Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima

“We didn’t put all of the investment into this product and put in all the features with an expectation to be No. 2.”

That’s the kind of brash, confident talking I like to hear from an auto exec. It might sound like something you’d expect to hear from the head of VW or Chrysler, but in this case the quote is from Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas, in reference to the 2013 Nissan Altima.

Yes, Nissan is serious about its latest sedan. Not only does it want a larger share of the market, it thinks it can take down the perennial number one, the Toyota Camry.

The new Altima is about 80 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, which, in addition to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, helps the Altima to achieve best-in-class fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Output is rated at 182 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. In some sad news, a manual transmission is no longer available, replaced by a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The optional engine is a carryover 3.5-liter V6 that produces a more satisfying 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Like the four, the 6-cylinder comes only with the CVT, and mileage is rated at 22/30 mpg.

Inside, buyers get redesigned “zero gravity” seats that are supposed to mimic the position the human body takes in zero gravity, which reduces fatigue and soreness. I’m guessing that alone will put American butts into a new Nissan. There are also some cool tech bits, including steering-wheel-mounted buttons that allow for quick texts that say things like, “Can’t text—driving.” It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the point in society where we need such buttons, but so be it.

The new Altima, as cool as it may be, faces stiff competition from Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and more. What’s more, there won’t be much in the way of extra financial incentives to buy, either.

Krueger says,

I’m willing to build demand by putting value out in the market place. But I’m not willing to cut and trim profit margin to try and beat a number that one of our competitors is doing. We don’t have any intention of piling incentives on it to try to chase a number.

Would you buy a 2013 Altima over any of its competitors?


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  1. It’s good to see the Altima grow up. I had a 2000 Altima, which was a fine little car, but nothing special. Curious about the seats in the new one. That’s worth a test drive alone! I could do without all the tech things though… what a waste of money, weight and space.

  2. I find it kind of refreshing to see that the automakers are focusing on family sedans during this latest model introduction cycle. I so tire of introductions about fire breathing, testosterone laden, horsepower endowed models that are largely out of the reach of most middle class families that incidentally make no sense whatsoever in terms of use, comfort and function. As mentioned above, there are more than a dozen cars in the Altimas category and competition for this space is fierce. At last there is true choice for the average family. Now, if only the automakers would realize that the only distraction from their vehicles are the so called technology packages.

    We’ve all whined here about the level of distraction that these tech packages create and there seems to be little momentum for them to stop offering them. The Altima isn’t much different in this regard but at least it does focus on creature comforts such as seating and materials selection. Much as we whine about CVTs they do seem to serve their function quite well. The class leading mileage figures will draw many people to try out the Altima. Don’t know and don’t car much about chest thumping as to who is number one. That has never mattered to me. If more people focused more on form and function in their vehicle selection, I think we would all be better off. If it works for you and your family, you should buy it.

  3. I recently test drove both the Camry and the current Altima. I thought the Nissan was a nice car, but the Camry simply looked and drove nicer (in every way I could detect), was competively priced, and as good as Nissan quality is, Toyota’s is better. And a CVT? I suspect that will turn off quite a few customers who don’t understand how the transmission works. Frankly, I’m amazed that the Camry continues to dominate given the intense competition in that category, but when you drive something like a Chevy Malibu and then get in a Camry, it’s no surprise the Camry comes out a winner.

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