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Monday, March 19, 2007


Recently, Car & Driver magazine tested a Nissan Altima Hybrid. The Altima's greenest version takes a lot of its technology (and the research behind it) from Toyota. The hardware is very similar to what Toyota offers in the Camry Hybrid, but optimized for the Altima.

Nissan, in the States, does not price the Altima Hybrid at too terrible a premium. A basic Altima (four-cylinder, CVtransmission) would cost $20,915 and the hybrid will likely be around $24,400.

Unfortunately, when the purposes of a vehicle come to no fruition, we have a very inconvenient truth. Car & Driver tested that typical Altima four-cylinder and, by their trustworthy measurements, drove 24 miles for every gallon. The Altima Hybrid was only able to propel them 23 miles for every gallon gulped.


One possible reason could the 398 extra pounds the Hybrid places on the scales. Both vehicles were tested by the automotive press, the former during a comparison test, the Hybrid by itself.

By way of disclosure... the EPA says the run-of-the-mill Nissan Altima is rated at 23/29 miles per gallon in the city and highway and the Hybrid is 42/36 city and highway. Last summer, I drove a Ford F-150 for 1 week and averaged 18 mpg, exactly what www.fueleconomy.gov said I would. I coasted down almost every hill to do get 18mpg, but I did it.

That being said, a Hybrid will offer cleaner tailpipe emissions and in most cases save money at the pumps. What it may not do is actually save you money over the life of the vehicle when you factor in the cost of the vehicle. Car & Driver's example would cost more to buy and more to fuel. Bad car? Not so much. Odd car? For sure.

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