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February 14, 2007

Nissan Begins Selling the Altima Hybrid in Eight States


Photo of the Nissan Altima Hybrid, a four-door sedan.

The Nissan Altima Hybrid is the first hybrid vehicle built in the United States by a Japanese automaker.
Credit: Nissan

Nissan began selling its first hybrid vehicle, the 2007 Altima Hybrid, in late January. The vehicle is assembled in Tennessee and is available in the eight states that have adopted California emissions regulations: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for the Altima Hybrid is $24,400, and it also qualifies for a federal tax credit of $2,350. The hybrid vehicle is estimated to achieve 42 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway, for a combined fuel economy rating of 39 mpg. The vehicle mates a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine to an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for a total power rating of 198 horsepower, giving it slightly better performance than the standard 4-cylinder Altima. Nissan offers a 4-cylinder Altima with a CVT for $20,300—$4,100 less than the hybrid—but its combined fuel economy of 25 mpg is less than two-thirds of the fuel economy achieved by the hybrid version. See the Nissan press release.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled the all-new Highlander Hybrid on February 7th at the Chicago Auto Show. According to Toyota, the 2008 Highlander is significantly larger and roomier than the vehicle it replaces, yet its fuel economy stays the same, at 31 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. That's an impressive achievement, since the vehicle also weighs about 500 pounds more than the earlier model. The 2008 Highlander Hybrid is slated to go on sale in September. Buyers seeking to earn a federal tax credit on the vehicle will have to buy it quickly, since the tax credit for Toyota vehicles will expire on October 1st. See the press releases from Toyota and the Internal Revenue Service.

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