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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV

The 2013 Nissan Altima is "all-new" for this year. I have never been a fan of the Altima because it looked too much like the Maxima, and was around the same size. I've driven the last generation Altima sedan and Coupe which weren't a favorite of mines. But the 2013 Altima has really changed my mind. The '13 Altima competes against the Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, redesigned Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Mazda6. There are three Altima models to choose from, 2.5, S, SV, and SL. My tester was an Altima SV that came in at $26,095.

Exterior
The 2013 Altima is the best looking Altima EVER!!! It is apparent that the Altima got it's design cues from the Maxima, Ellure concept, and the Infiniti M. The front of the Altima is bold and definitely makes a statement when you drive up. While driving throughout North Carolina I got many looks and stares but that could have been the Cayenne Red exterior color. Red has never been my color but I think the Altima looks best in this color. 17'' alloy wheels are standard as well as dual exhaust outlets.

Interior
The interior of the '13 Altima is a huge improvement over the last generation. There is a mix of soft touch materials and hard plastics throughout the cabin. The seats in the Altima are extremely comfortable and supportive. My passengers also thought the seats were some of the best seats they have sat in. In the backseat there is plenty of legroom and headroom. I had no complaints coming from my aunt who was sitting in the back. The buttons and knobs are easy to reach from the driver's seat and are of great quality. My tester came standard with a leather wrapped steering wheel which was easy to grip.

Tech
For a mid-level Altima there is quite a bit of tech. The '13 Altima comes with the Advanced Drive-Assist Display, Bluetooth hands-free and streaming audio, dual zone automatic temperature control, remote engine start, a 5" color display and Rearview monitor.

Safety
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System is a great addition to have. The horn will beep when you have reached the optimum pressure. The Altima comes with 6 airbags, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
The LATCH System was simple and easy. I had no trouble attaching and removing my cousin's car-seat.

Behind the Wheel
The '13 Altima is powered by either a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine producing 182 hp or a 3.5L V6 producing 270 hp. My tester was the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine mated to Nissan's new Xtronic CVT driving the front wheels. For all of the people that complain about CVTs you all need to drive the new Altima. Nissan's engineers did a hell of a job making the CVT flawless. I may get flack for saying this but at times I thought I was in a car with an conventional automatic transmission. The majority of my time behind the wheel I had the Altima shifted to Ds which made the Altima drive sportier. I did miss paddle shifters which would have been nice to have. I was in the '12 Altima a few months ago and the '13 Altima accelerated quicker and smoother. The Active Understeer Control worked really well. The '13 Altima was fun and enjoyable. I did not even think of wanting the bigger V6 engine. At one point my grandmother (who drives a '11 Infiniti EX35) said "is this a V6?" I achieved a combined 24 mpg during my time in the Altima but I expected it to be a little higher.

Overall
I now have a little soft spot in my heart for the '13 Altima. As much as I like the new Altima, the Maxima will always be my favorite Nissan sedan. But with high fuel costs I would definitely pick the Altima due to it's impressive MPG ratings. People should know that the Altima is not and I repeat is not a "sports sedan" but it is a sporty sedan. Having only driven the recent Kia Optima, and new Altima I am falling in love with the midsize sedan category. If you are in the market for a new midsize sedan then you should take a look at the new Altima. But for those who like the look of the upcoming Ford Fusion and Mazda6 I would suggest waiting until you drive both of those models. A 2013 Altima 2.5 base model starts at $21,500 and delivers 27 city and 38 hwy.

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