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Saturday, October 1, 2016

My Review - 2016 Nissan Altima

3300 Miles is a Good Road Test!

A few weeks ago I decided to rent a car for my annual two week vacation back to Wisconsin. My current car (PT Cruiser Turbo) gets lousy fuel mileage (about 17 mpg combined) and guessed it would be even worse with the 80 MPH speed limits across Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota. I figured the trip would work that 4 cylinder motor too hard, as it revs pretty high at highway speed.

So I shopped some off-airport rental car sites, including Enterprise, Payless and Budget, finding a pretty good deal at Payless which had rental center within 5 miles of my house. They quoted me a rate of $320.00 for 14 days unlimited mileage for what they call an intermediate (Nissan Versa or similar). Figuring I could probably double the fuel mileage versus taking the PT Cruiser, I decided to give it a try.

I used Uber to get over to pick up the car on a Friday morning, the sales-guy took my info and printed out the contract, handing me the keys to a 2016 Altima, saying I was upgraded to a full-size car because that's all they had. I walked out, checked it for any damage and took off to go home and get my gear.

My first impression was that it was a pretty good looking car. It had dual exhausts and seemed to have more than satisfactory power. The engine sounded good under throttle and the transmission was one of those new variable-drive units that you couldn't even feel it downshift under acceleration. When requiring more power you would see the rpm increase smoothly on the tach with no discernible lurch forward.
The car had less than 9,000 miles on it, excellent comfortable power seats, climate control and even a back-up camera in the info-tainment center. The roomy interior was great and it had a large trunk. The stereo system wasn't that great, just OK. The steering was kind of light for my taste and the brakes a little touchy, although you get used to them. The highway ride was very good but the large car didn't feel very agile on curves and corners. The Chevy Malibu I used to have had more of an enjoyable, sporty feel driving it, I suppose you shouldn't expect the same in a full size car.

I absolutely could not believe the mileage this car was getting. I left Salt Lake with a full tank, heading over the Wasatch mountain range with the computer telling me I had better than a 600 mile range before I would need fuel! At Rawlins, Wy (about 300 miles away), I still had half a tank of fuel but filled up because they had a good price. My next fuel stop was in Murdo, SD, about 800 miles from Salt Lake and my total cost of fuel at that point was $57.00!

Average mileage for the entire trip was 36.23 miles per gallon which was astonishing to me in a full size car. I was fighting a stiff wind most of trip out and again coming back in South Dakota and Wyoming. At the midway point of my trip in Wisconsin, the average was up to almost 38 MPG! The total fuel consumed was 91 gallons for the entire trip and I figured I would have used about 175 gallons in the PT Cruiser. With the average price of fuel at $2.20 per gallon I had saved about $182.00, meaning my net cost for the rental was only $138.00. Considering the wear and tear I would have put on my vehicle, I will do this every year from now on that I have the PT Cruiser.

In fact I'm certainly considering an Altima as my next vehicle, after doing some checking on the internet, you can buy a similarly equipped new one for about $25,000. The last new vehicle I bought was a 2009 Malibu that averaged 29 MPG and paid about $22,000 for it. It was a nice driving car but didn't have anywhere near the roominess and economy of the Altima.

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