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 JD (FL) on Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,800overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, ride, seats, back up camera"
Cons: "None yet!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Read some reviews on this car and was a little concerned, took the car on a trip and averaged 39.5 mpg at 70mph thats pretty amazing for a larger midsize car! My over all mpg is 32mpg in the city all the time. For the new CVT transmission jury is still out on that one, time will tell had a little shudder at a very low Rpm once but hasn't happened again maybe the rpm' s are too low at a low speed to pull this large car but it only happened once. Love the features that come with the SV model, has an awesome ride on the hwy very smooth and quiet the 4 cylinder moves the car with ease on the highway and the seats are very comfortable,makes this car great road trip car!"
By Altima Girl (OK) on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 357overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "luxury with zip, comfort, great MPG-love everythin"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The 2014 Altima is very comfortable. The interior is luxurious, the seats are wonderful. The exterior is awesome - a looker. I bought the 2.5 S and it is plenty car for me.I traded my 2013 Rogue for the Altima and the gas mileage rocks! The trunk space is big. The ride is smooth and quiet. Pure luxury. Perfect car with lots of room. I absolutely love, love, love it!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By crashnburn (TX) on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, Fuel Economy, Bluetooth"
Cons: "Unreliable, Cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I am expecting a new child so I had to upgrade my vehicle from the 2012 Nissan Juke to a larger car. After much debate I chose the Altima. I liked the styling and the features for the price. I wish I knew that I was going to have problem, after problem, after problem. I started having transmission problems about 500 miles into the vehicle. The car sputter/judder/trembles at random times while shifting at low RPMs. I thought this was odd so I drove it another 100 miles hoping the issue would "work" itself out. No dice. Took it into Nissan and they serviced it no problem. "Reprogrammed" the transmission they told me. Ok. I drove it out of there and thought the issue fixed. Nope. It is still stuttering but different. It is not as pronounced and happens more randomly. Took it to Nissan to have it repaired and they couldn't "recreate" the issue. Now I have to take it back in a 3rd time. I am having a sour taste in my mouth. :("
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By odindio (MN) on Saturday, November 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "milage, comfort, safety, price"
Cons: "durable?,noise?,options raise price,limited colors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've seen near 50MPG, but expect around 40 freeway. Center console is peeling/bubbling slightly. I've had some fan and cabin noise, and I've not figured that out yet as it comes and goes. At times the car seems to get blown from left to right on the freeway. Nissan will try to sell you extra stuff (warranties, coatings, etc.). I'd avoid them. There are too many thing too list in 50 characters that I like about this car."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Joe (TX) on Saturday, October 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great all around car."
Cons: "Wind noise from the side mirrors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"This vehicle would be great if it was not for the wind noise coming from the outside mirrors. I have taken it in several times and they can't fix the problem."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Goofyfan (CA) on Saturday, October 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent looks, Mileage and comfort."
Cons: "The dealer can not fix their cars......."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased this car on September 13, 2013 and the auto start feature has not worked still to this day. It has been in the shop 5 times and I have had a rental for 12 days of the 6 weeks I have owned it, in order for the dealer to fix it. I have Multiple Sclerosis and the Auto Start feature is manditory for me to own the car. I have to have the temperature under 80 degrees in the car or I get light headed and could pass out. This is why I purchased the SV model. It is the most amazing car for looks, and gas mileage. I averaged 48 miles per gallon on a trip from Idaho to California. It drives like a dream and I would love to keep it but the dealer can not fix the car. Corporate is not willing to do anything and I have never had a dealer sell a car that they are not willing to sell that works to perfection. Or at least fix it so it works every time. Nissan is Worthless at helping me and the Buena Park Nissan Dealer isn't willing to make it right. I will NEVER PURCHASE A NISSAN EVER AGAIN.... Buyer beware. The 2013 Nissan Altima is the first model ever to offer Auto Start. So they are new to auto start. But it is manditory for me to have it work or I can not drive it on hot days. And in Orange County it has been in the 80's to 90's since I bought the car."
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful