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2013 Nissan Altima Debut

Because vanilla is no longer the flavor of the week in the midsize sedan segment.

2013 Nissan Altima Research Click to hide

What's New

The new 2013 Nissan Altima comes as a replacement for the popular midsize sedan that had been lingering in Nissan's lineup since 2007. The new car implements fresh design elements and mixes them in with a look more uniform with the 370Z sports car and Maxima full-sizer, incorporating Nissan's new grille. But while the new Altima got a huge injection in the looks department, it's under the sheetmetal where it all counts, as the 2013 Altima offers many innovative, new features, and uses the same basic four-cylinder and V-6 engines to achieve even better fuel economy, placing four-cylinder models at a tentatively rated 38 mpg highway, the segment's best.

Who It's For

The Nissan Altima had its best sales year last year, despite being an older model in a segment of newcomers. Surprisingly, through the first two months of 2012, it's doing even better. Attribute that to Nissan's intuitive controls and inoffensiveness in a market that's quickly becoming divisive with more daring designs. The 2013 Altima looks to capitalize on some of that with a more handsome look, a slightly larger profile, and more technology. But compared to some other midsizers, its looks stay right in the middle of the market. With the new NissanConnect infotainment system, lane departure warning, and Advanced Drive-Assist, among other new tech toys, the Altima also looks to be bringing the fight to a slew of newer competitors like the upcoming Ford Fusion and 2013 Honda Accord, as well as the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, and others.

Key Features

We'd characterize the 2013 Nissan Altima as a modification to a winning formula, infused with new technology and features including:
  • Advanced Drive-Assist, which is a four-inch, customizable interface in the middle of the gauges that displays audio settings, instant mpg, trip computer, tire pressure, and turn-by-turn navigation arrows.
  • A standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that now makes 182 horsepower and delivers as much as 38 mpg highway. An estimated 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is also available.
  • Zero-gravity, anti-fatigue seats with foam engineered by NASA used in the interior.
  • Standard Bluetooth with audio streaming.
  • NissanConnect infotainment that has a smartphone-integrated ability to use hands-free text messaging, navigation, Pandora, Google point of interest searching, and navigation.

What We Think

The 2013 Nissan Altima certainly looks the part, sleeker and less generic than the previous generation. Nissan's making all the right changes when it comes to keeping the car fresh, and it's doing its part to get new shoppers into its showrooms with slick deals and improved products, especially this 2013 Altima. Rumor had it Nissan was dropping its V-6 in favor of a supercharged four-cylinder, keeping in line with much of the competition, but that didn't pan out. Still, a hybrid using Leaf technology is expected shortly, and it will go on sale nationally in this generation instead of just select markets. The new Altima should find plenty of takers, and we think Nissan will rake in many, many more than the current generation if it can keep the pricing competitive to today's car, which is on the low side for the segment.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: New York 2012