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2013 Nissan Altima Review

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2013 Nissan Altima Expert Review

By

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.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.6
  • 8.8
  • 8.4
  • 8.4
  • 8.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#11

out of 38

Fuel Economy

#18

out of 39

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

7.7 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2013 Nissan Altima Low/wide front photo 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
2013 Nissan Altima Front angle view photo

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 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view 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
2013 Nissan Altima Engine photo

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

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.

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2013 Nissan Altima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 171 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    7.9/10
    Performance
    7.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Unreliable, poorly put together

By on Monday, August 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fast (V6), comfortable seats, handles well"

Cons: "totally unreliable and poorly put together"

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

"I'm taking my 2013 Altima 3.5 back to the dealership next week for 5 (FIVE!) separate problems. Whistling sound from outside, center console latch doesnt work, hard plastic rattle in the dash, something rattling in the trunk lid, and a droning sound coming from the blower fan. This car has been to the dealership 4 times in the last year for a multitude of problems. A side to side shuddering at high speeds that they kind of fixed when they rotated the tires. It still shudders, just not as much. They replaced the drivers side mirror to stop the whistling noise, but it made it worse. The only thing the dealer actually fixed was a vent rattle, but that made the center console rattle worse. This is the worst car I've ever owned, by a mile. I actually didn't think they produced cars this poorly made anymore. I wanted it to be reliable so bad, because I actually like it. It handles well, accelerates very well, and it's comfortable. But I just have no faith in it. A little over a year old and with less than 9,000 miles, and it's a been a constant problem."

Hate this car!!!!!

By on Friday, August 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"Never know if the navigation/radio are going to work. Screen shuts off; restarts; speakers won't work; SD card malfunctions; no one can fix it and I have had to drive hours with no radio or navigation. Did I mention NO ONE can fix this and it has been a problem since the 2013 model!"

2013 Altima S bought January 27 2013 14,078 miles

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,078

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Its fine to drive across the country/"

Cons: "It's miserable driving it in town."

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

"My Altima is a nice car to drive cross country on an Interstate. It's comfortable and it gets 37 mpg. The cons would be its very hard to see backing up. It has big blind spots on the sides. The front windshield reflects everything on the dash very badly to the point that when the sun is a certain angles I can't read large road signs till I get right to them. I just corrected this with polaroid sunglasses. The car has a very twitchy front end. I have to steer it very very careful or it jerks. The brakes are very sensitive. I can just barely touch them. The car will come to a screaming stop with no effort. The car is a automatic and free rolls very easily. I'm use to a manual and taking my foot off the gas and braking with the engine. My altima has to be slowed down with the bakes almost totally. My brakes are wearing quickly and this bothers me because I'm actually a slow driver for the most part. I never get in a hurry. Today I bought another new car and I tried to trade my altima in on it but i was offered 10,000 dollars less than I paid for it. My altima is 19 months old with 14,078 miles and is in pristine condition. 24,000 new reduced to 14,000 after 19 months. So it has no trade in value at all. The other thing I almost forgot is my blue tooth reception is so bad our friends asked us to stop using it with our cellphones. My wife and I both have Samsung s5's. Neither my wife or I enjoy driving this car around town because we feel so blind driving it. The car feels very wide also. I have a lot of buyer remorse. Sorry I just thought of one more thing. I've drove this car from Kansas city to Gatlinburg, Tennesee and a couple months later I drove from Kansas City to Charlottesville, Virginia. So I had two vacations in it driving in the Appalacian Mountains. One thing the engine and cvt transmission due that I cant get use to is that when I'm going up a steep grade the engine rpm's pulsate very high then drop and do this over and over on a long climb. It's a very crazy sound and its strange watching the rpm's build and drop over and over again. Steep grades work the engine and transmission very hard."

29 people out of 49 found this review helpful

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