The 2013 Altima is one of five all-new Nissan models scheduled for introduction in the next 15 months. It was the second best-selling car in the US in 2011, so much is riding on the new fifth generation Altima.
“In a segment as critical as this, with longtime nameplates and new challengers fighting for every sale, it’s not enough to just target the competition. You have to think outside – and far above – the segment,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc.
Midsize buyers are faced with a plethora of car choices, many of which look a lot alike and have almost identical features and powertrains. Those buyers are usually motivated by the rational aspects of the purchase decision such as value, reliability and comfort, which Altima shares with a number of other brands.
But for buyers who aren’t satisfied with owning just another boring mid-size sedan, Nissan says the new Altima meets all of those rational purchase reasons, but delivers them in a way that is also emotionally rewarding. That’s where styling and performance come in.
Nissan avoided the temptation to simply evolve the new Altima into the next generation. Instead, they redesigned nearly everything – the look, the feel, the driving experience and, of course, the technology down to even the headlights and windshield wipers. “If you’ve liked the previous Altima, you’ll love this one even more.” said Carolin.
At first glance, it’s a bit difficult to identify the new Altima. It’s about an inch and a half wider, with a new grille design, seamless bumper, projector-type headlights, a more fluid silhouette and large LED taillights. Attention to aerodynamic fine-tuning gives the new Altima a lower coefficient of drag.
There’s not much new under the hood. A choice of two proven Altima powerplants, the 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter DOHC V6, are again offered for the new model year.
The 2.5-liter QR25 engine has been tweaked to be lighter and more efficient. It now includes variable valve timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts. Horsepower has increased by seven to an estimated 182 hp (from 175 hp), while torque remains the same at 180 lb-ft. The 3.5-liter V6 remains rated at 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft.
Helping increase fuel economy with both engines is the next-generation Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission. Over 70 percent of the parts have been redesigned to reduce internal friction. A wider gear ratio range reduces noise and fuel consumption.
“With fewer moving parts, less friction and less drivetrain shock to other parts, Altima’s Xtronic CVT offers better fuel economy, better acceleration and better durability versus a conventional automatic transmission,” said Carolin. “It translates the driver’s intentions in the most efficient way possible, maintaining the ‘right gear’ for every situation – creating a highly rewarding driving experience.”
Fuel economy with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. With the 3.5-liter V6, Altima is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. Also contributing to the improved fuel efficiency are tires with reduced rolling resistance and a smart alternator that only operates when the vehicle is decelerating.
Consistent with Altima’s reputation for good dynamic performance, the 2013 model offers a redefined multi-link rear suspension. The Altima’s front suspension uses an independent front strut design. Stabilizer bars are utilized front and rear.
Used for the first time on a Nissan vehicle is a new Active Understeer Control system. It uses stability control information to brake the inside front wheels during cornering to increase yaw-moment and is intended for everyday operation rather than emergency evasive maneuvers.
A new Electronic Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering (EHPS) system preserves the feel of hydraulic steering rack while offering the efficiencies of an electric power steering set-up.
Choices of wheels and tires include 16-inch steel wheels with full covers and 215/60R16 all-season tires, or 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/55R17 V-rated all-season tires, on 2.5-liter models. New 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/45R18 V-rated all-season tires are standard on 3.5-liter V6-equipped models.
Inside the new Altima’s cabin, upscale, soft-touch materials and close attention to detail create a premium look and feel. Using a new articulated seat shape, so-called “zero-gravity” seats help reduce fatigue during long periods behind the wheel. Perforated seat surfaces provide increased ventilation and comfort. Heated front seats are also available.
Standard fare includes cloth seating with a 6-way driver’s seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest, and Piano Black interior trim with chrome finish accents. Also available are leather seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and light or dark trim finishes.
More effective noise absorption materials are used throughout the cabin, including areas such as the roof trim, instrument panel and floor mats.
Speaking of noise, the standard audio system includes an AM/FM/CD design with RDS, MP3, aux-in and six speakers. An optional Bose Premium Audio System with nine speakers was designed along with Bose engineers during vehicle development to deliver enhanced sound and acoustics.
The 2013 Altima offers NissanConnectSM, an infotainment package that combines Bluetooth hands-free phone system and streaming audio, along with an integrated hands-free Messaging Assistant, Pandora integration, USB connection for iPod interface and other compatible devices and SiriusXM Satellite Radio It includes a 5.0-inch color audio display with SV and SL models.
Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant lets drivers manage incoming text messages via voice control. Drivers can hear the text read out loud and respond via voice recognition, or via the steering wheel switches using pre-set answers.
The NissanConnectSM with Navigation system has a 7.0-inch touch-screen, 3D-effect map views, Voice Recognition and turn-by-turn navigation integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist Display. State of the art navigation features include speed limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning, and split-screen display.
The new Advanced Drive-Assist Display features a 4.0-inch color display located between the tachometer and speedometer. The system is customizable and adjustable using the steering wheel controls, so drivers can view the information that is most important to them, including the audio system display, instant MPG, trip computer and tire pressure monitoring.
Three screens are always available (CarView, Vehicle Settings and Active Vehicle Warnings) and the driver can also select four other active screens from seven other available screens.
On vehicles equipped with NissanConnectSM or NissanConnectSM with Navigation, the Advanced Drive-Assist display shows navigation destination turn-by-turn information, Pandora song information and more.
The Advanced Drive-Assist Display can be linked to three new available safety features,
Blind Spot Warning Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection. The three systems are part of the optional Technology Package, which also includes the NissanConnectSM with Navigation.
The Blind Spot Warning System uses the rearview camera to scan the Altima’s blind spots and alerts the driver if there is a vehicle in the zone. The Lane Departure Warning system uses the rearview camera to monitor lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle unintentionally crosses these markers. Moving Object Detection detects moving objects, such as other vehicles, when the rearview camera is engaged when backing up and warns the driver with visual cues.
Other interesting bells and whistles include the Easy Fill Tire Alert function. When filling the tires with air, the hazard lamps flash to let the operator know the system is working. When the correct pressure is reached, a beep of the horn provides notification.
A factory-installed Remote Engine Start System allows the owner to heat or cool the vehicle from the comfort of home.
The 2013 Altima offers a long list of standard safety features, including Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat occupant head protection.
The 2013 Altima is offered in four 2.5-liter engine equipped models, 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along with three 3.5-liter V6 equipped models, 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL.
The 2.5 S model includes 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, Advanced Drive-Assist Display, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key, six speakers, auto on/off headlights, in-cabin microfilter, Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure readouts, and much more. Altima 3.5 S adds 18-inch wheels and tires, plus paddle shifters with manual mode.
SV models include Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Remote Engine Start System, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-alloy wheels (17-inch on 2.5 SV, 18-inch on 3.5 SV), Rear View Monitor, NissanConnectSM with Pandora radio capability, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 5.0-inch color audio display, USB port with iPod connectivity, Hands-Free Messaging Assistant and more. The 3.5 SV also adds a moonroof, fog lights and HomeLink.
SL models include leather-appointed seating, BOSE Premium Audio System with nine speakers, 8-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, LED taillights, LED outside mirror turn signals, premium interior trim, power sliding moonroof, auto dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink and more.
Just three option packages are available: a Convenience Package (2.5 SV), Navigation Package (SV) and Technology Package (SL).
On sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide, the new 2013 Altima has a starting MSRP of $21,500.