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Hybrid Cars- Anyone Else Bought One?


Lucky
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My friends with the Toyota Prius seem quite happy with theirs, but I went for the Nissan Altima Hybrid. I got $2800 off the sticker and a $2350 tax credit for buying a Hybrid. Also, they financed it at 2.9%. Not bad, huh? They are now ADDING $3000 to the sticker price.

 

One big problem, though. Nissan. I am supposed to get 35mpg in the city, and, for the first tank, I did. But then I started to see the mileage decline, finally bottoming out at 20 mpg, the same as a non-hybrid might get.

 

Took the car in. They ran some tests and claim nothing is wrong. I said I ran some tests too. I drove 200 miles, filled up, and divided the number of miles driven by the number of gallons used. My test didn't count.

 

So, I wrote to Nissan. A nice girl called me and read my email back to me. Her advice? Take it to another Nissan dealer. They'll have different technicians.

 

So, that is where it is now. What do you think the chances are the problem will be fixed?

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Lucky,

When you had the car tested at the first dealer were you in the car? I purchased a Ford Escape Hybrid last December and had the dealer check the mileage while I was in the car and driving (just to see how much I might need to alter my driving style in order to come closer to the EPA model for driving). Turned out the car was working fine and the mileage was correct for my driving style. I have altered the style a bit now (slower start-ups ) and am getting a minimum 30mpg when I drive in the city. My NAV system also has a screen that allows me to see the mpg and also the electrical system when the drive train switches back and forth.

 

When I purchased my car, I got a very good deal on the sticker price and a $3,000 tax credit for my model from IRS.

 

Count me as happy with my hybrid.

 

Last weekend FORD asked me to drive down to Irvine for a 2 hour marketing seminar by appointment where the suits from Detroit come out to ask hybrid owners how they liked their cars and what they didn't like (if anything). They also had some future models to test drive. They paid $180 for my time. It was interesting to see a new feature coming in the hybrids which will include the ability to have a system monitor your style of driving and put a light vibration in the gas pedal if you are accelerating past the level for good mileage.

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The new dealer said there is no problem. They do not road test the car. When I left the place, I stopped six times. Not once did the hybrid battery take over. I am running on the gas engine, not the hybrid, but I cannot get that through to them.

 

Nissan doesn't have many hybrids and their mechanics probably aren't as familiar with them as Toyota, so that may be my next stop...see if Toyota can find the problem.

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I'm considering purchasing a hybrid car especially since I work for an environmental group. ;) However, I am sort of holding out for a couple of more years in part due to some of the issues you've alluded to here Lucky. From my perspective, there's not yet enough reliable user data to determine how these vehicles will perform over time.

 

Consumer Reports came out with a hybrid issue in the last year or so and gave high marks to Toyota. They ripped the Ford Escape more on handling and its breaking distance. Ford stated those issues were to be addressed in the 2009 model year. I don't recall what they said about Nissan.

 

From what I can tell from my colleagues who own them, the Prius is hard to beat at this time. I certainly hope you are able to resolve the problems you are having.

 

Have you looked into the Lemmon Law just to make sure you've got coverage? It happens from time to time and you may have just gotten one of the rare defective Japanese vehicles off the line. I'd also suggest contacting Nissan corporate and letting them know of your issues with the car and the service dealers. If Nissan is smart they'll really try to resolve your issues since it's in their interest that you refer others to this brand of car positively to increase sales.

 

Good luck.

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The Nissan Altima Hybrid is only available in about 8 states. I am beginning to think that Nissanhas not spent much time training their technicians on the intricacies of this car. They have a computer program they run, and that's about it.

 

I have looked in to the Lemon law and am doing what I have to do to comply with it.

 

The 2009 Prius is supposed to be getting a new engine and better battery. I also hear about solar addition. It may take them awhile to work out the bugs on that, but Toyota is better than Nissan, all around, I think.

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There are plenty of high mileage non-hybrids out there, and you don't have to pay the hybrid premium or have to worry about these technology issues. Being trendy has a cost. Wait until the Volt comes out and some of the other plug-in electrics....

 

I don't think any car gets the mileage the sticker claims, hybrid or non. Even my MINI doesn't do quite as well as claimed and the city mileage is frankly not that great, but on the highway it does shine up close to 40 mpg.

 

But it certainly does sound like your Altima has issues. Too bad Nissan isn't stepping up to the plate. You might want to contact their NA corporate office again and ask to talk to some one further up the chain. If that doesn't work start calling the local media...they love doing stories about stuff like this. "Is that new hybrid car in your garage really getting the high mileage the manufacturers say it will? Film at 11."

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Check out http://www.hybridcars.com .

 

The Prius solar panel sounds neat but serves only marketing. They'll probably sell the living crap out of 'em, but the panel is just an excuse to print money.

 

It won't actually be useful, won't add to mileage, and won't save you money. But the guy who sells it to you will grin all the way to the bank!

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Guest zipperzone

I'm not convinced that Hybrid is the way I want to go. I find the Prius a bit cramped and the ride was quite harsh.

 

They may (or may not, as in Lucky's case) give you better gas mileage but with the up-charge they put on them you would have to drive a hell of a lot of miles to break even costwise.

 

Another thing they don't tell you about unless you ask, is that when the battery wears out (I think they are good for about 80,000 miles, but I could be wrong here) the new ones cost about eight thousand bucks. That is a huge outlay.

 

I saw a funny thing in my local Lexus dealer when I was car shopping earlier this year. They had a Lexus LS 450L hybrid in the showroom. The regular non-hybrid model sells for $116,000 in Canada. The same car, but with the hyprid engine, was $140,000. If anyone can afford to spend that kind of money on a car, why would they care about gas milage? And don't you think a premium of $24,000 is just a tich high?

By the way - that was a good six months ago and I noticed that the same car is still in the showroom, unsold. I wonder why?

 

If one is really convinced a hybrid is the way to go, how about the Honda Accord?

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I've been driving a Prius for 3 years now and I love it. I average between 46 and 52 MPG, the ride is incredibly smooth, and, since it's a midsize car, it has all the room I need. At the time, I paid just over 20k for the car and got a nice deduction from the IRS for buying it. I couldn't be happier, and can't recommend them highly enough.

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Honda has stopped offering the Accord hybrid, because it didn't sell: the improvement in mileage over the regular Accord was too small.

 

I have had a Prius for two months, and have filled the gas tank only twice. My only complaint is some strange buzzing sounds that other Prius owners tell me their cars don't have, but the dealer tells me is normal, although he can't explain what it is.

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Guest zipperzone

>Honda has stopped offering the Accord hybrid, because it

>didn't sell: the improvement in mileage over the regular

>Accord was too small.

 

Interesting & good to know.

 

>I have had a Prius for two months, and have filled the gas

>tank only twice.

 

While this sounds admirable, it really doesn't tell us much unless we know how far you have driven it. Obviously you're not into a lot of cross-country driving.

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>

>Consumer Reports came out with a hybrid issue in the last

>year or so and gave high marks to Toyota. They ripped the

>Ford Escape more on handling and its breaking distance. Ford

>stated those issues were to be addressed in the 2009 model

>year. I don't recall what they said about Nissan.

 

Well, they must have taken care of those issues because one of the things I really like about my Escape is the way it handles. I have more mobility than I ever had with the Explorer and I feel like I have more power when it comes to passing. I have yet to have any problems with the braking as well. Another thing I like about my Escape is that it is still a SUV. so while I gave up some room compared to the Explorer, I can still make those trips to Home Depot and load up (as I did today) with 50 lb bags of pea gravel, large bags of soil and flats of plants for my buildings and still have room.

 

As for mileage, I am actually driving more than I did when I had the

Explorer. I have driven two times to Las Vegas (something I never did with the Explorer). By the end of this year I will have put on almost double the miles I used to drive per year.

 

I am very happy.

>

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If you read the blog that Deej had a link for, one of the posters said,

 

"... As anyone who has parked a hybrid in the summer sun knows, the battery starts off hot after sitting 8 hours in a parking lot, and very soon your hybrid can turn into a non-hybrid because the computer begins to protect the battery. At least that is what I have experienced in my Altima Hybrid. I now look for shaded spots to park at work, which directly translates to better mpg on my commute home."

 

Given your 100+ degree summer days, I wonder if that's the problem with your Altima.

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THAT makes a lot of sense. Nickel-based batteries are sensitive to temperatures and all chemistries can have bad things happen if they get too warm while charging. This also explains why the computer wouldn't report a problem. It's probably perfectly normal for it not to charge the battery when the internal temp is over, say, 120 degrees.

 

Since the Altima is their first hybrid I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't do as good a job testing in wide temperature ranges and/or ended up with less versatile batteries then Toyota.

 

I'd say you bought the exact wrong car for Palm Springs... did you buy it at a Palm Springs dealer? They shouldn't even be selling them there if this is indeed the problem. Guess you need to move someplace more temperate... maybe Santa Monica? :p

 

The thing is, you can probably get what you paid for it if you sold it now, with the huge demand for hybrids. Or you can write letters to Nissan and the local dealership and try to force them to take it back. Or you can wait for the, what, 3-months a year Palm Springs isn't ungodly hot? :+

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I completely missed that bit about the battery getting hot.

 

Interestingly, the site I posted that talks down about the Prius' upcoming solar panel actually addressed this issue without knowing it. They said about all the solar panel would power was an engine compartment cooling fan. If the cooling fan keeps the hybrid from disengaging, it will most definitely be beneficial!

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