Midsize car; Built in
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,200 – $23,300*


2013 Nissan Altima


2014 Nissan Altima


2014 Nissan Altima


2014 Nissan Altima

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Control layout
Cons:
  • Trunk hinges intrude on cargo space
  • Engine noise under acceleration

The Nissan Altima does exactly what most shoppers expect from a midsize sedan. It has a nicely appointed cabin, rides well, and, at least in 4-cylinder form, delivers excellent fuel economy. It’s noisier than the class norm, and the rear seating area is a bit short on headroom, but these negatives are fairly minor. Despite these shortcomings, Altima remains a solid choice that offers good value for your money.

Overview

Altima is Nissan’s midsize car that’s been offered in coupe and sedan body styles–the latter being the far more popular variant. For 2013, Nissan redesigned the Altima sedan. Four-cylinder and V6 engines are offered.

Altima has proven very popular of late, with sales closing in on class leader Toyota Camry and surpassing the Honda Accord. Other top rivals include the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Hyundai Sonata. Altima is built in the U.S.

The 2013 Nissan Altima sedan was redesigned. It gained new styling, a new continuously variable transmission, and additional features. The gas/electric Hybrid model was discontinued. Nissan also offered a 2013-model 2-door Altima coupe that used the previous generation’s basic design. It was largely unchanged from the 2012 model and came in a single trim level with one drivetrain. Please see Consumer Guide’s 2007-2012 Nissan Altima review for more details on the coupe.

The 2.5 sedan was offered in base, S, SV, and SL variants. The 3.5 sedan was sold in S, SV, and SL versions. Nissan offered the Altima coupe in 2.5 S guise.

Base 2.5 sedans were equipped with many popular features, including power windows/locks/mirrors. Keyless access and starting, wireless cell-phone link, and audio streaming were also standard. Additional features in the 2.5 S sedans included cruise control, automatic headlights, and 6-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat. Nissan predicted the 2.5 SV would be the volume leader of the 2013 Altimas. It added dual-zone automatic climate controls, an upgraded audio system with satellite radio, rearview camera, and 17-inch tires on alloy wheels. The 2.5 S coupe blended some elements of the S and SV sedan; it included cruise control and keyless entry/engine start.

The 2.5 SL was the top-of-the-line 4-cylinder-powered Altima. It added a heated steering wheel, leather-trimmed interior, heated front seats, power sunroof, Bose-brand audio system, LED taillamps, compass, and a driver’s seat with 8-way power adjustment and lumbar adjustment.

V6-powered 3.5 models were equipped like their 2.5 counterparts, but each added 18-inch tires on alloy wheels and a manual-shift mode with paddle shifters for the continuously variable transmission.

Nissan offered a handful of individual options for select Altima models; most were not offered for the base 2.5. These included a rear spoiler, splash guards, body-side moldings, and a trunk organizer.

A few option packages were also available. The 2.5 SV’s Convenience Package included a power sunroof, mirror-mounted turn signals, illuminated visor mirrors, universal garage door opener, compass, automatic day/night rearview mirror, automatic up/down passenger-side front window, interior mood light, cargo net, and fog lights.

The Navigation Package for 2.5 SV and 3.5 SV added an in-dash navigation system with steering-wheel-mounted controls.

A Technology Package for 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL included the navigation system, blind-spot warning, moving-obstacle detection, and lane-departure warning.

Many of the sedan’s options were available on the coupe as part of several different packages. You could order items such as leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate controls, rearview camera, power sunroof, navigation system, and power driver seat.

Altima’s base engine was a 182-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that’s found in 2.5 models. The only other engine was a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that powers 3.5 models. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaved much like an automatic was standard on all 2013 Altima sedans.

All Altimas were front-wheel drive.

The EPA estimated that the 4-cylinder/CVT automatic combination would return 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. The V6/CVT combination earned a 22/31 rating. Nissan recommended regular-grade gas for all Altimas.

Altimas came with all the expected safety features as standard. The SV and SL models included standard rearview cameras.

Yearly Updates

2013 Altima
The 2014 Altima’s changes are fairly minor, limited to feature shuffling, which went along with the renaming of some option packages. The 2-door Altima coupe, which used the basic design of the 2007-2012 model, was discontinued.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Altima’s base engine has been a 182-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that was found in 2.5 models. The only other engine has been a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that powered 3.5 models. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic has been Altima’s only transmission.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 182
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

27/38

31.7

dohc V62
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

22/31

1. 2.5 models. 2. 3.5 models.

Road Test

Four-cylinder Altimas have decent pep in all situations. They won’t pin you to your seat, but you’re never wanting for more power. The CVT works very well in this application, displaying virtually none of the “rubber band” effect found in other cars equipped with a similar transmission. No V6 models have been made available for testing.

In Consumer Guide testing, our 4-cylinder example returned an excellent 31.7 mpg. Both engines take regular-grade gasoline.

2.5 S models ride on 16-inch tires while the 2.5 SV has 17s. We noticed little difference between them. Both models displayed fine body control over even very rough pavement.

Four-cylinder Altimas are not sporty, but they’re pleasant and composed. Body lean in corners is kept in check while the brakes deliver confident stopping power and control.

Noise control is arguably Altima’s Achilles heel. The 4-cylinder engine sounds coarse when accelerating, and more tire/road noise intrudes into the cabin than we would like.

Altima’s large gauges are easy to read. The color “Display Audio” screen looks good and generally functions well, but some testers complain of poor legibility when wearing polarized sunglasses. The navigation system incorporates some audio controls, but they’re mainly secondary adjustments that most users will set and forget.

Most cabin materials are attractive and soft to the touch, even on the lower-line S and SV versions. Their cloth upholstery does the job but is otherwise unexceptional. The available “piano black” trim panels come off as a bit budget grade.

Altima affords front-seat occupants expansive space. Nissan said the seats are designed for comfort, but some testers complained about a lack of lumbar support. Visibility is very good in all directions, and blind-spot alert is available on the top-line SL trim.

Rear-seat legroom is decent, but the car’s sloping roof line restricts headroom more than in most of its rivals. There’s a small hump on the floor between the outboard seating positions, which is something you typically find on rear-wheel-drive vehicles, not front-drive ones like the Altima.

Generous overall trunk space is compromised by lid hinges that dip deep down into the cargo area. Said hinges are not covered either, meaning bulky items must be loaded carefully. Interior storage is quite good and consists of a large glovebox, a large console box, a covered bin in front of the shifter, an open bin behind the shifter, and good-size door pockets.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2.5 SV with Navigation

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 9
90%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 66

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.3 182.5 70.7 55.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
7.4 20.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 35.6 42.5 35.6
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.3 191.5 72.0 57.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.4 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 37.1 45.0 36.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Altima 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Hard starting
Description: Some vehicles would need an extended cranking period before they would start and required the vehicle’s electronic control module (ECM) to be reprogrammed. (2013)
Seat
Description: Incorrectly made harness may prevent seat heaters from working as designed. A corrected wiring subharness is available to correct the condition. (2013)
Transmission slippage
Description: The continuously variable transmission (CVT) belt can slip under certain driving conditions and a shaking or “judder” may be felt. This condition can lead to accelerated transmission wear and damage, and can be corrected by reprogramming the transmission control module (TCM). (2013)
Wipers
Description: Rain-sensing function for windshield wipers may operate intermittently or unexpectedly when sensors come in contact with items including exhaust fumes, dirt, moisture, fingerprints, and insects. (2013)
Software problems
Description: Air fuel (A/F) sensors may be damaged because of an incorrectly calibrated engine control module (ECM). (2013)

Recall History

2013 Altima
Description: Certain 2013 model Nissan Altima vehicles made between March 21, 2012 and March 26, 2013 may have spare tires that were not properly inflated at the factory.
2013-14 Altima
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 model Nissan Altima vehicles may have an occupant classification system (OCS) control unit that can fail to recognize the front seat is occupied. This can result in the air bag failing to deploy during a collision.
2013-14 Altima 3.5
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 Nissan Altima vehicles with the 3.5-liter V6 engine may have an improperly seated O-ring between the fuel sending unit and the fuel tank that may allow fuel to leak following a crash.
2013-14 Altima
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 model Nissan Altima vehicles may have secondary hood latches that can bind and stay unlatched after the hood is closed.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.