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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

#13

out of 41

Fuel Economy

#19

out of 41

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

7.8 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
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 177 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

My favorite car

By on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,125

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Read my reivew"

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

"I own a 2013 Altima S (2.5). Black/Blue color. I had to give my son my 2002 Acura TL to get back and forth to school and work. I loved that car. Needless to say, I had to look for a new car that was good on gas A MUST. I got the S since I'm not into HiTech screen displays, multimedia etc...in the car as I don’t spend too much time in it. I wanted a good car that drove nice and good on gas. The styling inside is very sleek. I like the chrome detail which some people may not care for. Seats feel deep which I like but you can raise the chair up. The car would be ideal for very tall people, which I am not. I feel very safe in it and it does not have a "tin" feeling. Solid car tht can play with the best of them. The car has guts. She's got moxy. Drives very nice for mid-size sedan with great handling. luxurious feel while feeling sporty. Best bang for your buck staying in a reasonable budget for luxury. If you have soda pop money and can't afford a Lexus, this will suffice. I've read people complain about the CVT, but once it cruises is very quiet. Don't even notice. The car is very easy over bumps. This does not have your typical gears; D, D1, D2, D3. It has D and Ds since the transmission does not change gears. Some people may not like in bad weather (snow/ice) for lack of control over the gears for them that want such. For comfort, I gave a 7. The seats are very nice and comfy with the zero gravity and lots of room. The only thing that bothered me was the headrest, for me the driver. It tilts forward, and makes my head need to lean forward at the neck. I try to correct by leaning the seat back to adjust. Other than that, very comfy. I hear people make remarks over the camera (backup) in the other models. These are Drive Assists to help and aide, not to watch movies. These are to aide driving, not do it for you. Me, I trust my own eyes. I’ve been driving since I was 17 and am now 43. I don’t need blind spot, lane departure or cameras, I’ve been hit by idiots though which these features do ZERO in that respect. Some people like these tid bits and I do respect the technology that it is there for people that like this. The car is very good on gas. I drive 33miles in total to work."

9 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Fantastic Car

By on Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Leg Room and Fuel Economy"

Cons: "Nothing"

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

"We have a 2015 Altima and it so much fun to drive. The car is very comfortable and it is great on long trips. The fuel mileage is much better then the Toyota Corolla we had and the Altima is so much bigger! I would highly recommend this car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

We Love It!!!

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fuel Mileage anf Appearence"

Cons: "None"

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

"My husband and I bought this car because of its comfort and appearance. The 2015 Nissan Altima SV is a great car with a very powerful 4 cylinder engine. The sound system is great and we have the tech package. We chose the Saharan Stone color which looks so classy. The fuel mileage has been incredible so far averaging over 32 MPG around town. The Michelin tires are so quiet and the overall handling is great! This is a great car for the price!"

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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