Last post on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:22 AM
You are in the Nissan Altima Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Nissan Altima Hybrid, Car Buying, Sedan
This is the place to post your test drive review of the new Nissan Altima Hybrid!
#11 of 76 Re: Nissan Altima Hybrid Test Drive [twq83]
Mar 26, 2007 (6:57 pm)
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)
#12 of 76 Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid
Apr 02, 2007 (12:01 pm)
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.
#13 of 76 Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid
Apr 02, 2007 (12:08 pm)
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…
#14 of 76 Re: Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid [happy_hybrid_
Apr 02, 2007 (1:54 pm)
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.
#15 of 76 Re: Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid [happy_hybrid_
Apr 03, 2007 (6:18 am)
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.
#16 of 76 i think he said wife and not children
Apr 03, 2007 (9:30 am)
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.
#17 of 76 Re: Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid [happy_hybrid
Apr 04, 2007 (9:42 am)
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.
#18 of 76 Re: Full Report: Nissan Altima Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid
Apr 04, 2007 (10:36 am)
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!
#19 of 76 Altima Hybrid test drive
Apr 05, 2007 (11:34 am)
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!
Apr 06, 2007 (7:48 am)
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 www.fueleconomy.com to get real world mpg ratings NAH is at about 34 avg with 2 people posting their mileage