The Altima Hybrid boasts a sportier profile and more horsepower than the Toyota Camry Hybrid, with which it shares its hybrid DNA. Unlike the Camry Hybrid, the base-level Altima is stripped down in terms of cabin tech. Those wanting gadgetry will find themselves paying dearly for the option, but those who do make the investment will not be disappointed.
We particularly like the colorful menus for navigating the digital audio libraries. The LCD display shows full ID3 tag information for WMA- and MP3 disc files.
With 198 net horsepower, the 2007 Nissan Altima hybrid feels quick around the city and adequately powered on the highway. The drive train is motivated by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine from the standard Altima, assisted by a 40-horsepower electric motor, which is part of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system sourced from Toyota.
One of the most advanced tech features of the Altima Hybrid is its navigation system's ability to serve up live traffic via XM NavTraffic. One option allows drivers to see, at a glance, a list of nearby traffic incidents.
In true hybrid fashion, the Altima Hybrid has a couple of gauges dedicated to informing the driver of the current state of hybridity: a gauge to the right of the steering wheel shows the level of juice left in the battery, while in place of a tachometer, a power meter shows what kind of electric charge is being used.
Keyless entry and push-button start are a couple of the few standard features on the 2007 Altima Hybrid.
The Altima hybrid is happiest in the city, where the EPA estimates that it will get an average gas mileage of 42mpg, according to its current ratings system. Our observed fuel economy was 34.1mpg, which is far closer to the EPA's revised 2008 estimates of 35 city/33 highway.
Like other hybrids we've seen, the Altima's regenerative braking translates the car's kinetic braking energy into electrical charge, which is stored in the battery. The amount of energy recaptured in braking is displayed on the Energy chart on the in-dash LCD screen.
Stylish features of the Altima Hybrid's cabin include the digital displays in the temperature controls, showing driver and front passenger their respective climate settings.
As part of the Technology or Communication Packages, the Altima Hybrid can be optioned up with an in-dash six-disc CD changer that can play MP3 and WMA encoded discs. With the option, the Altima Hybrid also gets an accessible auxiliary input jack.
Also as part of the Technology Package, the Altima Hybrid gets a rear-view camera complete with guidance lines.
The Bluetooth interface on the Altima Hybrid is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly systems available.
Drivers can punch in destinations on the in-dash touch screen.
For individual accidents, the navigation system provides detailed information about location and the nature of the incident.