"Nissan Altima Hybrid could be a contender"
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CNET News Video
CNET News Video
Nissan Altima Hybrid could be a contender
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>> The recent arrival of the Toyota Camry in hybrid form, definitely signaled that hybrids are here for the mainstream and here's another example of that. The Nissan Ultima, now available as a hybrid. Now what that car also tells us is that the car makers are increasingly using hybrid technology to give a balance of performance and greenness, not to go just super green ala deprias [assumed spelling]. Let's check out what's underneath the hood. The Ultima hybrid combines a pretty good size 2 and a half liter gas engine with an electric motor. It can run electric only at lower speeds and kick over to gas at higher speeds. Very much like the Prius [assumed spelling] logic. Not surprising because Nissan gets a lot of their hybrid technology from Toyota's hybrid division. But not the gas engine of course, nor the electric motor. But a lot of the control and generation circuitry is licensed and purchased from Toyota. Now research shows that hybrids at this point in history, tend to appeal to a little better educated, little more sophisticated, little richer consumer to be honest. So it's a good sensible thing that Nissan has taken the Ultima and made it one of their early hybrids. This car of course is no where near the bottom of their range anymore. You've got the Versa and then the Centra, then you have the Ultima, right there smack in the middle, head to head with the Camry. So they're showing this car really well equipped. Nice leather appointments, a nice big LCD onscreen navigation and media center right here, Bose branded. The Blue Tooth logo is called out. Down here's a 6 disk changer with MP3, also an auxiliary input jack. Next to that is the only transmission we understand will be available on the Ultima hybrid, that's a CVT, a continuously variable transmission. MPG rating on this car will be around 40 miles per gallon. Very good for a biggish loaded car, but not super green. It hits show rooms in early '07.
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