By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
Unsatisfied with the Altima's runner-up status, Nissan reaches for leadership in America's toughest car segment with a choice of fuel-efficient 4-cylinder or V6 power, the industry's best continuously variable transmission (CVT), handsome styling, sporting dynamics, and a suite of available features competitive with anyone. It follows Toyota's revamped 2013 Camry, Chevy's all-new Malibu and VW's Americanized Passat to market but precedes Honda's 2013 Accord and Ford's new Fusion by a few months. Its mission is simply to beat all of them to take over leadership in this very tough field, and we think it just could.
Most mid-size sedan competitors have moved away from available V6 engines in favor of turbocharged fours to ensure CAFE compliance, but this new Altima is the exception for those who still prefer smooth V6 power. And the wide-ratio CVT automatic delivers best-in-class fuel economy with the standard 4-cylinder engine.
While this new Altima looks plenty good, some may prefer the somewhat bolder styling of competitors as the Sonata, Optima, Malibu and Fusion. Some may also shy away from the different-feeling CVT in favor of a conventional automatic transmission, and only the Passat (so far) offers a choice of fuel-frugal diesel power.
Nearly everything but the engines is either all or substantially new, beginning with the Altima's "class-above" looks, inside and out, and extending to a raft of new features, some class-exclusive. The CVT automatic transmission, thoroughly revamped for pleaseability and efficiency, accounts for much of its class-leading fuel economy.
Driving Impressions Thanks largely to a new multilink rear suspension and the much-improved CVT, this is a finer-driving Altima than any before it. Around town, on freeways and on twisty back roads,...... the 2013 Altima feels tight and nimble yet quiet and comfortable on all but the nastiest surfaces, perhaps because its engineers benchmarked the size-smaller BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Much appreciated were the electro-hydraulic power steering, more precise than typical electric boost yet more energy efficient than pure hydraulic, and Active Understeer Control, which brakes the inside front wheel slightly to help get around a curve you may have entered a bit too fast. The 3.5-liter V6 is strong, but the massaged 2.5-liter four is more than adequate – Nissan clocks it at 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds) – at least for light loads and level roads. The unique multifunction rearview camera performed its lookout jobs well, and the NASA-inspired seats proved as fatigue-reducing as claimed.
EASY FILL TIRE ALERT
The new Altima's tire pressure monitoring system does more than simply providing individual tire-pressure information. When adding air to any tire, the hazard lamps flash to tell you the system is working, then the horn beeps to let you know when you have reached the correct pressure.
MULTIFUNCTION REARVIEW CAMERA
Part of an available Technology Package, the Altima's rearview camera provides not just the usual what's-behind-me view when reversing, but also Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection, the latter two firsts in this segment.
The 2013 Nissan Altima's cabin is finely crafted with soft-touch materials, but its prime attraction is NASA-inspired "zero gravity" front bucket seats, which approach the relaxed "neutral posture" that the human body assumes in a weightless environment. We can't test them in space, but we appreciate the research, development and attention to detail that have gone into making them as fatigue-reducing as possible by lessening muscular and spinal loads and improving blood flow. Cloth seats and piano-black trim with chrome accents are standard, leather and metallic or faux wood are available, the former with a charcoal interior, the latter with blond.Exterior
About the same length as the outgoing Nissan Altima, the 2013 model sits on the same wheelbase but with 1.4-inches-wider tracks and 0.8-inch-deeper fenders to accommodate larger wheels and tires and give the sedan a strong, athletic stance. Its drag coefficient is a slick 0.299. And while the new Altima's nicely sculpted new body is less expressive than the Sonata's and maybe a bit less pretty than the Malibu's or Fusion's, it's easily more distinctive than the Camry's or Passat's.
The base Altima 2.5 offers a 6-way manual driver's seat and a 4-way front passenger seat, plus a 60/40-split/folding rear bench seat, power windows and doorlocks, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with touch controls, remote keyless entry with a pushbutton ignition, NissanConnect Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and a 4.0-inch color customizable Advanced Driver Assist display. Altima S and SV models add features leading up to the top-line 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL models loaded with leather, premium trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, BOSE Premium Audio, and heated front seats/steering wheel/outside mirrors, plus 18-in. wheels and tires on V6-powered models.
With most major features attached to specific models, the 2013 Altima offers just three option packages and two stand-alone options (a remote start and rear spoiler). A Convenience Package and a Navigation Package are available on SV models, and a Technology Package further loads up top-line SL models. On SV and SL Altimas, NissanConnect comes with a 5.0-inch color audio display, integrated Hands-Free Messaging Assistant (it lets you listen to incoming texts and verbally respond with stock replies), SiriusXM satellite radio, and Pandora integration. With Navigation, NissanConnect gets a 7.0-inch touch screen with voice recognition, split-screen display and 3D-effect map views.
Running counter-trend, Nissan continues to offer a V6 as its "up" engine. The 2.5-liter four is redesigned for lighter weight and higher efficiency, while the 3.5-liter V6 is improved to reduce its fuel consumption. Both drive the Altima's front wheels through the only gearbox offered, Nissan's next-generation Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which has a wider ratio spread, improved control logic and 40 percent lower friction than the one it replaces. Not everyone loves a CVT, which drives engine revs ahead of vehicle speed during strong acceleration, but this one accounts for 15 percent of the new 4-cylinder's efficiency improvement and 10 percent of the V6's gain over 2012s, and it comes with fixed-ratio-simulating manual shift paddles on uplevel models.
182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/38 mpg
270 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg
The 2013 Nissan Altima starts at $22,280 MSRP (including destination), a bit more than the comparable 2012 VW Passat and 2013 Hyundai Sonata, but slightly less than the 2013 Toyota Camry or Chevy Malibu. A loaded 3.5 SL V6 stickers at about $31,000. We expect the all-new 2013 Honda Accord and Ford Fusion to come in somewhat higher when they arrive later this year. The Altima's resale value should also be mid-pack, a little less than perennial favorites Camry and Accord, but better than the rest in this highly competitive class.
By AltimaOwner on Sunday, September 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looks, Blind spot Lane warning, rear camera"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A nice car and value for money. Nice interiors, good looks. Smooth driving and has all the key features at right price."
By Happywife on Friday, September 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,010overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a dream car for my wife, and she loves it. It rides very well. I am use to the "jerk" of other transmissions, so this one is taking some getting use to. The look of it is awesome, inside and out. Moves up and down the highway really well, and is efficient enough to drive around town. Mainly my wife loves it, so you know what my life is like since I bought her the 2014 2.5SL"
By Rob C. on Monday, September 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car is LOADED. I have the 3.5 SL. I leased it with everything. Black with beige leather. I am so glad I did. I've had some minor hiccups here and there, but nothing to write home about. The Bose speakers pump so be prepared for that rattling in the front, center speaker. I have had quite a few vehicles in my life. (2 Maxima's, Audi Q5, Jeep Liberty, Honda Pilot...) I always try and get them loaded because they retain there value more and it is harder to regret your purchase when you are driving down the road and see another one ;o) and Nissan has really included a lot compared to other fully loaded vehicles. It handles great, has nice punch. Fuel isn't exactly what is advertised, but I didn't expect it to be with 270 horses, especially when you switch to manual and use the paddles. A different salesmen approached me after I signed for it and said I took his car. He was driving a 2012 Maxima at the time so I asked him why he wanted it over the Maxima? He said he can't believe how loaded the new generation is. I agreed and asked him what's the difference between it and the Maxima at this point? Now granted, the Max does have more horsepower and a few more options, but not many, so I thought his answer described the Altima perfectly. He said the difference between the Altima and Maxima now is "about 10k." It really is a great car compared to others in its class as well, when you get all Nissan is offering for it. I plan on buying mine out at the end of the lease."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful