>> Well how do you battle venerable Toyota and their Camry hybrid? If you're Nissan, you try to up this guy, the Altima hybrid. Let's go for a ride, Check the Tech.
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Now of course what's under the hood is a big deal on hybrid cars. This guy's a two and a half liter inline four gas engine, pretty chunky, does a hundred and fifty eight horsepower on its own, another hundred and sixty foot pounds of torque. But then couple that with the electric motor, which has forty horsepower, no big deal, but a hundred and ninety nine foot pounds more torque, big deal. Sounds a little bit like a sewing machine when it fires up, but very quiet when it's in auto stop or EV only mode. The MPG result is thirty five city and thirty three highway, through the electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. This is about the same economy as a Camry hybrid. I find the torque is ample, and the power is readily available, not just there on paper. Zero to sixty happens in a respectable seven point six. The Altima hybrid rides in a well planted way, kind of refreshing after we just spent a day with the much buzzier, and much less expensive Honda Insight. And the Altima seems proud of its electric DNA, satisfyingly eager to run electric only at low speeds, kind of like a Prius. Well it should, because Nissan licenses Toyota's hybrid synergy drive. In the meantime, they've copied the best, and it shows. We may see a new all Nissan hybrid power train in the next model year or so. Now to be fair, most of the technology in our Altima hybrid is up there under the hood. You can do pretty well in the cabin, but not great. For example, there's a navigation system available. Our car doesn't have it, but it would be a six and a half inch LCD touch screen. The navigation would be DVD-based, not hard drive, and you would have live traffic as well via XM Satellite data feed. Now the audio side, obviously you can get XM on this with an upgraded head unit, which we happen to have. You see it's BOSE branded, it's got a six disc internal changer, it eats standard CDs, as well as MP3 and WMA. Aux jack is your main peripheral connector, don't look for an iPod adapter, nothing. Don't look for a USB jack, nothing. No HD radio. Kind of limited. What little source you can hook up you're gonna hear through nine speakers around the cabin, one of those obviously is the sub. When you do upgrade that head unit by the way, that includes the upgrade to Bluetooth hands-free, which we found easy to pair. And that navigation system would also include a rear view monitor, so when you go into reverse you'll see where you're going, but obviously you can't do that without a nav screen. You're left to play with some pretty rudimentary toys. Push button start is standard, as well as the intelligent key. You've got a fairly good array of controls here on the steering wheel, one for the voice recognition by the way, which is for the full on this car, but would also give you voice commands to the navigation system, should you be so equipped. And of course one of the biggest gauges on the dash gives away the fact we're in a hybrid. That over there is your assist, or boost gauge, tell you if you're charging, regeneratively, or if you're tapping electric oomph from the electric motor and its battery pack.
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Oh by the way, this car is only available in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the green eight if you ask Nissan. You can import one from one of these states, but your dealer may not have anybody in the service bays who's ever seen one. You might think about that. And by the way, these only come in sedan form, there is no Altima Coupe hybrid. Twenty seven three is your base for this guy, but it's not gonna have any of those tech toys I showed you, not really. To upgrade to get the BOSE audio, rear view camera, GPS touch screen nav, Bluetooth hands-free, and a few other niceties in the cabin, you've got to add two packages, that cost about five thousand dollars. So it's not a cheap ride, but it's a pretty substantial car, and a well executed hybrid.
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