2013 Nissan Altima Preview

Jeff Youngs | Apr 05, 2012
  • All-new redesign for 2013
  • New standard 4-cylinder engine
  • New continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • New safety features
  • "Zero-gravity" seats
  • NissanConnect smartphone integration technology


One of the best-selling models in America, the Nissan Altima competes against other midsize family cars. For 2013, the Altima is completely redesigned, and receives a new base engine, new transmission, and new safety features.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Nissan Altima is completely redesigned. Nissan calls the new Altima's styling "dramatic," and offers the family sedan in eight different paint colors. Chrome trim accents the grille, window surrounds, and decklid, and buyers who select one of the mid-grade models or higher get aluminum wheels.

Interior Features

Nissan says the new Altima uses new sound-absorbing materials to make the sedan's cabin up to 30 percent quieter than the model it replaces. What's more, the 2013 Altima's seats are engineered based on NASA-sourced research, with the goal of reducing fatigue through "zero-gravity" seat designs. All 2013 Altimas except the base model include Intelligent Key entry and push-button ignition and a new Advanced Drive Assist Display offering up to seven different screens of information, depending on the model.

Optional Features

Nissan provides a stair-step approach to the Altima's model lineup, offering few extras outside of what's included on each trim level. Mid-grade Altima SV models have aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, upgraded stereo, and NissanConnect with Bluetooth calling and music streaming, text messaging assistant, and the ability to run mobile applications from the in-dash touch screen.

Upgrade to the Altima SL and the car comes with leather upholstery, power sunroof, Bose sound system, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and other features. A navigation system is optional on many Altima models, and the Altima SL is exclusively available with new safety technologies.

Under the Hood

A new 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on the 2013 Altima 2.5, while the Altima 3.5 is equipped with a 270-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Power is fed to the front wheels through a new Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), and the Altima 3.5 models include paddle shifters on the steering wheel for manual shift control.

The new Altima is equipped with Active Understeer Control, which can selectively brake the car's wheels in order to tighten the cornering line to keep the car moving in the intended direction of travel.

Fuel Economy

The EPA had not finalized the 2013 Nissan Altima's fuel-economy estimates as this preview is published. Nissan is predicting that the new Altima will receive the following ratings:
  • Altima with 2.5-liter 4-cylinder: 27/38/31 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
  • Altima with 3.5-liter V-6: 22/30/NA mpg


Nissan makes a rearview camera standard on the 2013 Altima SV and SL models. An optional Technology package for the SL models is equipped with Blind Spot Warning, lane-departure warning, and Moving Object Detection technologies.
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