2013 Nissan Altima
• Type. Four-door, front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan.
• Engine (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (182); 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (270).
• Mileage: L/100 km (city/hwy) 7.4/5.0 (2.5).
• Base Price (incl. destination): $25,300.
First impressions are often lasting ones, and for new-car buyers they can also make the difference between closing the deal right then and there or searching elsewhere.
Where the 2013 Nissan Altima is concerned, most shoppers’ reactions will be, “Whoa!”
The outgoing Altima that has been around since the 2007 model year was certainly no mutt, but the new car really shows that its best-before date has come and gone. The mid-size sedan presents a graceful face, with a grille and headlight pods that almost appear to melt into the stylish fenders. The windshield pillars have a bit more rake to them to help reduce aerodynamic drag.
At the opposite end, the knife-edge-style tail lights neatly encircle the fenders and the trunk lid’s spoiler is integrated as part of the sheet metal. Viewed in profile, the Altima doesn’t appear significantly changed, but the fancier chrome door handles and similarly coated trim pieces throughout attest to the car’s more glamorous presence.
The base 2.5 model’s pricing begins at $25,300 (including delivery to the dealer) and includes all the usual bells and whistles. From that point, S, SV and SL models pile on the content, but can add more than $9,000 to the base price with luxuries such as heated front seats leather interior, heated steering wheel and a power moonroof.
The Altima’s impressively restyled sheet metal and interior appointments, matched with seriously improved fuel economy, serve notice that this Nissan has what it takes get your attention.
On the road, the Altima uses Active Understeer Control. During turning, light braking is applied to the inside wheel to counteract the natural tendency for the car to continue in straight line.
Also assisting is Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert that was initially installed in the Quest minivan.
The interior offers about the same passenger and trunk volume as before, but a concerted effort was undertaken to replace or recover hard-plastic surfaces with soft-touch materials. Another area of focus was noise reduction, achieved by adding more sound-absorbing materials around the car.
The base 2.5-litre four-cylinder’s output has notched up to 182 horsepower from the previous 175 due to a new valve train. An all-new continuously variable transmission offers fewer moving parts (reducing friction) and electronic-control improvements so that it more closely mimics a traditional multi-speed automatic.