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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
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 268 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.2/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

More Car Than Expected

By on Monday, July 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,980

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very Low Cost to Own, Very Comfortable & Quiet"

Cons: "Back-up Camera Not Standard on 2014 2.5 S"

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

Took this pic while in for an oil change & Tire Rotation !

"We have had the Camry & Accord, so we thought it would be a good change & get the Altima. We trade every 3-5 yrs and usually its 5 unless there is a reason to trade sooner. We usually get the middle trim model like the Accord EX, Camry XLE, both having cloth as standard, but with added features. We thought we would get the Altima SV with the preferred pkg but after doing some research & test driving the Altima, we chose the 2.5 S as it really had all the things we needed & we added an after-market power moon-roof with a lifetime warranty & remote start all for an additional $1k. We love our 2014 Altima 2.5 S sedan, only wish it had the back-up camera & upgraded audio package, but it has so many features and the dealer had it priced to sell as it was 1 of 7 left over 2014's and it was March 2015. We love our Altima & would definately get another in a heartbeat, & another S package next time but with the audio upgrade & remote start from factory as its like an additional $400, unless Nissan has a promotional moons & tunes package as they have in the past but we were not Nissan owners at the time. We have owned a Nissan before, we had a 1995 Maxima that we bought in 1996 as a left over that we drove for 6-yrs & 110Kmi before trading for a 2002 Accord EX sedan. We will be buying more Nissan's in the future. Maybe a Rouge SV AWD next time or another Maxima or Altima, time will tell ! Revised: 7/11/16"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Took this pic while in for an oil change & Tire Rotation !

DO NOT BUY!!!

By on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Worst.car.ever. I purchased this car brand new from dealer 3 years ago. I am still paying for the car and at 45,000 miles the air conditioning went out. I haven't even paid off the car and I have to pay HALF of what I pay a year in payments to have it fixed. The car is only 3 years old!!!! My last Nissan Altima had air conditioning issues too but at least that lasted 6 years! It does get good gas mileage but in the long run it is not worth it. BUYER BEWARE! We will never purchase another Nissan again."

2 people out of 10 found this review helpful

This is my favorite car.

By on Thursday, June 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,025

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas mileage and comfortable seats=great traveling"

Cons: "Nissan needs to work on road noise"

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

"We had a 2013 Altima SV and loved it. Three road trips between four and five thousand miles gave great MPG and comfort that allowed us to travel all day and not feel beat up at the end of the day. Then two months ago, we traded it on a '16 Rogue SV. Worst mistake EVER. Rogue mileage was 24-26 highway compared to the Altima's 38-41. Suddenly the idea of a 4,000 mile trip was more expensive than we wanted to think about. Rogue seats aren't as comfortable as Altima, but lack of range means more opportunity to get out and stretch legs at gas pumps. Altima's trunk is vastly larger than Rogue's cargo space behind seats. We corrected the mistake today. Local dealer had a '15 Altima SL on the lot with 5K miles. The car had never been titled. We traded the Rogue after two months on the Altima. Took a beating on money but glad to be out of the Rogue and into the Altima. Don't get me wrong, the Rogue is fine and I think we'd have been happy with it IF we had not had the Altima to contrast it."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

I use to love this car

By on Thursday, April 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,300

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great on gas. Especially on the highway"

Cons: "Transmission died toooo early and no early warning"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"This is my second Altima. Was in love with 2008 then traded for 2013. Love gas per mile and the puck up power of this 4 cylinder. Recently became very disappointed. Transmission went out at 43000. Was looking to trade it in, but now the value instantly dropped with the same dealership I purchased the car from. Very disappointed. As much as I love the Altima, it is not time for me to look at other options."

21 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Excellent Car

By on Thursday, April 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "mpg, fun to drive, power"

Cons: "get tired in the seats after awhile"

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

"This car has the best combo of speed and mpg. I continually get over 40 mpg. It's better than the Prius in that if you need the speed, it's there. It will take off like a rocket if you want it to. Back up camera is a must. The Nissan App works like a charm with Pandora. Nice feature to have to listen to a variety of music for free. Smooth driving. No issues at all, and have 31K miles. Only wish I had got the convenience and tech packages."

16 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Nice Ride

By on Thursday, April 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quiet ride,cold a/c, tech displays."

Cons: "Don't really have any."

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

"Just turned 40000 miles car has been a great car I really have no complaints still have original tires and brakes and many more miles to go before they need replacing. Drives very smooth and is very quiet on the road. Car is very comfortable to drive."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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