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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Nissan did some very interesting suspension engineering, giving the Altima a very supple and solid ride.
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Like the cabin, the trunk of the Altima is huge.
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In this high-trim model, the driver's seat is power-adjustable, but the passenger seat has manual controls.
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This big rear bench seat can easily hold three, and probably four in a pinch.
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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.
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The power-steering system delivers very good road feel, using an electric motor to generate hydraulic boost.
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The steering-wheel spokes host well-integrated controls for the cabin electronics. Behind the wheel are big paddle shifters.
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The instrument cluster includes an LCD with driver-selectable information, such as trip data or the current music selection.
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The Altima only comes with this continuously variable transmission, which constantly adjusts ratios to maximize fuel efficiency.
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If lacking the navigation option, the Altima comes with this 5-inch LCD on the dashboard, which shows audio and some phone information.
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The LCD shows the music library of a connected iPod, with music arranged by artist, album, track, and playlist.
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The music display for connected iPods includes album art, adding a nice visual element.
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The standard Bose audio system in the SL trim delivers very strong sound.
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The hands-free phone system can only be operated through voice command, although this screen shows what you can say.
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The only driver assistance feature without the navigation option is a rearview camera.
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