The Nissan Altima has captured a solid niche in the mid-size auto market. Although it has not been as popular as the segment leaders Camry and Accord, the Altima has built a reputation for providing pleasant driving and good value for the money.
Nissan wanted to take the Altima to another level as in the top of its class thus displacing the Camry and Accord. To do this, the automaker took a good look at premium cars out of its league. The cars included the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C Class. The intent was to see how close the Altima could be brought to these impressive vehicles.
So what does the 2013 Nissan Altima Sedan bring to the road?
It is a five-passenger four-door front-wheel drive sedan. The trim levels include base, S, and SL.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder providing 182 hp and 180 ft. lb. of torque. The upper models are equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 270 hp and 258 ft. lb. of torque. The transmission is a (CVT) continuously variable automatic. A six-speed manual gearbox is also available. The four-cylinder Altima’s 0-60 mph time is in a quick 7.4 seconds. Of note is that with the four-cylinder engine and CVT transmission, the 2013 Altima has gained a 40 percent gas mileage increase!
The Altima sedan has a wheelbase measuring 109.3 inches and the trunk has 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space. The car’s fuel tank holds 18 gallons and its highway cruising range is an impressive 684 miles.
The Altima has a muscular stance and highly refined exterior.
At the front the windshield is well raked and is almost flat. The hood has a light cut line at the center and more prominent V shaped recessed cut lines at the hood’s edges. The headlights are large and have a V profile that points well up the front fenders. The grille is V shaped at the ends and it provides a clean and interesting appearance. Beneath the bumper is a large air intake flanked by black inserts that include driving lights.
The Altima’s side profile has a coupe like shape with its downward sloping back roof. The upper glass stretches well to the back. There is a beveled cut line just above the door handles and a cut line on the lower part of the doors. The V shape of the front headlights and rear taillights are visible in the fenders and they give the car a sense of motion.
At the rear the Altima has a bold but highly integrated look. The trunk lid is short and it has a slight lip at the edge. The lid is flat at the top but contains a large V shaped recessed license plate area below. There is a classy piece of chrome that runs horizontally at the top of the license plate area. The rear taillights are large and nicely integrated into the rear fenders. Their V shape points toward the front of the car. Dual elliptical shaped exhausts at the edges complete the car’s sharp look.
The interior of the Altima is contemporary looking and it contains luxurious materials. The car’s overall fit and finish earns high marks. Information is provided to the driver by round gauges that seem to be a lighted display rather than actual physical gauges. There is a round tachometer on the left that includes the temperature gauge at the bottom. The speedometer is on the right with the fuel gauge at its bottom. Additional information is provided in between the gauges. The dash is two tone and most of the car’s controls are located in the upper part of the console. The front bucket seats actually look close to units offered in a BMW. They provide excellent comfort for short or long driving. The rear provides good legroom and the seat is split 40/60 and folds down to increase the cargo area.
The brakes are discs at all four corners measuring 11.7 inches at the front and 11.5 inches at the rear. The Altima’s 60-0 mph stopping distance is in 123 feet. The tires measure 215 60 16 inch. Larger size tires are available.
The suspension at the front includes MacPherson struts, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the setup includes multi-links, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar.
Standard features on this Nissan include air conditioning, power door locks, windows and mirrors, remote power door locks, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, external temperature display, front and rear cup holders, overhead console with storage, remote trunk release, retained accessory power, electronic speed-proportional power steering, 12 volt power outlets, interior air filter, front and rear reading lights, 4-speaker AM/FM in dash single CD player with CD MP3 playback stereo, auxiliary audio input, radio data system, pre-wired for phone, Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone and more.
Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes, front and rear head air bags, dual front side-mounted air bags, passenger air bag sensing deactivation, child seat anchors, rear door child safety locks, remote anti-theft alarm system, engine immobilizer, electronic brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring and more.
The fuel rating for this mid-size car is an impressive 27 city and 38 mpg highway.
On the road this Nissan offers good acceleration, sporty European like handling and very good fuel economy. Additionally, the Altima offers a smooth and quiet ride in all driving environments. Overall, it is an impressive mid-size that offers a high level of driving satisfaction for the money
The 2013 Nissan Altima’s price starts at $21,500 and goes to about $30,000 for the top model.
If you want a sporty mid-size sedan that stands out from the pack and is a rewarding drive, seriously consider the 2013 Nissan Altima. It is a smart driving choice that is now indeed near the top of its class.
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” His auto site: drivethebestbook.com includes an exclusive article just for you, additional car articles, information about Kyle Busch and his 510,000 mile car, and you can even submit your automotive questions and get expert answers. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.