2013 Nissan Altima Review

Not prepared to settle for second, Nissan’s Camry killer arrives

2013 Nissan Altima Review
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By the end of this year, Nissan will have introduced five new models for 2013 including re-engineered versions of stalwarts like the Pathfinder and Sentra, plus a hatchback, a crossover and the always successful Altima.

FAST FACTS

1. Thanks to its updated CVT transmission, the Altima gets a best-in-class 27/38 mpg rating.

2. A redesigned rear suspension and Active Understeer Control make for an even more engaging driving experience.

3. Seating comfort is enhanced by design and posture inspired by NASA.

4. New safety features including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) systems.

5. Smartphone integration features include Pandora, Google and more.

As always the all-new Altima is targeted to compete with some of the major players in the mid-size segment such as the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata. Altima buyers will receive more than they expect this time around with no increase in price plus great added value. And the key component, 38 mpg.

With over 20 years of success, the Altima has improved with sleeker styling, more horsepower, an updated rear suspension, weight reduction, “zero gravity” seating, plenty of warning detection systems, an innovative tire pressure monitor and more, making it a serious contender for best in its class. Nissan claims that while the upscale full-size Maxima is about performance, this mid-size machine is about fuel efficiency. But after our first drive this week in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s obvious the 2013 Altima is about far more than just that one number.

BEST IN CLASS FUEL ECONOMY

Starting at $21,500 and recognized as the best-selling Nissan in the line-up, the Altima continues to be offered with 2.5-liter engine with 182 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, as well as a 3.5-liter V6 with 270 hp and 258 lb-ft. While changes to the engine aren’t dramatic, updates to the transmission come with 70 percent of the continiously variable transmission (CVT) components being redesigned with an expanded gear ratio, while friction has been cut by 40 percent to help free-up horsepower.

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As mentioned, there’s an impressive 38 mpg highway number on the 4-cylinder; better than any other non-hybrid mid-size sedan. City mileage is also impressive with a 27 mpg rating. As for the V6, you’ll get an estimated 22/30 city/highway mpg.

Helping both the fuel economy and performance of the car is a lighter body that’s more rigid too. The use of high-strength aluminum steel helps cut a total of 79 lbs from the new Altima.

LOOKING GOOD AND FEELING COZY

2013 Altima Sedan Interior Front

The new Altima’s interior is spacious though cozy and definitely the better-looking trim compared to many of the competitor’s interiors, including the current Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion and all but the most pricey VW Passat versions. The standard interior trim comes with cloth seating and a 6-way driver’s seat, a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest and black dash with chrome finishings.

Also available are leather seats and trim, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and metallic or wood trim accents. Nissan has also decided to ditch woven leather seats in favor of perforated leather, which look better in tandem with the resigned seating shape.

The new NASA “zero gravity” inspired seating, increases blood flow and reduces lower back fatigue. According to NASA, the best seating position and the least discomforting is a “neutral posture”, which the Altima’s new butt-holders are designed to replicate. Notable changes include wider back portions with smaller headrests and after our drive we can attest to the claims of superior comfort.

2013 Altima Sedan Interior

Getting in the Altima is now easier than ever. Standard on the 2013 models is keyless entry, start/stop engine activation. A remote engine starter function is available on SV and SL models, which works from as far as 195 feet. Whether for heating-up in challenging winters or cooling down in blistery summer months (or both) this feature is appreciated.

The electric steering is responsive, but the beauty is in the steering wheel’s size and sabretooth-like paddle shifters. Both are a combo that the amateur F1 racer in all of us can appreciate. However, the control functions on the wheel are quite elaborate and not obvious to use.

ADDED TECH IS FUN AND FUNCTIONAL

 

2013 Altima Sedan Speedo

An additional innovation and now a standard feature is the Advance Drive-Assist Display, which is a 4-inch color monitor in the cluster between the gauges on the dash, delivering information with little distraction so you don’t need to keep shifting your vision away from the road.

2013 Altima Sedan StereoThe updated center console incorporates the NissanConnectSM, a 5-inch color audio display included with SV and SL models, or an optional 7-inch color display with the navigation package.  The Navigation touch-screen gives access to Pandora internet radio, a Google POI (point of interest) tool and standard Handsfree Bluetooth technology, which uses a Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant capable of reading incoming text message aloud through the integrated audio system. Drivers can also reply to text messages with a selection of pre-generated answers or their own. Unfortunately for Apple iPhone users the technology is not yet compatible but the connectivity for music and telephone calls is solid.

Additional sound absorbing materials make the ride significantly quieter, though opt for the V6 and you’ll always hear it roar.

2013 Altima Sedan Rearviewer

An original user-friendly feature that’s been added for 2013 is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with Easy Fill Tire Alert. First introduced on the Quest minivan, when a driver fills the tires with air, the hazard lamps flash as the pressure builds. When the tire receives the right amount of air, the vehicle’s horn honks to let you know the pressure is perfect – an important factor not just for safety but also for achieving maximum fuel economy.

More than ever, Nissan makes it easier for the Altima to back out of a sticky spot, with some help from a 180-degree view side-to-side rearview camera. Standard on all SV and SL models this upgraded amenity features Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) that recognizes moving objects like other cars and pedestrians when the rearview camera is active. It also doesn’t have an irritating fish-eye lens which makes the monitor results look rounded and obscure.

MEET THE NEW MID-SIZE ROAD WARRIOR

 

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Getting behind the wheel of the new Altima feels good. The model’s evolution has been one where performance is just as important as fuel efficiency, price and design.

It’s not nearly as dramatic a design statement as the Sonata or Optima but the new grille and more angular LED are all part of an undeniably handsome package. The interior cargo dimensions are the same as the previous year yet the overall feel is slightly lower, wider and more comfortable.

The redesigned multi-link rear suspension makes the back-end sturdier while a new Active Understeer Control system helps deliver a car that’s safe to drive, but which doesn’t sacrifice when it comes to the driving experience. Both engines pull capably, the 4-cylinder with perfectly adequate power and the V6 with plenty of gusto so travel is never dull.

THE VERDICT

 

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Priced at $21,500 for the 4-cylinder and $25,360 for the V6 the Altima continues to offer hallmark brand qualities while adding improved exterior design, interior refinement, plenty of new features and, of course, that best-in-class fuel economy rating. A runner up for the top selling mid-size sedan last year, Nissan may just have launched its Camry killer.

LOVE IT
  • Great Styling
  • Cool technology
  • Great driving, safety and tech features
LEAVE IT
  • Interior trim feels “senior” at times
  • Lack of standard heated front seats
  • Complex steering wheel functions
  • V6 not as fuel efficient as rival 4-cylinder turbos

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  • Keith H

    I don’t know. The CVT bothers me less and less, but the styling just isn’t as dramatic as I would have liked… especially from Nissan.

  • Blarick

    I own a 2004 Nissan Murano 3.5 V6 with a CVT and never had a problem. It’s smooth and strong, I pulled a 6×12 U-Haul fully loaded 3,000 miles (and through Huston at 6 PM on a Friday) with ease. This new Altima looks great and the 2.4 is a full second faster than the 2012 with better EPA.

  • Dagr382

    Reads like a Nissan press release.

  • magna42

    Seems OK.. Styling wise it looks like a Maxima Lite

  • matthias

    This new Altima looks just like a Maxima, still ugly. And I hate the CVT transmission, it doesn’t feel sporty at all.

  • MultiKdizzle

    Review? This reads like an advertisement.

  • Bubbles

    LOL so did your mom’s online profile. There was no pricing though, so this did a better job.

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  • sdfaaa

     looks like shit

  • Jack

    What an ugly car. It’s a shame, I feel that Nissan could have done so much better, they are holding back. This new Altima looks like a disaster. 

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  • wiibaron

    That 3/4 back view is absolutely hideous. Way too many swoops and cuts to be attractive.The front end is not bad, just kinda bland and too generic Nissan looking. And Zero-gravity seats just sounds like a gimmick…Not impressed.

  • Lvarini

    test drove it last week. drives very smoothly. looks stylish inside and out. front seats are extremely comfortable… and I’m loving all the tech

  • Lvarini

    the image above is terrible. worth seeing in person

  • boomerjim

    Am thinking of buying but I’m wary of no manual shift.  I can’t imagine going down a steep icy hill and just relying on CVT.

  • Apdeat

    Just bought a white one and I LOVE everything about it.  The seats are so very comfortable. I love the ground lights the most (added manufacture feature).  It drives so smooth and effortless. I’ve owned the 2007 Altima and love it, but 2013 beats it by a mile! :)

  • Raidtarik

    Many peole says it is very near from Lexus looking.

  • Raidtarik

    It had the Ds mode which means Drive Sport. Nissan is the best and it is the Toyota and Honda killer.

  • Salemsaas

    If you dont like it go and find sonething better, you are probably like Toyota , so go with it or may be you can afford The Lexus !!!

  • 70Chase

    Trading in my BMW 540i to lease a 2013 Altima LS. Great car, very impressive, a huge improvement from 2012, hands down the most tech, and car, and features for the money on the market today, plus almost 40mpg, have fun pumping $4 gas suckers. Good job Nissan :-) !

  • Tommy

    My dad is leasing a 2012 Altima right now. And he’s REALLY anxious to see if he can carry his current lease over into a new 2013 model. I absolutely LOVE everything about this car. Nissan just keeps getting better and better folks. You wouldn’t catch me dead in a Camry even with it’s own new re-design. As the reviewer noted on here this particular model Altima could very well be the “Camry’s demise” in remaining at the top. He’s gonna start looking come next spring of ’13 for this new model. I told him if he does anything to stay with the 4cyl as he has now on his 2012 model. However, to really pay special attention to the ruby red color as we both find that a VERY striking and “luxurious” color choice. Not that his silver isn’t nice right now, but it’s just way to “common” we feel. Considering lately everyone seems to have silver out there on the road in some shade or another. Whatever the case, they might as well do away with the Maxima because this is a “baby Maxima” if i ever saw one. It was certainly a VERY smart move to do, in taking the nice design cues from “big brother” if you will. And putting them on this new Altima which sells A LOT more than bigger brother does. Very good job Nissan, very good job indeed.

  • Pagaye

    what kind of car do you drive now?If its not a high end luxury car,i bet you the Altima looks and drives better than it all day long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/juanray56 Juan R. Rosario

    Had the car for over 1 month and I’m getting to understand it. I got the  2.5 SL, which is the top of the line in the 4 cylinder category. This car has every bell and whistle you would find in a car worth tens of thousands more. I saw the car in the showroom and I fell in love with it. The seats are so comfortable, they were right about space age seats. It’s Bose sound system will blow you away, and check this out when you travel at a higher speed with the sunroof open the system compensates for the noise and adjust the volume accordingly, It’s like it has a brain of it’s own.  Did I say it comes with a rear view camera so when you’re  in reverse you can have an added aid at your dispose. The car comes with a warning alarm to alert you if you veer into another lane and another alarm warns you that the there’s a car in you blind spot. The transmission has something called CVT and what the brochure says it is, is shifts continuing with out the jerking feel as it shifts from 1st to 2nd and so forth. Talk about gas mileage, Wow, and other Wow I average 36 to 38 miles per gallon that’s around 460 miles per tank full. I can continue to go on but you get the picture, beautiful styling, all the bells and whistles. The best purchase I have ever made.    
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/juanray56 Juan R. Rosario

    Had the car for over 1 month and I’m getting to understand it. I got
    the  2.5 SL, which is the top of the line in the 4 cylinder category.
    This car has every bell and whistle you would find in a car worth tens
    of thousands more. I saw the car in the showroom and I fell in love with
    it. The seats are so comfortable, they were right about space age
    seats. It’s Bose sound system will blow you away, and check this out
    when you travel at a higher speed with the sunroof open the system
    compensates for the noise and adjust the volume accordingly, It’s like
    it has a brain of it’s own.  Did I say it comes with a rear view camera
    so when you’re  in reverse you can have an added aid at your dispose.
    The car comes with a warning alarm to alert you if you veer into another
    lane and another alarm warns you that the there’s a car in you blind
    spot. The transmission has something called CVT and what the brochure
    says it is, is shifts continuing with out the jerking feel as it shifts
    from 1st to 2nd and so forth. Talk about gas mileage, Wow, and other Wow
    I average 36 to 38 miles per gallon that’s around 460 miles per tank
    full. I can continue to go on but you get the picture, beautiful
    styling, all the bells and whistles. The best purchase I have ever made.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607057237 Kenny Rohrs

    I traded in my 2004 Maxima SE 6 speed for the 2.5 SV 2013 Altima back in October. I am confused and annoyed with the fact that this car gets about the same mileage as the Maxima. I used to average around 26-28 MPG on a weekly basis. I’ve only gotten over 30MPG with this car only 3 times since I’ve had it. I don’t know where they got this 38MPG on the highway rating from. I do 90+% of my driving on the highway and I only get 28-29 MPG on a weekly basis. I always lock the cruise control in around 60MPH, which reads about 1500RPM on the tach. I very rarely ever hit any kind of traffic, so I’m not idling and wasting gas that way. Could anyone else with the car please tell me what kind of mileage you’re getting? PS-don’t go by what the car computer says. It’s always over by about 2-6PMG. My old Maxima used to do that as well, so I always calculate the mileage myself.

  • joanna

    WHO WROTE THIS REVIEW???!!!!! I used these reviews to decide on my new car and I ended up buying the 2013 Nissan Altima… They LIED!! This car is the worst drive on the highway, it is DANGEROUS!! Do NOT buy until they fix the steering issue….

  • joanna

    Oh and forgot to mention… I bought the 2.5 SL with all bells and whistles and it cost me 30K for a car that I can not take on the highway….

  • illinoisdoug

    With my ’03,I got 28 -30 mpg with 4 adults plus luggage. I love my Altima.

  • PHIL

    I average 33.7 with my Altima with a mixture of highway and rural road daily driving.

  • steve

    Got my 2013 Altima in May 2013, The “S” but with remote start… wonderful. Drove it in August 2600 miles to NY and back to Florida, the ride is great, silent inside, low noise, handles great. good power, on the last leg into NJ got 41 mpg on the tankful, over 600 miles on that tank. Around town, I get about 30… my old Maxima was about 15mpg around town.