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2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid Review

This review was written when the 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid was new.

Fun on the road and easy at the gas pump, the Altima Hybrid provides a sleek sedan design and a spacious interior in an eco-friendly automobile. But its limited availability and bare-bones interior are not in line with other cars in its class.

Just introduced last year, the 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid takes many automotive reviewers by surprise with its sleek styling and peppy performance. Even though it borrows hybrid components from Toyota's Synergy Drive system, auto critics say buyers should expect a Nissan hybrid with more personality than any of the hybrid sedans Toyota offers. Unfortunately for many buyers, the Altima Hybrid is only available in eight states. CNET explains that "if you live outside of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Vermont you are in for a long drive home from the dealers," while USA Today says it "requires some commitment to purchase."

Another potential snag for buyers is the 2008 Altima Hybrid's price. Unlike other sedans that offer a hybrid version as an eco-friendly and fully-equipped trim of their conventional model, the Altima Hybrid comes with very few standard features, and adding options quickly inflates the price. Forbes says "the hybrid is only modestly equipped at its base price. Three option packages range in price from $1,300 to more than $7,000 ... choose all three options packages, and the Nissan can reach $34,000, in the ballpark with the Infiniti G37 luxury sedan." CNN reports the Altima "is a fun-to-drive hybrid car that actually saves some serious fuel. Unfortunately, it costs buyers a good bit more than the non-hybrid version, so from a strictly economic standpoint, it's no great bargain."

If you're in the market for a hybrid car, the highly ranked Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Civic Hybrid both offer green technology wrapped in a conventional sedan shape. Also keep in mind that there are several gas engine models that will cost you less to purchase and still offer respectable gas mileage, notably the conventional Nissan Altima, as well as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

  • "Nissan's first hybrid is a bit of a trial balloon. A bad business case? Perhaps. But the Altima Hybrid is a pretty decent car." -- Road and Track
  • "Anyone with a case of Green Line Fever should include it on the "drive-me" list." -- Motor Trend
  • "The small trunk and somewhat coarse driveline operation are its most glaring deficiencies. But the Altima Hybrid offers good mileage for a midsize sedan, a lot of style, and flexible pricing that lets buyers vary the amenities and price point rather than saddle them with the full roster of gizmos and fat price." -- Forbes
  • "Alas, poor Altima: a little late to the U.S. hybrid party, a little ordinary as you finally arrive. So here, finally, is Nissan's first hybrid, and, not to be unkind, its So-What Index isn't high." -- Car and Driver
  • "If you commit to it, you'll get a smooth-cruising, attractive sedan with ample interior room for five." -- Sacramento Bee
Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

Next Steps: Nissan Altima Hybrid