid forums for more information.image
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    Except in Canada, where it's not a "tax credit", it's a rebate. :) $1500 for either car mentioned here, $2000 for the Prius or Civic hybrid.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    happy hybrid, if you don't owe AMT, you should be fine to get the $2300 back.

    I'm not sure about this, but I think the oil filter can be accessed if you took off the front passenger wheel. that's where it was for my sentra that had "almost" the same engine.
  • newcarsnewcars Member Posts: 103
    Congratulations on your new Nissan Altima Hybrid!

    I myself am a very satisfied owner of a Toyota Camry Hybrid but, being honest, if the Altima Hybrid was available when I purchased my last car (I bought in September 2006), there is at least half a chance that I would have traveled to Pennsylvania and purchased one.

    Also, my apologies for the terrible Toyota dealership. Again being honest, if my Toyota dealer was as rude and misinformed as yours was, I probably would have waited and bought an Altima Hybrid regardless. Black on black with the Technology Package.

    Just a quibble a bit with you -- and forgive me but honestly it is only a small quibble -- but although I agree that the Altima has better handling than the Camry Hybrid (at least the non-hybrid Altimas do), I actually think the Camry Hybrid isn't half bad. Trust me, I hate the "neo-Buick" ride of most Toyotas -- and because of that, am still a little surprised at myself for even looking at the Camry Hybrid -- but I honestly think the extra weight of the battery in the Camry Hybrid plants and balances the car much better. Again, not up to Altima standards but definitely much better than most Toyotas. If your test drive was that bad, perhaps you just got a bad car.

    Also, I am curious about your gas mileage. The one very surprising thing that a recent issue of Car and Driver magazine mentioned with the Altima Hybrid was surprisingly bad gas mileage. Although they took it on the test track, they (and I) expected better mileage than something in the mid-20's. (And note that in fairness to Car and Driver magazine, they said they took it on the test track in addition to "regular" driving, not that the only thing they did was take on the track.)

    For the record, through all types of weather and with many short trips (my daily commute is only three miles to and from the train station), I am averaging about 38mpg. I am honestly curious as to what your real world mileage will be.
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    larsb - Thanks for lookin' out, but I don't owe AMT, and I've already taken that into consideration.

    langjie - Exactly. Thanks. What a weird place to put an oil filter!

    newcars - I don't own one yet, but thanks for the pre-congratulations. Its all about personal preference. Having not driven other Toyota's other than Tundra, I can't comment on how bad the handling was on the Camry Hybrid compared to the other sedans. I just don't feel like it was as good as the Altima. That Car and Driver is full of Shnikey. There is no way that under normal driving conditions you would ever get that poor of gas mileage. I read that article. It was trash. The journalist writing the article was not being objective. He published a Test-Track Mileage of 23 mpg on a Hybrid! What an idiot! In my test drive, I was consistantly getting the vehicle to switch over to EV Only Mode while cruising. That means gas mileage off the freakin' charts...and I'm not a very conservative driver. Shame on you Car and Driver!
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    Just took one for a drive. Salesman says leather not available in Canada, though it is mentioned on the Nissan on-line site. Car had just about everything else, including "smart key" (just keep the fob in your pocket and use the start/stop button). State of Charge (SOC) was low when he started it, and it wasn't warm out (just below freezing), so the engine ran for almost the entire test drive. Still, I had no problem getting the mileage meter way down in the 3-5 L/100 km area. Salesman stayed at the dealership (West End Nissan in Edmonton Alberta) and let me "play" by myself.

    Handling was pretty good with good feel as well. I didn't want to overcook it as the roads were wet with snow and ice on the shoulders. The roads here are in terrible shape with deep potholes everywhere after an unusually rapid and frequent freeze-thaw cycle winter. This was not a problem for this car - it didn't "vibrate" going through them, didn't waver, and was fairly quiet when it went over the potholes. Nice to have 16" wheels.

    I was amused with Nissan's way of displaying info Toyota uses the MFD for (Prius). A "tachometer like" power gauge (in the place on the dash where you would expect to find a tach), with a separate horizontal bar graph indicating current dynamic mileage and a SOC meter as well. I didn't see any indication of cumulative mileage. The power gauge also shows brake regen., by moving the needle counterclockwise. So clockwise is power out of the system, and counterclockwise is power back in. It doesn't show the energy the ICE puts into the battery as far as I could tell except the SOC meter slowly moves up.

    I wondered if the car might be a little "gutless" but it seemed just fine in the city. The ICE is Nissan's 2.5 L four, tuned for the Atkinson cycle, so it puts out a lot less HP than the Altima 2.5S engine. The electric motor/generator compensates well for this loss of HP.

    I couldn't feel the car transition from regen braking to hydraulic braking. Nicely done, Nissan. In fact, the car was very smooth in everything I asked it to do.

    About two blocks before I returned to the dealership, the SOC and temps were high enough the ICE started to shut down from time to time. It wasn't a long test drive - about 4 km and 15 min.

    All in all, quite nice. The car sells for about $32,000 Can., $36,000 including all taxes (reg. and licence are always separate and the owners responsibility in Canada and amount to less than $200). The Hybrid Altima is aimed at being competition for the Camry, and an equivalent Camry is about $3000 more. In fact, even the Prius, with equivalent equipment, is about $2000 more.
    If you don't want people to know you're driving a hybrid, this is one good choise along with the Camry and Civic. It looks the same as all the thousands of "normal" Altimas on the road, except it has a rear spoiler. Curiously, the Hybrid Altima is a little higher than the "normal" version. I couldn't figure out why. Perhaps because of the slightly higher weight, Nissan put in a slightly taller suspention.

    They're making my decision more difficult - Pruis, Civic Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, or Altima Hybrid! :)
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    pathstar1: atkinson cycle? i haven't found or read anything about nissan tuning it for the atkinson cycle. i just know the compression ratio is lower.

    happy_hybrid1 and newcars: go to to get real world mpg ratings NAH is at about 34 avg with 2 people posting their mileage
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    You "know" the compression ratio is lower? Are you sure, because that would decrease the mileage. The reason they use the atkinson cycle is it allows the compression ratio to be raised and the burn cycle to be longer, therefore more efficient. For better mileage. Prius, Civic, and Camry use the atkinson cycle. When you use that cycle you get less HP but more efficient use of the fuel. I don't see any listings of compression ratio on the Nissan sites, and my statement was really just a guess, based on the other hybrid cars, but mainly on the statement that Nissan has licenced the technology from Toyota. Toyota use the atkinson cycle, so I -assume- Nissan does as well.

    It would be nice to find out for sure.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    ok, i checked regular 2.5 is 9.5:1, hybrid is 9.6:1

    i'm not sure what they did, i do know that nissan had to redesign the engine a bit to fit in the electric motor.

    i'm not sure if it's an atkinson cycle engine though
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    I guess I should have checked Nissan News. Haven't gone there in a few months.
    I'm pretty sure it's an atkinson cycle. It's lower HP and more fuel efficient. Basically what the atkinson cycle does is change the valve timing. That raises the effective compression ratio. The idea is to -completely- burn the fuel, even if it means a loss of power. The otto cycle (what we normally see in an ICE) is optimized for power out. This tends to waste some fuel (which burns in the exhaust manifold and the cat).
    A friend used to own a Sentra Spec V. When I told him about the test drive and how easy it was to save fuel while driving, he commented "good to see they didn't use the 2.5L engine, as it was a fuel gobbler". I guess it's amazing what can be done with that engine. BTW, you don't want to be running that engine at really high RPM. The counterbalancer system has a reputation of failing with that kind of abuse. Those racing the Spec V remove the counterbalancer system so it will not fail on the track. I'm pretty sure this doesn't apply to the hybrid though. It runs the engine up to about 5500-6000 RPM. A safe area.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    haha, my 2002 spec v ran up to 6200 rpm (i hit it twice)
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Member Posts: 33
    In the last three days my wife and I have test driven the Camry and the Altima Hybrids. We both preferred the Altima over the Camry. We felt that it had more power; that there was not as much marked hesitation when you backed off on the throttle; that the ride was much closer to the 99 Acura RL that we are replacing; it was quieter; that the interior styling felt more upscale; and the headrest did not lean as far forward as the Camry, which my wife found very uncomfortable (I have turned the headrests on my 05 RAV4 around because of this). All in all, we were very pleased with the Altima to replace my wife's Acura in a style that better matches the RL.

    On the mpg issue, the reports that I am seeing everywhere BUT Car and Driver is the 35-37 mpg is what you can expect.

    I searched the inventory for San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties and only found one vehicle with tech package. All the rest were the basic model. Our local dealer could not find one in the color we want enroute as well. So it looks like we will have to order one.
  • happy_hybrid_1happy_hybrid_1 Member Posts: 41
    That is what I had to do to get mine. I'm not sure where you are located, but I went to Nissan of Garden Grove. They are pretty centrally located. I was able to order mine with all the bells and whistles I want. Talk to Lina, she will hook you up.
  • kannikanwokannikanwo Member Posts: 19
    I went and test drove both the Camry and Hybrid back to back within an hour of each other. I can say that I thought my mind was made up for the Camry but thought I should at least try the Altima.

    I am glad I did. Contrary to some of the magazine reviews, I felt that there was a significant driving performance difference. The Altima felt much more peppy. I understand that the Camry can also accelerate almost as quickly but you need to really step down hard on the accelerator.

    In terms of interior design, I found the two to be comparable although different. I read reviews that gave Camry the edge but I actually felt the Altima had marginally better material feel. I am not going to comment on the exterior design as I think that is purely personal preference.

    If you are interested in either hybrid, I highly encourage you to try them both out first.
  • gripperdongripperdon Member Posts: 17
    The Altma. All the reasons above. I got the Tech Package, The black Leather and Dark Slate Grey exterior. I could not believe that Nissan got the EV and switch over better than the Toyota did but they did! I liked the style of the Camry interior better but not the materials. I liked the rear end of the Camry better The from was close with a narrow win by the Camry. The camry has a powered Passenger seat. The Altma one touch both front windows, The Altma the rear View Camera and the turn signal mirrors. The Camry did not have MP3 on the 4 disk Cd changer. The knee bag a plus Particularly since I invented it almost 20 years ago in Michigan But the Altma Powered driver lumbar was nice.

    You have to make those trade offs your self But the drive train and the suspension and the feel and In my opinion the stats I have read from many user post favor the Altma by all most 2 mpg. :)
  • tomscot2tomscot2 Member Posts: 33
    We went back to our local Nissan dealer on Saturday with the intent of ordering one. However, they had a Silver one with black leather and nav package on the lot, the same one we had seen the week before and assumed it would have been sold. We took it.

    It turns out, the vehicle wasn't put in the computer inventory so that it wouldn't be seen by the other dealers. They wanted to sell it themselves.

    After 3 days, both my wife and I are ecstatic. We are switching from a 99 Acura RL. The only things that we are missing is the much smoother ride and driver's seat memory (I am 6"2" and she is 5"2"). Otherwise we like the car a lot. She loves the bluetooth phone connection and was actually able to use the nav system to find a restaurant for a breakfast meeting when she got to the neighborhood where she knew it was but wasn't sure of the exact location. This without hardly any playing around with it before hand (I thought I would be the only one using the nav! :) ).

    I, of course, liked the challenge of maximizing EV mode. I was able to drive to from the grocery store 3 blocks away with almost no gas engine.

    The best part is the my style conscious wife does like both the exterior and interior look.
  • psteng19psteng19 Member Posts: 3
    Congrats on your purchase.
    Trying to push my parents into one of these.
  • johajoha Member Posts: 7
    I've had my Altima Hybrid 8 weeks and taken two trips, so most of the 2000 miles were highway. 35 mpg is good for a 3450 lb car, but I wonder if it could be better, especially around town. My sense is that the gas engine runs too much, keeping the charge level at 75-80 %. As a result, the battery recharge from decelleration is often wasted. It seems to me that the engine computer should let the battery charge level drop to 30 % before running the gas engine to recharge. What is your experience?

    I agree with all of the good things owners have said about performance, handling, general quality, but I feel that the gas engine is unusually rough at low speed. I really like the low gear braking on the cvt. If you look ahead while driving, the low gear allows you to use the hydraulic brakes very little and to maximize battery recharge.

    I have a minor gripe about instruments. Who needs a speedometer with 160 mph, especially since some of that space could have been given to a tachometer even in the base model which I have. It has been more than 20 years since I have bought a car without a tach. I understand that high-option models have a tach in the nav screen, but a car of this cost and competence should have a tach in all models.

    About the tach, I would like to install one, but I need access to the engine control module. Does anyone know where the ecu is and how to get at it?

    Edmunds needs to update its description of the features of this car. Edmunds continues to repeat Nissan's earlier promise that base models have a power drivers seat. This falsehood was on Nissan's web site in April when I bought my car at long distance, relying on Nissan's description. After I complained to Nissan, Nissan said that their web site had a disclaimer of accuracy. Sometime in May, Nissan finally revised its web site, but Edmunds still has this false info.

    Despite my irritation over the power seat and my disappointment about the lack of a tach, I would definitely buy this car again. joha
  • saabgeorgesaabgeorge Member Posts: 22
    I'm not sure a tach would be of much use in the hybrid. You don't control the engine speed directly with the gas pedal. The computer decides what speed the engine runs at. The gas pedal just tells the computer that you want top go faster - the engine speeds up to a constant speed decided by the computer until the car is going fast enough and you back off the pedal. I believe the computer tries to keep the engine rpm somewhere between 1000 and 4000 rpm so there's no decision on your part if you're lugging the engine or over reving it. There's also a proportional relationship between the traction motor, the generator and the engine so that going the same speed under different conditions would result in the engine running at different speeds.

    I've been averaging just over 39 mpg for the first 1,000 miles.
  • johajoha Member Posts: 7
    Saabgeorge is correct that the engine computer, rather than your right foot, determines the engine speed. I'd like to have a tach to better know what the computer is doing with my car.

    I asked also about whether the computer on other Altima hybrids runs the engine to keep the battery at 75-80% almost all of the time, as mine does. Is my experience typical or not? Thanks.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    most hybrids keep the "actual" battery level between 40-80% because this will virtually eliminate battery memory. (not sure if the meter displays the full amount of battery or just the usable guess is usable)

    when i drive, and the battery level is high, it will keep it in EV mode longer then when the battery level is low, but you still need to baby the throttle in order to do this. i would say after i drop to about 50% on the gauge, the engine will turn on a lot more frequently
  • auntieshoesauntieshoes Member Posts: 14
    I thought there was a way to find out what the different packages include on the NissanUSA website, but I can't seem to figure that out now. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    I am definitely going to buy an Altima Hybrid this week, but now I need to figure out how I want it equipped.
    I also have 2 questions about the car:
    1) Has anyone had any problems with the keyless ignition system?
    2) What do you do if the car is left parked for a while and will not start?

  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    well, you're already on a website that tells you what each package is great

    1. i haven't, but i heard of some people who have. Nissan is developing a new key to fix a problem that keys have when they are right next toe a cell phone

    2. i think they have directions. i think you can charge the battery, but read the manual if this ever happens. there's free 3 year/36,000 roadside assistance on all new Nissan's
  • gripperdongripperdon Member Posts: 17
    The altima is a great car with lousy lousy lousy mileage. Barely getting 30mpg. The Camry guys seem to be doing 5 or more MPG better.

    No Fog lights Bad
    No Led tails BAD
    No HID head lights BAD
    Rear View Camera GOOD
    Auto up down Passenger GOOD
    MP3 Player GOOD
    6 disk CD Changer Good
    XM SAT Receiver Good
    No PLUG Both BAD
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    it's not really a car problem, mileage is more a you problem. there are plenty of people getting over 35, you just need to drive the car more efficiently. go to and you can compare the mileage. (i know, right now the numbers are a bit skewed with some of those damn californian drivers getting 28, but there are also people getting 38...personally, I get 36, but there is a learning curve)
  • kannikanwokannikanwo Member Posts: 19
    I am going to put this posting in for the benefit of all of those trying to decide between a NAH and TCH. I agonized over the choice for a couple of months and test drove both cars at least three times each. My main criteria choosing between the two were price, handling, styling and ride comfort. I have to say that with the NAH borrowing the hybrid system from the TCH the differences, IMO, were not large and I would have been happy with either. Here is how I assessed the two:

    Price - this is sort of a funning thing. A stripped NAH is being offered on the market (California) comes out cheaper than the TCH. The fully loaded NAH (with the technology package) comes out more than the TCH. The list price for both are pretty close when comparably equipped. My suspicion for most people is that they will get a better price, be it a NAH or TCH, based on the demand and supply of the models in their local markets. The NAH has the tax credit for those who can use it and that can be material to the cost consideration.

    Handling - I was rather surprised how much better the NAH handled given that both are family cars and share the same hybrid system. The Altima feels like it is quicker (not sure if it really is) and more stable in turns. These are family sedans so do not expect performance car handling from either.

    Styling - this is largely personal preference.

    Ride comfort - I was primarily concerned about quietness as bumpy roads don't bother me as much. I had a hard time comparing the two cars as I did not drive identical roads. The TCH and Camry have uniformly been praised for being quiet. I thought the TCH was more quiet. The NAH did not seem overly loud however and I found the NAH's speed sensitive radio to compensate for any noise.

    Conclusion - as I mentioned, I would have been fine with either the TCH or NAH. I choose the NAH.
  • gr8tfuldadgr8tfuldad Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone know a site that gives tips on the most fuel-efficient ways to drive a NAH? I've heard about the "pulse-and-glide" approach (getting to cruising speed then backing off the gas to use electric to maintain speed, especially on slight declines). But is there any real data on this or other approaches? Of course, I go electric at every opportunity, though not to the point of enraging the car behind me. I'm 3.5 weeks into my new, no-frills NAH, and love it, but with my first tank of gas (just finished it!) I got "only" 34 mpg. I'm aiming for 36-38. How can I get there?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    On most new cars, gas mileage improves over time, so it should increase without making any changes. There is no reason to start worrying about the very first few tanks of gas.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    i agree....mileage will see a 1-2 mpg increase
  • gr8tfuldadgr8tfuldad Member Posts: 3
    Thanks - I'm not worried, and it's good to know that it will go up with time, but I was just wondering whether "pulse and glide" was really the right strategy with hybrids, or whether it's better to set cruise control and maintain a steady rate. Does anyone out there have any hard facts on the matter?
  • mshinmshin Member Posts: 1
    I'm new to this forum thing so I'm not quite sure how things work here... I bought my new Altima hybrid a few days ago. I test drove both Camry and Altima and preferred Altima's handling and acceleration better. I think Camry's ride was a little bit more refined but a bit too soft for me.

    I had a question for the car experts. I haven't read my manual yet but does anyone know when the blue light comes on on top of the battery gauge- what does that mean? It would come on sometimes and then go away. I don't know if this is supposed to be telling me something (something wrong?) or is this not supposed to be happening at all? I think it has to do with the battery status but not sure why it keeps coming on and off. Thanks.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    i'm not sure, i think i use the pulse and glide method....

    i don't use cruise control because i think that it uses more power than what i can with my foot. try it out and let me know...just keep your eye on the power meter
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    the blue light means the oil temperature is low...this is only during warm up time, just give it at least 30 seconds to warm up to make sure all the fluids have time to circulate through the engine
  • saabgeorgesaabgeorge Member Posts: 22
    Actually the blue light is for low coolant temperature - which would indirectly mean the oil temperature as well. Because the battery meter takes the space where the coolant temperature guage is nornally located in the non-hybrid Altima, Nissan uses the blue light to indicate low coolant temperature. There's also a identical red symbol to indicate high temperature - hopefully you'll never see that one except for the warning light check when you first turn on the ignition.
  • langjielangjie Member Posts: 250
    oh, haha
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Member Posts: 98
    We are careful car buyers. We decided about a year ago that we'd get a hybrid, but the whole concept being relatively new, we wanted to wait until most of the major car companies had come to market with their offerings. About 2 months ago, we started searching in earnest. I was interested in a mid-sized SUV, such as the Saturn Greenline, Ford Escape, or Toyota Highlander. My wife wanted a sedan (without giving away the rest of the story, make a guess at what we finally got. ;-) ) The Saturn Greenline had all the acceleration of a donkey pulling a load of dirt. In a word, abysmal. The Ford Escape was very poorly-made, and in spite of Toyota Synergy guts, it was unimpressive. The Toyota was frighteningly expensive and we didn't feel it worth the money. Additionally, as a car magazine tester said, "It had all the excitement of a room temprature glass of water." OK. So what's next?

    We went to a local auto mall with the full intention of working our way down the manufacturers' hybrid offerings. Just to be fair, we tried to get a second drive in the Escape. The salesman wasn't interested, and tried to steer us to an Explorer (thanks for sale). Then we went to Honda. The Civic was too tight (I'm over 6 feet tall). The door actually hit my shoulder and bounced off when I first tried to close it. No sale. We tried the Accord, and while not disappointed, it just didn't do much for us. Very vanilla car. Toyota came next. We ignored the Highlander (40K for a mid-sized SUV seems a bit excessive), and tried the Camry. Again. Nice car, but the entire car, including the "feel" of the thing, was beige. We have many friends with Priuses (or is that Prii?) and have driven them quite a bit, so no need for a test drive there. So far, of all the cars, the Camry seemed closest to what we wanted. If we could only find something a little sportier...what to do, what to do.....

    Nissan was next in line. We'd heard they'd just come out with a new Hybrid, but hadn't seen it and new virtually nothing about it (the internet mentioned Altimas, but there was very little information about the hybrid, including on Nissan's own website). We walked up to the door of the dealership (North Bay Nissan in Petaluma, California) and were greeted warmly by a salesman. When we told him what we wanted, he said, "Wait a sec...I'll get the keys". We very clearly told him we were just comparison shopping and were NOT going to buy a car. No worries. His attitude changed not one bit.

    Our salesman walked us out to the Altimas and said, "Here they are." He immediately began demonstration the keyless entry system, and got us into the car. Immediately, it felt right. Everything logically laid out, easy to understand, intuitive. Everything well made. Everything what you'd expect to get in a Japanese car. The salesman continued to tell us about the car, getting only a minor fact here or there wrong (and those facts were about competitors' cars..he's forgiven). After looking under the hood and recognizing very little of what we saw, we went for a test drive.

    Having experienced the casual acceleration and benign handling of the other hybrids, I fully expected the Altima to be yet another unimpressive car, performance-wise. I was wrong. The car accelerates like a V-6, and handles VERY well (maybe not Maserati quality, but pretty darned good for a 4-door sedan). Braking is sure and smooth, and the car corners with authority. Acceleration from 60 to 80 is truly excellent, but gas mileage goes out the window (or where every it goes when it disappears).

    After a short drive, we returned to the lot. Our salesman then said, "Why not sit in one of the fully-loaded models that's not a hybrid, but the fully-loaded hybrid will be just like this, when they come in?" We sat in the leather-wrapped interior, listening to the Bose stereo, and watching the XM traffic radio do its job, showing congestion on a nearby freeway. We were sold. We put our money down.

    We received our new hybrid in mid-June 07. Again, though the car was sold, the same salesman stepped us through the systems and things to look out for. Though he could have been spending time with new customers, he took the better part of an hour to get us comfortable in our new car. We have, since then, been driving the heck out of the car.

    Our early gas mileage wasn't very good. This is due partially to the fact that the engine hadn't broken in yet, and partially due to the fact that we hadn't learned how to drive a hybrid (like you have an egg between your foot and the gas pedal). At time has progressed, our highway mileage has nailed the EPA estimate of 36 MPG. Our city mileage is getting better, but currently hovers in the low 30's, well below the 46 MPG EPA estimate. No worries. It's a lot better than the full-sized SUV we just sold.

    Unlike other hybrids, the Altima is truly fun to drive for a leadfoot like me, as well as ecologically-responsible for people like my green-oriented wife. There is a VERY slight shudder when the gas engine kicks in (either due to a too heavy foot, or for the careful, at about 30 to 40 MPH) but once you get used to it, you don't even notice it. The other oddity is the total silence at red lights. Except for various whirrings in various parts of the vehicle (cooling fans?) the car is silent, waiting patiently for its next command from your foot.

    The body style, new for 2007 is a great-looking design, and is very rigid. No squeeks, rattles, or odd noises. At speed the car is as quiet as my friend's Lexus, and freeway performance is VERY good. All controls are at your fingertips, including steering wheel controls for radio, NAV system, blue tooth phone connections, and voice commands.

    We got the full "technology" package. The Altima basically comes in three flavors. Base-model (almost impossible to find), convenience package (various nice bits and pieces), and the top of the line Technology package, which includes Bose stereo, as I mentioned, a sun roof, XM, steering-wheel-mounted controls, NAV system, rear-view mirror that self-dims for bright following headlights, and on and on. If you can afford it, I highly recommend the tech package!

    This car is what I would call the "2nd Generation" hybrid vehicle. It is a car that addresses many Americans' need for sexy, performing steel, and yet gives a nod to the environment. Early hybrids, like the Prius (remember the original, boxy little things?) were low-performing, reasonably ugly little things, that had a total focus of gas mileage. The newer hybrids (did you know Porsche is about to come out with a hybrid SUV?) are aimed squarly at people who want green, but not too much of it.

    Don't get me wrong. This car is not a "greenwash" car (a vehicle that is touted to be a hybrid, but which gets abysmal gas mileage, and is only used for sales campaigns to make buyers think the company selling the c
  • maximafanmaximafan Member Posts: 592
    Thank you, Hiwayman for a very informative description of your experience with the new Altima Hybrid. I am really starting to get excited about a hybrid vehicle now that the
    Altima Hybrid is out. Right now I'm driving a
    2007 Lexus RX350, my first Toyota/Lexus product
    after driving Nissan products for the past ten years.

    While there has been a lot of nice things to
    have in my RX and the treatment at the Lexus
    dealership has been fantastic( just mainly going in for oil changes and tire rotations
    right now), I still miss driving a Nissan.
    My previous car was a 2002 Nissan Maxima. I loved that car. It was totaled in an accident;
    thus, I thought I'd try something different and
    got the Lexus. I still get nostalgic when I
    see the 2002 Maximas on the road and I still
    love what Nissan keeps producing, although I
    do love those Lexus interiors also. The only
    negative thing I would say about having a Nissan at this point is that the service guys that I have dealt with in the past(Again, mainly just oil changes and tire rotations with
    the Maxima also) have been less than stellar.
    To put it bluntly, these guys were just a bunch
    of grumps! It's a different story with my service advisor at Lexus. He's great to deal with.
    But now I've been reading about the Nissan Altima Hybrid and how it offers a little bit more sport with great gas mileage. That really
    is my cup of tea! So when my lease is up in
    three years, maybe the Altima Hybrid will be available in Florida so I can seriously consider buying one! :)
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Member Posts: 98
    Thanks for your kudos! I am reasonably agnostic when it comes to branding. I just look for value (well, OK, and cool cars). The difference between the Lexus dealership and the Nissan dealership isn't particularly surprising, since Lexuses (or is that Lexii?) are at the top of the heap for luxury and service experience. But then again, look what you paid for the two cars (even if you did lease). Lexus is all about service and support. Nissan is too, but they aren't driven to excellence to quite the same degree Lexus is. If possible, I'd try another Nissan dealership when the time comes. My own dealership, here in Northern California is excellent. The service writers are patient and polite and get the work done quickly. There is a big wall of awards on the wall in the show room, and they deserve them.

    I must say that I live in a very well-to-do area, and have several friends who own Lexus cars. I've ridden in them and driven them. While I wouldn't be so bold as to put an Altima in the same stratum as Lexus, I have to say that, for the money, it's a very nice car. It's the first Nissan car I've owned (I also have a small, very basic pickup truck). I am VERY pleased with the car. It is well made, well-engineered, and a good performer. I'm sold on Nissan! Oddly enough, if you look at the new Maximas, there is only a very small difference between the two models. I've heard rumors that the Maxima line is to be discontinued and the Altima put in it's place (you'll note that base-model Nissans are appearing at the bottom of the food chain..which may be an indicator that this is about to happen).
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    Maxima is unneeded. It is doesn't offer much you can't get on the Altima and if they try to take it further upmarket to differentiate it from the Altima, then it is stepping on Infiniti.
    All they can do is try to make it bigger and softer like an Avalon for buyers who want a $30-35K highway cruiser with a roomier back seat and will not be cross shopping against the sporty G35. Maybe they can call it the "Maxima Armarda" or something and give it a chrome grill and wood steering wheel.
    Just dump it.
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