Car Tips

2013 Nissan Altima review: New look, good on gas with techy features

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Looking for a new mid-size car? Your timing is pretty good. Fresh versions of lots of models are upon us.

A new Toyota Camry debuted last fall, as did a revised Volkswagen Passat. This past spring, the latest Chevy Malibu arrived, and later this year an all-new Ford Fusion will be launched, in both regular and hybrid versions. Also, the popular Honda Accord is going to be replaced with an all-new redesign by year's end.

Right now, Nissan can lay claim to having the newest mid-sizer with its 2013 Altima. It's got a few tricks up its sleeve beyond just a new design.

There are new levels of comfort in the Altima, thanks to what Nissan calls zero-gravity seats, inspired by NASA technology. Overall, the Altima's interior has been given a more upscale vibe.

With many buyers looking for increased fuel economy, the Altima delivers there, too. The base 2.5-liter engine has been revised to return best-in-class mileage for a non-hybrid gasoline car. Twenty-seven city and 38 highway, according to the EPA. A big help here is Nissan's continuously variable transmission, which essentially has an unlimited number of gear ratios for maximum efficiency. Drivability is very good too.

Nissan also added some clever new features, including a system that helps you add air to a low tire without using a gauge. The Altima's central display will tell you if one of the tires is low. As you refill the tire with air, the car alerts you when it's full.

Other techy features come standard too, like the advanced drive assist display. It has kind of 3-D look to the driver's eyes. A central LCD screen comes standard, while a bigger one with navigation is optional.

The Altima has a svelte new look, good gas mileage and even some bells and whistles to set it apart from the competition.

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