Notion of a mid-size sedan redefined
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2013 Nissan Altima
By Antony Dickson
One of the most popular mid-size sedans with an all-new look and an all-new heart, is here. Say hello to the fifth generation Nissan Altima.
At a first glance, the all-new 2013 Altima looks like its been injected with some hormones from its sporty sibling the 370Z. The Altima’s new front fascia and and the rear almost makes it look like a stretched 370Z or a Maxima that’s gone on a diet. Well, Nissan has made sure this time that consumers realize that the Altima is closely related to its upmarket Maxima and 370Z, and have done a good job on that. The looks are most definitely appealing and am sure would convince anyone in the market for a mid-size sedan to seriously consider the Altima. But, its not just the looks. The new Altima seems to have performance mated to high fuel efficiency.
I was treated to a quick test drive of the new Altima before it hit dealerships and was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was. The next-generation Xtronic CVT, a full 70 per cent of the parts have been redesigned and internal friction reduced by up to 40 per cent compared to the previous design. It also features new logic control and expanded gear ratio coverage, which helps reduce noise and fuel consumption while improving drivability and responsiveness. Even when driven aggressively, the new Altima was well-behaved. When I say well-behaved, the gear changes were so smooth, almost so that gear changes didn’t seem to happen. That’s a bonus for back seat passengers who usually bear the brunt of jerks back and forth when driven by someone who’s right foot has a mind of its own. This could put off true car enthusiasts who want to feel every little emotion of the engine. But then, there’s the 370Z or the GT-R for them!
As for the engines, a choice of two proven Altima powerplants – the 2.5-litre DOHC 4-cylinder and 3.5-litre DOHC V6 – are again offered for the new model year. The 2.5-litre QR25 engine has been redesigned to be lighter and more efficient. Horsepower has increased by seven to an estimated 182 hp (from 175 hp), while torque remains the same at 180 lb-ft. The advanced, award-winning VQ35DE 3.5-litre V6 remains rated at 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Nissan is offering six trim levels in the new Altima. So there’s something for everyone. The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima is offered in four 2.5-litre engine equipped models, 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along with two 3.5-litre V6 equipped models, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL. Nissan provided fuel efficiency figures that certainly is good news at this time when fuel prices are digging deep into everyone’s wallets. Targeted fuel economy for the Altima 2.5-litre 4-cylinder/CVT combination is 7.4L/100km city, 5.0/100km highway and 6.3L/100km combined. Fuel economy for the 3.5-litre V6/CVT Altima is rated at 9.3L/100km city, 6.4L/100km highway and 8.0L/100km combined. Also contributing to the improved fuel efficiency are tires with reduced rolling resistance and a new regenerative alternator that only operates when the vehicle is coasting.
The Altima doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the interiors. For 2013, the front seats have NASA-inspired ‘zero-gravity’ seats, which I’m sure, will keep rear ends quite comfy most of the times, especially during long commutes. Located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, it features a 4.0-inch color display, more than 400 per cent larger than the previous generation Altima’s vehicle information display. Other developments include improved connectivity, sound quality and several other features, which are comparable to other luxury sedans.
The new Altima features tons of standard safety features too including Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat occupant head protection, besides a host of others.
The first impressions of the 2013 Altima are definitely impressive. But the most impressive is probably the fact that the new Altima starts at a price of $23,698. That’s a whole lot for very less. We will review the new Altima in detail in a few weeks time. In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a new car, don’t make a decision before taking the new Altima for a test drive at your nearest dealer. According to Judy Wheeler, Director of Marketing, Nissan Canada, Inc., “If you’ve never driven an Altima before, get ready to have your notion of a mid-size sedan redefined.”