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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Nissan did some very interesting suspension engineering, giving the Altima a very supple and solid ride.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Like the cabin, the trunk of the Altima is huge.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

In this high-trim model, the driver's seat is power-adjustable, but the passenger seat has manual controls.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

This big rear bench seat can easily hold three, and probably four in a pinch.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The power-steering system delivers very good road feel, using an electric motor to generate hydraulic boost.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The steering-wheel spokes host well-integrated controls for the cabin electronics. Behind the wheel are big paddle shifters.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The instrument cluster includes an LCD with driver-selectable information, such as trip data or the current music selection.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The Altima only comes with this continuously variable transmission, which constantly adjusts ratios to maximize fuel efficiency.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

If lacking the navigation option, the Altima comes with this 5-inch LCD on the dashboard, which shows audio and some phone information.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The LCD shows the music library of a connected iPod, with music arranged by artist, album, track, and playlist.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The music display for connected iPods includes album art, adding a nice visual element.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The standard Bose audio system in the SL trim delivers very strong sound.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

The hands-free phone system can only be operated through voice command, although this screen shows what you can say.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller

The only driver assistance feature without the navigation option is a rearview camera.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller
Up Next

Six generations of the Ford Mustang (pictures)