Used Car Review

2013 Nissan Altima: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions January 2015

The 2013 Nissan Altima was all-new, introducing the fifth generation of the popular 4-door midsize sedan. Borrowing some good looks from Nissan's upscale Infiniti division, the 2013 Altima is a bit longer and wider than before, with more interior room and NASA-inspired zero-gravity front seats that fit to different body types like memory foam. Standard technology includes push-button start and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Remote engine start is available along with turn-by-turn navigation. In addition to a thrifty 182-horsepower 4-cylinder, Nissan keeps an optional 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 in the engine lineup, and both are teamed with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

What We Like

Compliant ride quality; comfortable front seats; spacious back seat; V6 refinement and power; 4-cylinder fuel economy

What We Don't

CVT causes engine drone under acceleration; some less-than-premium interior materials; inconsistent steering feel; 4-cylinder models have low grip with standard tires

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

All Altima models are equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available.

The 2013 Altima has two different engine options. Altima 2.5 models are equipped with a 2.5-liter, double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. Output is 182 hp, and it develops 180 lb-ft of torque. It burns regular unleaded gas and has an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the standard CVT.

Altima 3.5 models are powered by a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6, which produces a healthy 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It also runs on regular unleaded and is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with the standard CVT. This version of the CVT has paddle shifters and a manual mode that the driver can use to simulate the ratios of a conventional step-gear transmission for sporty driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2013 Altima is available in base, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL trims. The Altima base model is equipped with the 180-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, push-button start, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, air conditioning, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, intermittent wipers, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 16-inch steel wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The 2.5 S and 3.5 S upgrades include a 6-speaker audio system, a power driver's seat, dual exhaust and cruise control. The 3.5 S also gains the 270-hp 3.5-liter V6 and 235/45 rubber-wrapped 18-in alloy wheels.

Next on the Altima trim walk are the 2.5 SV and 3.5 SV, which come with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, USB and iPod connectivity, SiriusXM radio, Pandora and hands-free text-message capability, automatic headlamps, a rearview camera, dual-zone auto A/C, rear HVAC vents and a remote engine starter. The 2.5 SV rolls on 17-in alloys and 215/55 tires, while the 3.5 SV uses 235/45 rubber-wrapped 18-in alloy rims.

The range-topping Altimas are the 2.5 SL and 3.5 SL, both of which feature standard leather seats, fog lamps, LED tail lamps, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, power driver's seat lumbar adjustment, a 9-speaker Bose audio system, power folding-heated side mirrors, a HomeLink garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power moonroof, woodgrain interior trim and a cargo net.

Pricing

The Altima has been a consistent top seller among the ranks of family midsize sedans, so there should be a good supply of clean, low-mileage examples to choose from.

For a better idea of the 2013 Altima's price range, check out KBB.com, and then search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2013 Altima:

Defective front passenger seat-sensing may deactivate or suppress the deployment of the front passenger airbag when the seat is occupied, increasing injury risk in a crash.

Undertightened steering rack bolts may loosen or fall out, leading to a loss of vehicle control.

Binding between the hood inner panel and the secondary hood-latch lever may prevent the latch from engaging, allowing the hood to open while driving and increasing crash risk.

Air pressure in the spare tire installed at the factory may be over- or underinflated, increasing crash risk.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car for free.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The 2013 Nissan Altima sedan received a NHTSA 5-star rating overall, with a 5-star rating for frontal impacts, a 5-star rating for side impacts and a 4-star rating for rollovers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Altima sedan a Good rating for side impacts, roof strength, head-restraint, seat crash performance, and moderate-overlap front impacts. It received an Acceptable rating for small-overlap front impacts.

Nissan covered the 2013 Altima with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Nissan certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can't have more than 80,000 miles on the odometer and must be 6 years old or younger. Every CPO Altima undergoes a 150-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Nissan CPO warranty extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles, and it includes 24-hour roadside assistance. Additional warranty coverage on all major systems is available at extra cost.

Other Cars to Consider

2013 Honda Accord -- The 2013 Honda Accord sedan is all-new and slightly smaller, but it's still roomy and fun to drive. The 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 adds zippy performance, but the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder's 185 hp provides ample acceleration and is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the CVT.

2013 Volkswagen Passat -- Beginning with the 2012 model, the Passat is built in the U.S. and has a roomy cabin and large trunk. The interior trim is cheaper-looking than in previous Passats, but the car offers good bang for your buck. Engine choices include a 140-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel capable of 43 mpg hwy, a 170-hp 2.5-liter 5-cylinder gas engine and a 280-hp 3.6-liter V6.

AutoTrader's Advice

Nissan in general and the Altima in particular have a reputation for being fun to drive and for offering a lot of features for the money. For buyers unaccustomed to the droning engine sound associated with a CVT, the Altima driving experience takes some getting used to. But the fuel economy benefits of a CVT are real and the ability of the transmission to tailor ratios without delay for ever-changing driving conditions can't be topped. The 4-cylinder delivers all the power most drivers need, but for a more sporty experience the 3.5-liter V6 delivers Infiniti-like get-up-and-go. Make sure the Altima you're looking at has seen obvious care and maintenance and has had any applicable safety recalls performed. Also look for a Nissan certified pre-owned car if possible.

Find a Nissan Altima for sale

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Used 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 S Sedan
Used 2013 Nissan Altima
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Used 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SV Sedan
Used 2013 Nissan Altima
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Used 2013 Nissan Altima Sedan
Used 2013 Nissan Altima
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Used 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV Sedan
Used 2013 Nissan Altima
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Nissan Altima: Used Car Review - Autotrader