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For 2013, Nissan gives its bread-and-butter midsize sedan, the Altima, a major update. Among the changes, the Altima gets a new body and suspension, plus new cabin electronics.
Current Nissan models do not show a cohesive design language, but similarity is emerging between the new Altima and Sentra models, which could mean styling cues that will spread across other models.
This high-trim Altima SL also came with the top engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 making 270 horsepower. The other engine available is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
Nissan expanded the size of the Altima, making it a full inch longer than the current Maxima. As a result, the cabin is very roomy.
Nissan did some very interesting suspension engineering, giving the Altima a very supple and solid ride.
Like the cabin, the trunk of the Altima is huge.
In this high-trim model, the driver's seat is power-adjustable, but the passenger seat has manual controls.
This big rear bench seat can easily hold three, and probably four in a pinch.
Nissan makes a reasonably priced tech package available for the Altima that includes navigation and some driver assistance features, but this car did not come with it.
The power-steering system delivers very good road feel, using an electric motor to generate hydraulic boost.
The steering-wheel spokes host well-integrated controls for the cabin electronics. Behind the wheel are big paddle shifters.
The instrument cluster includes an LCD with driver-selectable information, such as trip data or the current music selection.
The Altima only comes with this continuously variable transmission, which constantly adjusts ratios to maximize fuel efficiency.
If lacking the navigation option, the Altima comes with this 5-inch LCD on the dashboard, which shows audio and some phone information.
The LCD shows the music library of a connected iPod, with music arranged by artist, album, track, and playlist.
The music display for connected iPods includes album art, adding a nice visual element.
The standard Bose audio system in the SL trim delivers very strong sound.
The hands-free phone system can only be operated through voice command, although this screen shows what you can say.
The only driver assistance feature without the navigation option is a rearview camera.