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2013 Nissan Altima

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2013 Nissan Altima Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the Altima

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.

2013 Nissan Altima Details
2013 Nissan Altima photo Interior

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
2013 Nissan Altima photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

2.5-liter inline-4
182 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/38 mpg

3.5-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg

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2013 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 248 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.3/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

AFTER 3 PERFECT ALTIMAS 2015 A DISAPPOINTMENT

By on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage and exterior/interior styling"

Cons: "Wind noise and excelleration not as great as 2011"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Being a loyal Nissan customer for the past 30plus years I took it for granted there is no disappointment with this Brand. I traded my 2011 for the 2015 and expected more, well learned a valuable lesson and will research first in the future and not go by past experience. Car has a windy sound from window or door, not sure where. Also problem with defective front passenger seat casing came apart same day so far has been repaired twice. Hoping this is not my first lemon and plan to give a second chance. Still great gas mileage and smooth driving experience surpasses any other brands I've driven. Price is excellent for luxury items which are standard in the SL model."

OK as short distance commutter

By on Thursday, August 13, 2015

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Nice looking with lots of room good gas milage"

Cons: "rear brakes & front tires wore out too soon"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Overall it was an OK car that did what it was supposed to do. There was not a lot of foot room in front making it hard to get or stay comfortable in either seat. 0."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car for the money!

By on Thursday, August 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Excellent handling and braking."

Cons: "No major complaints"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Excellent Value. Great handling and good brakes. Quieter than my previous larger car with minimal road and wind noise. Outstanding fuel mileage. Very pleased with this vehicle."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

comfoprt and acceleration

By on Sunday, August 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "solid acceleration at any speed, comfortable"

Cons: "make navigation part of standard equip."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this car used 2 years ago, and has been a pleasant surprise. i kind of knew what i was getting as my parents had the 2012 Maxima. My Altima has the same engine, the 3.5. i love the CVT very smooth acceleration, seems to be instant power at any speed. Have had the car up to the 120-130 range and handled excellent, just like it does at 65 mph. 2 minor recalls on it and both were fixed within 30 minutes."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

2013 Altima SL

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

Internals after having to replace valve cover.

"I bought this car for its simplicity and fuel mileage. The fuel system is not direct injection which I didn't want. Hwy best mileage is 38.8 miles on a 1500 mile trip. Pretty comfortable ride. Nice mid sized sedan."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Internals after having to replace valve cover.

Low initial quality

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,899

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Radio,mpg,cvt"

Cons: "Paint fail,non cooled seats,needs bout 30 hp"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"There's flashing on the cheap plastic door parts. Paint has orange peel and even bleed through. Motor is peppy and cvt is best in it's class. Seats are comfortable but offer no cooling or ventilation option. The Bose radio has an awesome sound."

7 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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