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#11

in 2011 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $16,837 - $16,837
Original MSRP: $26,800 - $26,800
MPG: 33 City / 33 Hwy
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2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most test drivers aren’t disappointed with the 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid’s interior quality, but they are disappointed with two things: space and expensive optional packages.

Front seats in the Altima Hybrid are comfortable and spacious as long as you’re under 6-feet tall. However, the low-to-the-ground back seats make sitting for long periods a drag. Interior features -- though plentiful and tech-savvy -- bind shoppers into paying more for packages because they can’t pick and choose what they want. To make matters worse, the interior tech packages come with the package(s) below them. So, if you choose the Premium Package, you get the Convenience Package, and if you choose the Technology Package, you get the Premium Package and the Convenience Package too.

Instead of getting the Altima Hybrid, reviewers suggest the Ford Fusion Hybrid or the Toyota Camry Hybrid, even though the base price is more expensive than the Altima Hybrid’s. The Fusion Hybrid with navigation, satellite radio and a back-up camera is $33,085 and a Camry Hybrid with these features is $32,950, making both cars cheaper than a fully-loaded Altima Hybrid.

  • "Altima's interior ambiance isn't quite as rich as its use of soft-touch, textured materials would lead you to believe. The use of budget-grade plastics in the center console area is also a disappointment. It's still pleasant inside, though." -- Consumer Guide
  • "[S]olidly built cabin with high-quality interior materials." -- Edmunds
  • "Inside, the cockpit feels spacious and airy, aided by the power moonroof new to this year's Premium package." -- Motor Trend

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Seating

Reviewers say only passengers 6-feet and taller will have issues getting comfortable in the Nissan Altima Hybrid’s front seats. Otherwise, seating is comfortable, and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes, helping the driver find an ideal position.

The back seat is a different story. It’s short on headroom, and because the seats are low to the floor, taller passengers won’t be comfortable.

  • "Good overall headroom and legroom, though six-footers may want more seat travel. Seats have very good thigh and lumbar support, though some testers complain that the seats lack a supportive contour. The steering wheel tilts and is telescopic to aid in driver positioning." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The front seats are comfortable and supportive, but rear seating can be awkward for taller passengers. The rear seat cushion is mounted fairly low to the floor and compromises thigh support for taller folks." -- Edmunds
  • "Back seat head room, however, isn't exactly stellar. We found the leather quality on the wide seats, the interior side door panels, and around the steering wheel to be on par with the rest of the segment." -- Motor Trend

Interior Features

The 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid has a generous list of optional features, but falls short because you can’t cherry pick the features you want. The Technology Package includes navigation, XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather, GB Music Box, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted controls and auxiliary input jacks. 

The Convenience Package and the Premium Package may leave you with a lot of features you don’t want. The Convenience Package, for example, includes aluminum alloy wheels, an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood-tone trim and a rear spoiler. The Premium Package comes with leather seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview monitor, satellite radio, USB connectivity and a leather-wrapped shift knob. If you select this package, you also get the convenience package -- even if you don’t want it.

At $27,530, the Altima Hybrid comes with push-button start, Nissan Intelligent Key, air conditioning, power door locks, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and a basic audio system with an auxiliary input jack. These features will satisfy some drivers, but if you want to use Bluetooth and get a better sound system, you have to upgrade.

While reviewers are disappointed that shoppers are bound by features packages, they do appreciate the Altima Hybrid’s interior. They say it’s well executed, and the controls are easy to use -- without the navigation system. With navigation, audio controls can get confusing.

  • “Large and legible gauges. Audio and climate controls are simple to operate in models without the available navigation system. The navigation system isn't easy to program, and it absorbs and complicates audio functions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Adding insult to injury is the fact that as you move up in the package hierarchy, choosing the upper ones requires the purchase of the lower ones. So although the Altima Hybrid may start out equipped and priced similar to its closest rivals, those packages can quickly put it at a price disadvantage compared to the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Camry Hybrid." -- Edmunds
  • "Unlike other button-heavy setups (*cough Honda cough*) the Altima Hybrid's center stack is relatively restrained. Our tester's audio/stereo and navigation controls surrounded a 6.5-inch VGA color display, and climate controls are neatly stacked beneath the array. The infotainment hardware looks almost aftermarket in appearance compared to the climate control system, adding an interesting charm to the stack." -- Motor Trend

Cargo

The Nissan Altima Hybrid does not have a large trunk because it houses the battery. While this design helps balance the car’s handling by offsetting the weight of the engine, it also means that it only has 10.1 cubic feet of space. To make matters worse, the rear seats don't fold down as they do in the gasoline-powered Altima. For more space, check out the Toyota Prius, which has 15.7 cubic feet, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which has 10.6 cubic feet.

Reviewers, however, were quite impressed with the amount of interior storage that’s available. First, the Altima Hybrid has a huge glove box that matches compartments available in some SUVs, and houses the power outlet and USB port that keeps your electronics from prying eyes. The cup holders, though small, can double as holders for loose change, badges and cell phones.

  • "Speaking of storage, the Altima's glove box looks like it's from a mid-to-large SUV. It could easily store a standard laptop or large purse. The box also locks, a rarity in today's vehicles. The storage bin at the base of the center stack is a double-decker affair. It uses a simple, yet clever, two-lever system to open the top bin (useful for holding change and/or a smartphone) and the deeper, secondary bin below it houses the power outlet and USB port." -- Motor Trend

Next Steps: 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

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