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
By Bear on Friday, February 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, Reliability, Comfort, Fun to Drive,"
Cons: "MUTE button for all commercials playing"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had a 2005 with a manual transmission, had 245,000 miles on it and the only thing that I had to replace was the alternator, the reason I had to get rid of it was because I was rear ended and the seats started making a squeaking noise that I could not tolerate so I researched and test drove all the "mid-size" cars out there, needless to say, all felt boring to me, even the new Altima, the first one I test drove had that whine (it was a 2013), got it as a rental and put over 2000 miles on it so I got the entire feel for it. Once the 2014 model came out, test drove it also and the steering noise was gone. I became interested, got the 2014 model and have been really happy with it, 42+ on 10 hr trips, all around mpg is 34.5, not from the car but the aCar app. At 44,000 miles, the only thing that I have had to replace has been the air filters (engine and AC). Took some getting used to the CVT because I really liked my 5-speed but now I can honestly say that I like it. I know other people that asked me about my experience, they had older Altis also and now they are driving around in brand new 2015 Altimas.... Could not be happier, well I could but would be really broke...."
By New To Nissan on Thursday, February 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Pearl White Color"
Cons: "Loud Obnxious Noise from the Power Steering."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Ive never owned or driven a Nissan, but Ive been a passenger in plenty of them and they seemed ok, but overpriced just like everything else out there. When Toyota sold me a wrecked car they were passing off as "certified", I went and traded it in and the salesman showed me this. Honestly, I only took this car because I was NOT taking home the car I was lied to about. This car was fine up until about 300 miles when it started this HORRIBLE and LOUD whining, humming, whistling noise. I took it to the shop just now and they said this is "normal" and nothing they can do about it. Well, it wasn't making the noise when I first drove it, and seeing other reviews here, its definitely some sort of design flaw. The noise is so bad it literally gives me a headache! The car is ok, some what comfortable, gas is ok, noise is horrendous and this in my opinion is not a $30,000 car (which is my final payment after interest). I have a video of it, I will try to get it posted sometime."
6 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By KEL on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "2.5 SL options are great!"
Cons: "no cons!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the first car that I have owned that was comfortable for the entire 10 hour trip home. The gas mileage is also awesome- 44 mpg on regular gas straight highway on same 10 hour trip- couldn't ask for any better. Power is not lacking either for a 4 cylinder with a CVT transmission. The whine people talk about from power steering is only heard at times- not as bad as some people lead you to believe."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By pinkbunnies on Sunday, February 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 151overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of room, very sleek, good pickup"
Cons: "bumpy when driving, kinda stiff, mpg are off"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I just bought a 2015 Nissan Altima SL. It is a beautiful car and for a 4 cylinder it drives pretty good. I've noticed going down the highway when you hit a bump, you really feel it in this car. It's brand new and hopefully I'll just get used to it. The bluetooth system is amazing. The sound system is great. I think the MPG are exaggerated. I've never seen 38 MPG on the highway. Overall, its a pretty good car. I don't think that the back up camera is the best but it gets the job done. I'd buy one again."
33 people out of 54 found this review helpful
By Beaker on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The Altima has a power steering assist unit and it whistles constantly.You can hear it at all times and the faster you go the higher it whistles.I have had it to the shop twice and they say this is normal..."
29 people out of 51 found this review helpful
By PA Driver on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Int. spacious, great mpg, good power."
Cons: "Int. is a dust magnet, improve interior fabric."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Good power, excellent mpg (avg. 29-30, hwy I have gotten 42). Exterior styling is ok. I am, however, dissappointed in the interior, fabric on seats is not the quality of a previous Nissan owned, and the dash board and console is a dust magnet. The push button start, to me,is more of an inconvenience, would rather use a key. Wish it were an option."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful