2013 Nissan Altima Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Nissan Altima

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Altima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 182 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/38 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 Nissan Altima

  • Now in its fifth generation, the 2013 Nissan Altima is the most refined, fuel-efficient and upscale Altima ever. Sharp handling, a well-made cabin and energetic engines instill the Altima with more character than the typical family sedan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong acceleration and fuel economy for both engines; rewarding handling; smooth and quiet ride; comfortable front seats; user-friendly electronics; solid interior quality.

  • Cons

    Tight rear headroom; CVT can be overeager during moderate acceleration, resulting in excess noise from four-cylinder engine; Altima coupe has lower mpg ratings.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Nissan Altima sedan has been fully redesigned. The exterior and interior are completely new, with a focus on a more upscale look and feel throughout. Important engineering revisions markedly improve fuel economy, particularly for four-cylinder models, while updated suspension and steering designs maintain the Altima's reputation as one of the market's best-handling family sedans. The coupe remains mechanically unchanged, but loses its optional V6 and is reduced to only a single 2.5 S trim level.

Full 2013 Nissan Altima Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Nissan Altima sedan has been fully redesigned. The exterior and interior are completely new, with a focus on a more upscale look and feel throughout. Important engineering revisions markedly improve fuel economy, particularly for four-cylinder models, while updated suspension and steering designs maintain the Altima's reputation as one of the market's best-handling family sedans. The coupe remains mechanically unchanged, but loses its optional V6 and is reduced to only a single 2.5 S trim level.

Introduction

Nissan has been careful with the 2013 redesign of the Altima sedan. The general look is hardly a dramatic departure, but the thorough restyling inside and out speaks to the more upscale direction for the best-selling model in Nissan's lineup. Most of the Altima's major mechanical components are carried over, but fuel economy ratings have improved significantly: The four-cylinder 2013 Nissan Altima sedan is now among the most fuel-efficient midsize cars in this price range.

We liked the previous-generation Altima for its responsive handling, composed ride and user-friendly electronic features. These attributes carry over to the redesigned sedan, but are now complemented by a higher-quality cabin that remains quiet at highway speeds. The 2013 Nissan Altima sedan's interior features a more visually interesting design, soft-touch materials and more comfortable front seats. In addition, we've noted excellent fit and finish in the 2013 Altima test cars we've driven. The only real negative in this cabin is the tight rear headroom.

As in past years, the Altima sedan comes with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. Although the V6 makes for quick and satisfying acceleration, most people will find the four-cylinder's performance more than adequate. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) that Nissan offers instead of a conventional automatic transmission can take some getting used to (simply because it doesn't have fixed shift points), but its responsiveness in passing situations is impressive and it's the main reason the Altima earns such high EPA fuel economy ratings. With the four-cylinder engine and the CVT, the 2013 Altima has a 31 mpg combined rating, which is tops among non-hybrid, gasoline-powered midsize sedans.

Keep in mind that the Altima coupe is mechanically unchanged for 2013. It uses an older version of the CVT that isn't as efficient and has lower mpg ratings as a result. In addition, the V6 engine is not available on the coupe.

In many ways, the outgoing Altima sedan was more appealing than its fellow best-selling sedans, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. It could also stand toe to toe with the well-equipped Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Passat. When you consider the numerous refinements Nissan made to this new 2013 Altima sedan, its position as one of the most desirable family sedans has only been strengthened. Though the redesigned Accord is a worthy challenger, the 2013 Nissan Altima is a must-drive if you're shopping for a midsize sedan.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Nissan Altima comes in sedan and coupe body styles. The sedan comes in seven trim levels -- four trims for buyers selecting an Altima with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three trim levels for an Altima equipped with the 3.5-liter V6. The coupe comes in a single 2.5 S trim that is discussed following the sedan section below.

The base 2.5 Altima sedan comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless ignition/entry, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 4-inch display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player.

Moving from the base Altima 2.5 to the 2.5 S gets you cruise control, automatic headlights, a six-way power driver seat, more advanced functionality for the gauge-cluster LCD screen and a six-speaker sound system. The V6-engined 3.5S includes all that, plus 18-inch alloy wheels and a sport mode with paddle shifters for the CVT.

Advancing upward to the SV trim level brings 17-inch alloy wheels (2.5), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote ignition, a 5-inch color LCD screen, a rearview camera and an upgraded sound system that includes an iPod/USB audio interface, satellite radio, Pandora radio and hands-free reading of incoming text messages. A Convenience package (optional on 2.5 SV, standard on the 3.5 SV) adds a sunroof and a few other minor extras.

The top-shelf Altima SL adds xenon headlights, LED taillights, the sunroof (four-cylinder), leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a nine-speaker premium Bose sound system with an auxiliary audio jack.

Option packages for the 2013 Altima are simple but none are available for either the Altima 2.5 or 2.5 S. The Navigation package for Altima 2.5 SV and 3.5 SV models includes a 7-inch in-dash monitor and steering wheel controls for the navigation system. The Technology package (available only for the Altima 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL) incorporates the navigation system and includes electronic safety features such as blind-spot warning, cross-traffic and lane-departure warning systems.

The Altima Coupe 2.5 S comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Convenience package includes automatic headlights, an eight-way power driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Premium package (requires Convenience package) adds a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with a 4.3-inch color display, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio. The Leather package (requires Convenience and Premium packages) includes xenon headlights, heated front seats, leather upholstery, ambient lighting and an auto-dimming mirror. The Technology package (requires all preceding packages) adds a navigation system, a touchscreen interface, voice controls, real-time traffic and weather, an auxiliary audio/visual jack and Bluetooth streaming audio.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 sedan comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). In Edmunds performance testing, this engine brought the Altima from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest four-cylinder family sedans. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined, which is excellent for a midsize sedan.

Altima 3.5 models have a 3.5-liter V6 good for 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. The CVT is again standard. In Edmunds testing, an Altima 3.5 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, which also makes it one of the segment's top sprinters. Fuel economy is strong for a V6, with 22/31/25.

The Altima Coupe also gets a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, but it produces 175 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It, too, gets a CVT. Its fuel economy estimates are much lower than the sedan's at 23/32/26.

Safety

Every 2013 Nissan Altima sedan and coupe come standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes standard on all sedans but the base and S trim levels, and is optional on the coupe. Blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and a lane-departure warning system are also optional on the sedan.

In Edmunds testing, an Altima 2.5 SV sedan stopped from 60 mph in 130 feet, which is below average for midsize sedans. A 3.5 SL, however, stopped in a superb 114 feet, which is about 10 feet shorter than average.

In government crash testing, the Altima sedan received a perfect five stars for overall, frontal and side crash protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The outgoing Altima sedan (and current Altima coupe) had a nice, though somewhat plain-looking, interior. In contrast, the 2013 Altima's cabin feels markedly more upscale. Materials are of visibly higher quality, particularly on the dashboard and console. The door armrests could still use more padding, but we've been impressed by the fit and finish in all the 2013 Altima sedans we've tested.

The gauge cluster is attractive, with a large, highly readable speedometer and tachometer on either side of the crisp, 4-inch LCD screen. Another highlight is the specially engineered "zero gravity" front seats used in all Altimas. With help from NASA research, the seats were designed to relieve common pressure points and improve comfort for the long haul. It works, as the new Altima's front seats are palpably different from before and more comfortable and supportive from the moment you slip in them.

In terms of space, overall interior room is almost exactly the same as before. That means headroom for the rear seat is at a premium and rear legroom is only average. Trunk space is similarly average at 15.4 cubic feet. The story is much the same in the coupe, though as is expected in a two-door, there's even less room to go around and getting in and out of the back is more of a pain. The coupe's trunk can only hold 8.2 cubic feet of luggage.

Driving Impressions

The Nissan Altima has a reputation for being one of the more rewarding family sedans to drive, and the redesigned 2013 Altima continues this legacy. The new Altima has a revised steering system this year, and feel and feedback remain accurate and consistent, reassuring the driver during tricky and delicate maneuvers. The steering combines with a retuned rear suspension that tightly controls body motions and also helps the Altima corner with more assurance. The ride quality remains very good nevertheless, while wind and road noise are pleasantly subdued.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers competitive performance for this class. It revs willingly and generates more than enough acceleration for everyday driving in both the sedan and coupe. Still, we prefer the version in the sedan, because it comes with a revised CVT that operates in a more refined manner and provides better fuel mileage. We suspect many drivers won't even realize this CVT isn't a conventional automatic transmission. At times, though, the Altima's CVT is almost too responsive to acceleration demands, resulting in higher engine rpm and a bit more noise than we'd like.

Meanwhile, the available 3.5-liter V6 in the 2013 Nissan Altima sedan provides some of the quickest acceleration in this class. It's a great choice if you really like to drive, but it's considerably less fuel-efficient.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Lemon

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

My transmission issues have completely ruined my ownership experience. Nissan is in cahoots with the dealers to deny there are very serious issues with the CVT transmission. I am in the process of forcing Nissan to buy back this junk as they have done NOTHING to try to resolve this issue on their own. This is my second new Nissan in the past three years and it will definitely be my last.




Not that bad, all in

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I read some of the comments that were posted and for the life of me, I don't experience many of the same problems that some folks are complaining about. Yes, there are some quirks with any new re-design, but any real problems have been minimal, in my case. I purchased mine used with about 32,000 miles on it and it runs nearly flawless. The first thing I did was to install a K&N Filtercharger and throw away that nasty air filter that it came with. The results were instantaneous, to say the least. The pep was back and the car greeted the extra airflow like a cat on a hot tin roof. Like some have said, there is a shudder at low speeds in the transmission, but that is somewhat normal in a CVT.




34k and still great!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Overall its a really great car, I've only needed regular maintenance. The pep is there when I need it especially when merging onto highways or zooming around idiots in the city that don't use their signals. I average about 29.5 with all city and about 33 mixed. Very comfortable and lots of storage space. I have experienced the "shutter/vibration" of the transmission, about 3 times since I've had the car (34k miles btw) at about 40 mph coasting for about a minute long. Its very distracting and doesn't feel too good during that minute but its so rare that it even happens that it doesn't bother me too much. If it happened all the time I could see why some would trade it.




Glad we leased

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

We got this vehicle a year ago on a lease. Loved the car. The heater display will not come on sometimes when you first turn it on, after about three miles down the road it turns on. We had to take it in and the dealership did the recall repair on the airbag, since then we have had to take the car in four more times because the no airbag light was coming on when there was someone in the passenger seat. Of course it didn't do either thing when we took it in (record it). A clip fell off the undercarriage. Now recently our keyless/remote system is not working properly. We've had to use the key to get in and then button start it (the screen said no key), turn off and turn on again to drive it.




Nice car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I have been driving this car for 20K miles and have nothing but good things to say. The car is plenty fast, handles well, and is very comfortable. The controls are well laid out and very easy to use. I have had zero issues and have only needed to do oil changes and tire rotations. Gas mileage is pretty good for a rather large mid size car (around 30 in mixed highway and city). I would highly recommend without reserve.




Transmission and jerking and cut

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I purchased a 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL 1 year and 2 months ago and I have 86,000 miles on it as of today. I took it to the dealership and told them what was happening and they said oh your not under warranty and the mechanic said it did not engage for him. So, with that being said I spoke to management to make them aware of the issue and I recorded what the problem was doing. They offered me a rental and a trade in value which would make my payments higher. They should fix the problem and make the customers happy.



Talk About The 2013 Altima

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 27
  • cty
/
  • 38
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Reliability

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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