2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Altima Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 198 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 35/33 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid

  • The 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid is an excellent choice for drivers who want a little fun between point A and point B. Too bad it's only sold in the eight states that have adopted California's emissions standards.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Excellent fuel economy, sporty handling, precise steering, top-notch interior materials, high crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Can only be obtained in eight states, options are only offered in expensive packages, so-so backseat comfort.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid remains unchanged from the previous year, except for standard automatic door locks and four more exterior color choices.

Full 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid remains unchanged from the previous year, except for standard automatic door locks and four more exterior color choices.


Hybrids and other green cars, though known for being economical and earth-friendly, have a reputation for also being rather slow, odd-looking and uninspiring behind the wheel. Bucking the trend is the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid. Although it has the outward appearance and driving manners of a conventional sedan, the Altima Hybrid sips fuel while keeping harmful emissions to a minimum.

Borrowing heavily from rival Toyota's parts bin via a licensing agreement, the Nissan Altima Hybrid shares a fair amount of technology and components with the Toyota Camry Hybrid. It has a Nissan engine -- a revised version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the regular Altima and a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT). These improvements result in a more refined powertrain with better acceleration than the Camry Hybrid, while maintaining the same combined fuel economy.

On the subject of fuel economy, the Altima Hybrid excels, managing 35 mpg in the city and 33 in highway driving, according to EPA estimates. By comparison, the all-gas Altima four-cylinder gets only 23/31 mpg. While that's a hefty improvement for city driving, consider for a moment the Hybrid's higher price tag over the conventional Altima. It will take years of ownership to recoup the Hybrid's premium in fuel savings alone. At that rate, the Altima Hybrid would only appeal to those who plan on owning the car for quite a spell, or to the very eco-conscious.

Another drawback for the Altima, and indeed many of Nissan's models, is the structure and pricing for options. Unfortunately, options are not available individually, but bundled with other items into fairly large and expensive packages. Further complicating matters is that some packages are only available as supplements to supporting packages. This puts the Altima at a considerable price disadvantage compared to the Camry Hybrid.

Still, among the few green midsize sedans on the market, the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid is our favorite, with its swift acceleration, sporty (for a hybrid) handling, miserly fuel consumption, comfort and practicality. Just make sure you live in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont -- these are the only states where it is currently sold.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid sedan is available in just one trim level. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, a tilt/telescoping steering column, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, instrumentation unique to the Hybrid and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options are combined into three major packages, each package requiring the purchase of the preceding package. The initial options in the Convenience Package include an eight-way power driver seat, automatic headlights, a rear spoiler and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls. The Connection Package, which requires the purchase of the Convenience Package, includes turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors, leather seats, heated front seats, rear air-conditioning vents, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD/MP3 changer and satellite radio. The Technology Package add-on includes a navigation system with real-time traffic information, a rearview camera and a hybrid energy/fuel flow readout. A sunroof is the major stand-alone option.

Powertrains and Performance

The Altima's hybrid powertrain is essentially identical to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive in both design and function. It combines a modified version of the Altima's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (which makes 158 horsepower in this application) and an electric motor capable of 40 hp and 199 pound-feet of torque. A specialized CVT is standard. The gasoline and electric power plants operate together or one at a time, depending on driving conditions, to optimize fuel economy and power. Together, they combine for a maximum 198 hp.

The EPA estimates the Altima Hybrid's fuel economy to be 35 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 34 mpg in combined driving. These numbers are comparable to the Toyota Camry Hybrid's. Yet another benefit for the Altima Hybrid is its qualification as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, meaning it is one of the cleanest gasoline-burning cars. In performance testing, we clocked the Altima Hybrid from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 7.6 seconds.


Standard safety equipment for the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints. In crash tests, the Altima Hybrid was awarded the highest scores possible from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (five out of five stars) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ("Good" ratings) for both frontal- and side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Altima Hybrid offers a roomy cabin with first-rate materials that better the Camry's equivalents. Interior storage is plentiful, with several bins and large compartments, but trunk space is limited due to the Hybrid's battery pack. Compared to the conventional Altima's 15-cubic-foot trunk capacity, the Hybrid's capacity is squeezed down to 9 cubes. Front seats in the Altima Hybrid are comfortable and supportive, but rear seating can be a bit awkward for taller passengers. With the rear bench mounted fairly low to the floor and limited foot space, thigh support is compromised.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid is a green car that doesn't compromise driving pleasure. While it certainly wouldn't be thought of as a canyon carver or a track-day candidate, this hybrid manages to retain much of the acceleration and road-holding prowess of the conventional four-cylinder Altima. Steering is notably precise, with ample feedback.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

150,000 and still going strong!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I bought my hybrid in June of 2009 and as you can see by my mileage, practically live in it. It is a die hard. I have put on 2 sets of tires, but only one set of brakes and as of six weeks ago I'm no where near having to replace what the brakes. I drive in the mountains and on highways, so this car has seen just about everything. The only negative is the gas mileage. The difference between a regular Altima and what I had to pay for the hybrid will never be realized. In addition, oil changes and maintenance are a lot more. Would I buy another hybrid? Probably not. Would I buy another Altima? Yes.

Good car with some issues

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

It's a good car, with excellent MPG - I can get 37/g except in winter. How ever there are some issues. Internal design looks cheap, the Panic button is annoying (it's so easy for the horn to shout out). And just got an issue with the ignition switch: I could not start engine some times, and I was told I need $600.0 to get it fixed by the dealer!

No complaints after nearly three

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We have had our 2009 NAH since June 2009. The on-board computer for mileage runs high, as many have noted. I just completed tallying my mileage after recording miles and gallons at each fill-up. After 24,000 miles, I have averaged 34.74 mpg, through all seasons, right in line with EPA estimates. With gas here at $4.20/gallon, I'm feeling fine. Overall, it runs like any gas-powered car. The shift from gas to electric is very mild and not an issue. The rest of the car is quite fine: good comfort, good power, good feeling of safety. Yes, the trunk is a bit small but that's the price for a hybrid. And I LOVE the fact that it goes into electric at the VERY long stoplights where I live.

Great eco-friendly ride

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Purchased a NAH in late 2009, and it just clocked 36,000 miles. It has been a great car. Although the MPG not quite as high as the Honda Civic previous car, the joy factor with this car is much higher. Very comfortable, solid handling, very peppy, and better in snow. Averaging about 35 MPG in NH summer and 31 MPG in winter -- EVT takes quite a while to activate in winter due to battery temperature sensor. Make sure there is a Nissan Hybrid authorized repair technician in your area; normal technicians are not allowed to work on NAHs.

26k miles, not 1 problem

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Purchased a silver/black 2009 NAH loaded w/every option Dec 09; sticker was just under $35K. After dealer, manufacturer, and tax breaks, paid about $26.5K! The car is solid, comfortable, supportive for a 6'2", 200-lb frame driver. I still can't believe the great acceleration. And the gas mileage is getting better. Just got back from a trip which is optimal for maximizing gas mileage, averaging 55 MPH, got 44.5 MPG on 108 mile trip! The NAV is good, but not great. The BOSE sound system is very good. I had an 06 Civic Hybrid, which I liked but it was too hard on my back (old lumbar injury), so upgraded to this heavier hybrid, and sometimes I feel like it's a Cadillac in terms of ride quality.

My, how far cars have

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Bought a NAH coming off rental (Budget) with 32k miles for less than $16k, to replace a 12 year old Ford Contour V6 (stick). The NAH is bigger, peppier (0- 60 in 7.5 vs. 8.5), and uses less gas (averaging 35 mpg in Chicago driving). It also almost cost less. One year of abuse by multiple drivers doesn't seem to have caused any damage. It still glides effortlessly until I step on it, and then it "moos" forward (it doesn't "roar" exactly) like it's got a rocket on its rear. Great fun to drive around the Mississippi bluffs, especially when passing slowpokes in two-lane highways (60-80 in about 2 sec). I feel like installing a bumper sticker saying: "You Were Just Passed by a Hybrid."

Talk About The 2009 Altima Hybrid

2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

I owned a 2003 Nissan Altima SEE and it required 91 octane. This is not new for Nissan. I read the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid manual (downladed online) as I am considering a used car purchase and it r...

I have been waiting for summer to improve my 2008 Altima Hybrid's mileage. I bought it brand new in January 2009 in MD where they seem to import them from New Jersey to sell onesey twosey in this non...

I also test drove the Toyota Camry hybrid and Prius, Honda Civic and the new Ford Fusion all on the same day. In general, the prices, warranties and incentives are approximately the same for these ve...

Gas Mileage


  • 35
  • cty
  • 33
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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