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2008 Altima Hybrid: The Mainstreaming of Hybrids Begins


VehicleVoice recently had the opportunity to spend the weekend in a 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid.
Like other manufacturers, Nissan’s first hybrid model in 2007 came late to the party. Honda and Toyota entered the market seven years earlier. Nissan licensed Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to speed up bringing the Altima hybrid to market.
Nissan uses a 40 hp electric motor that assists a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to generates a combined 198 horsepower. This power is directed to the wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Electric Only Parlor Trick
The Altima Hybrid can give initial electric-only propulsion from a stop and a slower speeds. (Perfect for mowing down unsuspecting pedestrians in parking lots as 4 miles per hour.) A few of our staffers were able to travel up to a few miles using electric-only, but this is more of a game, than a real driving option. At speed, the electric motor assists the gasoline engine when additional acceleration is needed.


The 2008 Altima Hybrid’s EPA estimated fuel economy is 35 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. We averaged about 35 mpg with a little extra care. It’s near-zero emissions achieves the California Air Resources Board’s Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standard. With a 20-gallon fuel tank, it has a projected driving range of up to 700 miles, which a great for road trips.
Our Experience
Overall, the feel is very Camry-like, not at all sporty like some other Nissan products. Maybe it was our imagination, but it seemed to be less seamless in its transition from electric to gasoline. We could often feel the transition, which has not been our experience with the Prius. Also, the instrument panel “save gas video games” lacked the appeal of those found in the Prius. As expected, the rear trunk is a bit small due to batteries. Most important in LA, the Driver does NOT get credit for being green because the car is indistinguishable from regular Altimas.

However, we like this vehicle. It was comfortable, quiet, and required no additional effort from us to feel green. After a rush-hour commute, one felt relaxed and part of the solution.
Available in the Green States
The Altima Hybrid is priced at $25,480 offered in eight “green” states with California style emissions regulations: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Go green!

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