There are now several makes and models of hybrid cars to choose from. Most of them are compact cars and even some much smaller vehicles. What sets the Altima and Fusion hybrids apart is that they are midsize sedans, so they offer more luxurious seating and more space than the smaller hybrids. They don’t get the 40-50 mpg of some of the smaller vehicles, but they do offer the powerful engines and features comparable to other midsize sedans.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a version of the regular Ford Fusion. It gets better mileage than the Altima, with 41 highway and 36 city miles per gallon. The Ford website claims that this vehicle has a range of more than 700 miles, which is also significantly higher than most cars. Like other hybrids, this car has regenerative braking. It can also use the ethanol based flex fuel. MSRP is $27,950 without destination charges of $725, which is higher than the Altima at $26,780.
The Nissan Altima’s combined gas and electric system includes more horsepower, at 198 compared to the Ford Fusion’s 191. Of course, horsepower isn’t the main reason to buy a hybrid in the first place. The Altima’s gas mileage of 35 highway and 33 city miles is significantly lower, which also reduces the driving range. The Altima also suffers from an additional issue; it’s not available in all states, since it is being offered to increase the overall mileage of Nissan’s US vehicle fleet. It doesn’t appear to have any features that are better than the Ford Fusion as far as I can tell.