The Nissan Altima is currently in its fifth generation, and by most accounts its most stylish. Gone is the largely boxy build, replaced by a sleeker, slender body, or so it would appear. In fact, the 2013 Nissan Altima is bigger than its predecessor, yet it’s the lightest midsize sedan in its class according to Wikipedia, thanks to the implementation of high strength steel and aluminum throughout various parts of the car.
A total of 7 trims are available, though Nissan only offers two different engines; a 2.5 liter and 3.5 liter. Horsepower is 182 and 270 respectively, and with that comes a very reasonable 27/38 and 22/31 mpg fuel rating.
My Nissan was outfitted with the company’s 2.5 liter powertrain mated to a CVT transmission. I’ve only been in a few CVT (continual variable transmission) cars, and despite my disdain for them, this one is quite smooth.
This is further complemented by what are outstandingly comfortable seats. I know it’s a some what random feature to point out, but I found the Nissan’s seats – cloth finished – to be exceptionally supportive and all the while relaxing. No, unlike the Audi A8L they’re not replete with a massaging system, but for long road trips I could see them paying dividends.
In the grand scheme of things, 182 ponies is nothing to scoff out. For a car of this ilk, it gets things underway with relative ease and leaves just enough power to make aggressive moves if the situation so calls for it. That said, ride comfort is average, leaving little to be desired and even less to complain about.
The Nissan Altima’s interior stylings are probably best described as simple and practical. The steering wheel controls are a bit convoluted and are almost a mirror image from left to right. In my experience, the less mirrored, the easier it is to memorize each button’s respective settings since tactile uniqueness serves as a a good reminder or indicator as to what they do.
The infotainment system, which is not standard – it’s a $590 option – is surprisingly zippy. Adding to its allure is the integration of Google supported maps and points of interests, which when can receive POIs via your smartphone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the Nissan Connect system after a number of attempts to login, so I can’t comment on its usefulness. That aside, the maps and their responsiveness exceeds that of many luxury vehicles of today, even though graphically the entire system is lack luster, as is the somewhat small 7-inch display.
Connecting my phone to the car’s Bluetooth stereo system is a standard affair. Sound quality of the system is decent – when tuned correctly you can squeeze a bit more gusto out of the speakers – but for those seeking extra oomph in their music, you’ll want to seek an aftermarket option since this one is, much like the car, stands some good middle ground.
Words that I WOULDN’T use to describe the new Nissan Altima are sluggish, slow, cumbersome. In fact, the 2013 Nissan Altima feels anything but. However, it’s not devoid of body roll and nor is it the tautest, and rightfully so as it isn’t a sports car. Nevertheless, it’s a caveat that is replaced by a comfortable ride, and while not the quietest in terms of road noise, is surely on par with many other sedans that are north of $30,000.
Of all of the things, the steering in the 2013 Nissan Altima is a pleasant surprise, largely thanks to its electromechanical assist nature. In other words, it’s not EPS, which can significantly numb feedback. However, this might prove a moot issue to many buyers of this car, since aggressive or spirited driving will be few and far between, if not never. Nevertheless, you can check this off in the positive category.
The Nissan Altima may not have the same allure as some luxury vehicles, but what it lacks in opulence it makes up for in practicality. Fuel efficiency is clearly at the top of consumer’s minds these days, and because of that the 2013 Nissan Altima scores big points.
Personally, I lust after luxury vehicles, which doesn’t make me the exception, but more the rule. That being said, the 2013 Altima is a compromise. It may not be the most opulent, or best in class in terms of exterior and interior styling, but I quickly overlooked and even forgot about those things when I considered all that is has to offer.
Bottom Line: a practical every day, lean vehicle (no fat here) whose only compromise is not being in the luxury class in terms of interior and exterior finishes.