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Altima Hybrid: A Sexier Camry

The Nissan-Toyota mash-up gets 41 miles per gallon in the city, 36 on the highway.

Published: 01-Jan-2007

You know that horror movie where the mad scientist straps two victims to gurneys, lowers the metal skull caps on them and, by dint of special effects the victims' personalities are switched?

The 2007 Nissan Altima hybrid is like that. The company's first effort at a gas-electric auto, using parts and technology licensed from Toyota, drives like a Nissan with a Prius soul transplant: The same ninja-in-the-night silence at low speeds; the same tremble when the gas engine lights up; the same bubbly, torque-infused acceleration as the gas and electric motors pull on the oars, only quite a bit more so.

Anybody who has driven a hybridized Toyota Camry will recognize the company's power-management graphics displayed on the Altima's center-dash LCD screen. In fact, the Altima hybrid -- nearly a numerical dead ringer for the Camry hybrid (wheelbase, height, weight, horsepower, acceleration) -- might be thought of as a Camry hybrid with sex appeal. Let us not underestimate the magnitude of that achievement.

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