2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid

2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid


Introduced in 2007, the Altima hybrid represents a cautious first step into the burgeoning world of gasoline-electric fuel sippers by Nissan, a company that is instead more focused on producing zero-emissions vehicles.

Nissan’s initial strategy for responding to the twin demands of a changing market—improved fuel economy and reduced emissions—was to make continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) the automatic transmission option in all its passenger cars. CVTs generally will improve fuel economy, but Nissan quickly learned that “CVT” didn’t have the marketing cachet of “hybrid.” As a result, Nissan hastily created a hybrid version of its sedan bestseller, licensing from Toyota the same technology employed in the Camry hybrid.

The Altima hybrid continues to be offered only in the eight states that operate under California’s stricter emissions regulations, and Nissan has no plans to expand availability. Like most hybrids, the Altima achieves better fuel economy in urban driving. EPA ratings are impressive at 35 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Also like other hybrids, this one represents a substantial price premium versus a comparable four-cylinder Altima with a CVT, although one study suggested that a buyer could recoup the extra expense in as few as 75,000 miles.


Although the hybrid components are identical to those in the Camry hybrid, the Altima’s chassis delivers more athletic responses. The result is a hybrid sedan that’s more fun to drive than most others.

Click here to read our full review of the Nissan Altima hybrid.

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What’s New for 2009

Like the rest of the Altima lineup, the hybrid is largely unchanged for the 2009 model year. Nissan has made auto door locks standard, and there are four new exterior colors, but that’s it.

Highlights and Recommendations

As a member of the Altima lineup, the hybrid is a trim level unto itself and comes reasonably well equipped—stability control, power windows and locks, a tilting and telescoping steering column, dual-zone auto climate control, six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio—but you can load it up even further with stackable packages.

Begin with the largely useless Convenience package (power driver’s seat, auto headlights, leather-wrapped wheel, key-fob-operated power front windows, blond wood trim, and a rear spoiler), but only because you have to if you want the Connection package, which adds the things most of us really want: XM satellite radio, Bose audio, and Bluetooth connectivity, among a few other things. Those two packages will add $4500 or so to the final bill—now totaling about $32,000 from a base price of just over $27,000—and we suggest you stop there.

The next frontier, the Technology package, adds about two grand and a navigation system. We say skip it and buy a nice portable GPS—and save $1500 in the process.


Standard features include anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, dual front airbags, front side-impact airbags, and curtain airbags.