Minutiae of the Minute: Nissan Altima Hybrid

Minutiae of the Minute: Nissan Altima Hybrid

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Nissan Altima Hybrid. This alone would probably be fodder for an “It Exists” segment all by itself. Yes, it does exist. Nissan sold it from 2007 to 2011 as an answer to the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Except it wasn’t a very good answer, since it was created entirely using technology licensed from Toyota.

Anyway, the Altima Hybrid got 33 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, which is actually better than the Camry Hybrid from the same period. I know what you’re thinking: I want to buy an Altima Hybrid! Or possibly: get to the point, dammit, I’m sick of reading about front-wheel drive Japanese cars!

The point is that many of you can’t buy an Altima Hybrid, even if you wanted to, because Nissan only offered it in 10 states. They were California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. These states share two things: one is that they all follow California’s strict emissions laws, which require that cars emit only vapors that calm baby seals.

The other thing these states share is that they all require two license plates. You can probably guess where I’m going with this.

The result of Nissan’s decision to sell the Altima Hybrid in California emissions states and only in California emissions states is that every single Altima Hybrid has a front license plate bracket. (Except, of course, for the press cars, which is why it’s so damn hard to find a photo of one.) This, folks, is minutiae at its very most minute. But did you expect anything else from me?

11 Responses to “ “Minutiae of the Minute: Nissan Altima Hybrid”

  1. Beelzebubba says:

    Requiring a front-mounted license plate is just WRONG! I’ve always been very happy that Georgia only requires one on the rear!

  2. Scott says:

    Two of the four cars I’ve bought new in California were delivered from the dealer without a front plate bracket. (And in neither case did I ask them not to put the bracket on; they just didn’t bother).

    So I’m pretty sure you could find an Altima hybrid without one.

  3. Adam says:

    I finally gave up after getting 2 tickets for 2 different vehicles not having a front plate on. Also, here in CA I see these Altima Hybrids everywhere

  4. Forrest says:

    I think the Japanese Hybrid genre peaked around 2005 with the Honda Insight manual and the Honda Civic Hybrid manual. Since then, Japanese hybrids have largely gotten fatter and more beige, and they’re only offered as autotragics.

  5. Beelzebubba says:

    When the Accord Hybrid flopped, I knew that hybrid-hysteria was on the way OUT! That and the fact that Hybrids suck beyond my descriptive capabilities! I’d rather have an Ox-cart….or maybe a nice goat?

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I loved the Accord Hybrid! I mean, you’re right, it obviously did flop. But it was the most powerful Accord of its day! And it had subtle differentiation that might be good for a “minutiae” segment all in its own…

  6. Beelzebubba says:

    The Accord Hybrid was what some refer to as a “performance hybrid”. The goal was never to get 40mpg or to shut off the engine at red lights (which also tends to turn off the A/C compressor and cause the air blasting into the cabin to increase by 80 or 90 degrees in less than a second without any warning. But who doesn’t mind instant bouts of nausea caused by being blasted in the face with 130 degree air on a 100 degree 100% humidity Summer Day from Hell! We’re saving the freakin’ planet….or saving a freakin’ weed at least, at each intersection!

    Back on topic…the Accord Hybrid used the electric motor for a little extra boost under hard acceleration. The net result was a 0-60 time 0.5sec faster than the V6 Accord and noticeably added boost in certain other situations or load conditions, but didn’t use any more gas than the regular V6. It was a totally logical and interesting use of hybrid technology to boost performance and I was impressed. But the car that buyers were expecting and the one that you and know would have sold at least 50k per year (and I HATE to admit it) is a completely handicapped weakling Accord Hybrid that did 0-60 in 14+ seconds, but only if you drove it very aggressively…most would never make it to 60 and would hyper-mile at 30-40mph blocking my lane and even their 0-30mph time could only be described as ‘glacial’!

    Honda deserves cred for NEVER building THAT car! Hybrid buyers also weren’t interested unless it the car’s design (and I use that term loosely) is unique and not just a ‘regular’ car with hybrid powertrain! They need the world to know that they are unmistakably driving a Hybrid, even though the vast majority of those drivers don’t have a clue how a hybrid system operates or what the term hybrid even means!

    Look at me saving the world and you driving your vulgar truckasaurus SUV and causing global warming (actually, it’s your stop-start system screwing with your A/C that’s causing global warming, prove otherwise)! To this day my blood pressure jumps at least 20pts at the slightest glimpse of freakin’ Prius!!! I want to ram my 18mpg Mazda CX-9 into them, pinning the ‘operator’ to the seat until I go around back to my huge cargo area and retrieve the lug wrench (provided in case one of my HUGE, wasterful 20″ low-profile tires goes flat) then drag them from their crumpled tin can and beat them with the lug wrench until they’re dead!

    And yes, I have sought professional help and I am quite medicated already, w/o the meds I would have taken out dozen of ‘those’ people by now….

    When I go to visit my cousin twice a year in L.A., they are like rabbits, everywhere you go, there are more and more and more Prii! You can ALWAYS find scads of them in the LEFT lane of the 405 blocking the 25 SUVs parked in their rear view mirror!

    My cousin has a 2008 Lexus GX470 (I averaged 12.5 mpg over the week last time I was there and drove it) and she hates Prii as much as I do! I love to turn my lights on bright and ride their hideous rear-end with no more 6-8 inches from my front bumper! They go insane, some start shaking in fear, they totally spaz…which makes me close the gap to 1-2 inches, if I’m feeling frisky! My cousin does it all the time, too and I asked her what she would do if I ‘accidentally’ hit one. Her response was, “I’d flick it off the grille and drop kick the wad of trash out of my yard when you got home”. She has also promise to teach me where the nastiest cliffs and dropp offs are located along the 405 and Ventura. With some practice, you just flick them right off the road, another bites the dust but nobody reports them missing….She is my favorite cousin, totally!

  7. Timothy In Boston says:

    Front license plate on the front of my ST? It would ruin the entire front look of the car. It’s in the trunk with a baggy of zip ties just in case I get pulled over. “Sorry occifer, the bracket broke”.

    Working from home today, it’s a beautiful day, trying to figure out which errands I can run during lunch time so I can sneak in a drive.

  8. ShoogyBee says:

    The Bucks Blog on nytimes.com had a post on buying a used hybrid the other day. I was stunned to read that it costs $4900 to replace the battery on an Altima Hybrid!

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      I have a buddy who had his go out on a first-gen Prius. $4k at the dealer. It ain’t cheap!

      • Beelzebubba says:

        The batteries in the early Civic Hybrids and the Insight (2-seater, not the Prius-knockoff that is actually even more hideous than the Prius, which I didn’t think possible) cost even more to replace the batteries. Over $6k on some models.

        I’ll be glad when the ‘Hybrid Hell’ is over. With cars like the 2014 Mazda6 capable of 38mpg highway, I think they’re on the way out….

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