2013 Nissan Altima Review

Here’s a look at the totally redesigned 2013 Nissan Altima sedan.  The changes are found both outside and inside the car and it has a sleeker, more upscale look to it. Visibly it is a very pretty car with great lines.

I am driving the 3.5-liter V6 which is rated at 270-horses. The only transmission choice is Nissan’s popular CVT (continuously variable transmission). The combination makes the Altima extremely quick upon acceleration, and at the same time Nissan is getting some great mileage numbers out of the car.

Inside, the new Altima appears to have much better quality than in years past, and has evolved into a much more luxurious feel, especially the front seats. Nissan used NASA research for the front seats, and they were designed to relieve common pressure points and improve comfort, especially on long trips. You notice the difference in feel of the front seats, and for me, I had trouble getting comfortable, but that won’t be the case for everyone.

My test car has the Tech Package, which in this car is an outstanding value. For $1090, you get a terrific navigation system, steering wheel controls, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning system. Antilock brakes and stability control are standard for the 2013 Altima. Front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags are also standard. A rearview camera comes standard with all but the two lowest trim levels, the base and the S.

The instrument cluster is nicely presented with the large, highly readable speedometer and tachometer on either side of the crisp, 4-inch LCD screen. Everything is easy to see and operate from the driver’s seat. If you are over 6-feet tall, make sure you are comfortable in this car, the headroom seems a little short to me.

Handling is much improved from the last Altima I tested, as is steering. Nissan revised the suspension system and the result is much sharper handling and a better ride. The car really feels good in all situations. The V6 and the CVT make the Altima a real pleasure to drive.

Altima has always been a great car, and this 5th generation version is the best yet.

What I liked most: Performance of the V6 and CVT combo.

What I would change: I would like the seats to be more comfortable.

MSRP: $32,362

Fuel Economy: 22 city/31 Highway

2013 Altima in a few words: A great car got better

  1. Richard McDonald 6 years ago

    I’m interested in your opinion of the 2013 Nissan Altima – 4 cy. 2.5 engine. What I’m really interested in is your expert opinion on the new CVT transmissions. Do they last and are they as durable as older geered transmissions? How often is the recommended oil changes, are they excessively expensive and how often do they recommend belt replacements and how expensive is that?

    If my concerns are founded, would it be more fesible to just get a conventional transmissions or whatever new sudan that I would be happy with (Accord, Camery, Optima, Sonata)?

    Thank you very much,

    Richard McDonald

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Richard, good to hear from you. You can read my review of the Altima here:


      CVT has been very reliable. No issues at all. I think it is a good choice for fuel economy and the feeling of power.

      GOOD LUCK, let me know if I can help further!

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  2. Drue 6 years ago

    Hi Jerry,
    I am from Sacramento, CA and I love your radio program. I read your review of the 2013 Nissan Altima with interest because Nissan has advertised how comfortable the seats are in their new 2013 Altima. In fact, I believe they call their new seats “zero gravity” seats. I am interested in why the only thing you would change on this vehicle are the the seats. Did the Altima you were driving have the “zero gravity” seats? I ask because my wife has difficulty with her lower back and she finds most automobile seats to be uncomfortable. Before reading your review I was thinking that perhaps the new seats in the Altima would be more comfortable to her but now I am second guessing that thought.

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Drue, thanks for listening to the show. I have had lower back surgery and I found the seats uncomfortable, but was careful to add that this won’t be the case for everyone.

      I’d recommend she try one and see what it feels like to her, it may be perfect.

      Good luck, let me know how I can help. John Driebe takes really good care of my listeners at Elk Grove Nissan.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”

  3. Bob 6 years ago

    We bought the 2013 Altima back in Sept. My wife and I love the car. We got the 4 cylinder because it offered the best MPG. The only thing that bothers me is the engine noise that I hear inside the cabin. It has this roaring type of sound on acceleration and then it quiets down once up to cruising speed. I brought this up to the sales guy and he told me that this is the way the Altima is. In fact he said that he had another customer that test drove one and felt the same way and asked to test drive another one to compare them. The result was the second one was just as loud. It almost sounds like an exhaust issue or maybe it’s this funky transmission that comes with it.

    If you have comments, i would love to hear it.


    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Bob, I’ve heard this complaint before too. The Altima I reviewed was the 6 cylinder, and it was pretty quiet.

      I don’t know of a solution for you my friend, other than turn the radio up! I wish I could assist. Thanks for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”

    • Derek 5 years ago

      Bob –
      I think we’re in the same boat.

      I’ve owned my ’13 Altima 2.5 SL for a year this month. Love the looks, ride, and features. Unfortunately, I’m at my breaking point with the engine noises. The drone of the engine when accelerating is one thing (and I can get over that easily), but I also hear a tinny, metallic vibration when the engine’s under load. It almost sounds like a loose catalytic converter casing. (This isn’t the weird “clicky” noise made around the tires). There’s also a rough vibration noise around 1200-1500 RPM which has been identified by Nissan as a tensioner belt vibration. As I’m doing research around the Internet, many Altima owners are complaining of these issues but there are no solutions inbound from Nissan.

      After 7 mechanic visits at 3 different dealerships, I’m giving up. I’ll trade it off and find something that doesn’t drive me bonkers when accelerating. 🙂 Maybe the Honda Accord or Ford Fusion, both nice & quiet.

  4. John 6 years ago

    Is the 2013 kia Optima a better buy and choice jerry in your opinion than the 2013 Nissan Aliima ?
    And If so why ?

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      John, good to hear from you. I like both cars actually but they are quite different. I like the ride and drive of the Altima a lot, but it is more money of course. Either would serve you well, but for me, the Altima is the nicer car on the inside. The Kia of course has got the great warranty.

      Flip a coin, you can’t go wrong with either.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  5. Jen 5 years ago

    My husband and I purchased the 2013 Nissan Altima in Feb of this year. We’ve been really happy with it (especially the seats 🙂 however, my Sirius radio goes out ALL THE TIME! We actually have to turn the car off and back on to get it to work again. I contacted Sirius and they tried to “ping” it again and again and told me that we have to have Nissan look at the radio. I’m getting close to the end of the Sirius “trial” subscription and am apprehensive to purchase the expensive subscription with this lack of network working. I haven’t taken the car in to be evaluated yet, and was wondering if you have had callers claiming to have the same issue.

    • Jerry 5 years ago

      Jen, I’ve not heard of this problem at all, but I suspect it is either the radio or the satellite antenna. I’d have the dealer look at, I’m sure they can resolve this pretty easily.

      THANKS for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  6. Chuck and Terri Jones 5 years ago

    We are looking at the 2013 Nissan Altima, at the dealership we were shown the “prodrive” , 4 cyl.
    They also told us they had the zero gravity front seats and I did feel they were comfortable.
    Our main question is regarding the “ProDrive”…Do you know anything about this, do you get better gas miles and are have there been any prblems?
    Thanks for your assistance.

    • Jerry 5 years ago

      Thanks for writing. I actually do not know. The Nissan ProDrive is a driving school for the GT-R as far as I know, otherwise I have no idea.

      I wish I could be of more assistance, I really do. THANKS for listening to the show!

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  7. Alberta 5 years ago

    Hello Are there any issues with the CVT?
    How long before it wears out and what is the typical cost to repair?
    Thanks in advance. Love show and friendly banter:-)

    • Jerry 5 years ago

      My experience is that long term, the CVT is not as reliable as normal transmissions, but it depends too on which manufacturer made it. Honda for instance has had very few issues with theirs. But overall, I find the regular transmissions to give fewer problems.

      Thanks for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  8. Michael 4 years ago

    I’m torn between a 2013 Fusion & 2013 Altima. I’m leaning towards the Fusion mainly because I can’t afford the Altima 3.5. What do you recommend?

    Thank you,

  9. Henry Evers 4 years ago

    we have a 2000 626 and considering a new car perhaps a lease.
    what is your opinion?

    • Michele Sanders 4 years ago

      If you want about that size car, look at the new Mazda 6, it’s an incredible car and gets great gas mileage.

      To see if I have a Mazda dealer in your market, just click here:


      THANKS for listening!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

  10. Iris Little 2 years ago

    Hi Jerry,

    I’m in the market for a new used car. I’m considering either the 2012 Altima or the 2013 Altima. I believe both have CVT. I’m also trying to decide if it’s worth it to pay for the V6 option on either car. I currently drive a 2000 Eclipse GT (V6). What do you think is the better buy, the 2012 or the 2013 model year?

    • Michele Sanders 2 years ago

      I’d go with the 2013 even though it will be more money. They made a lot of great changes in 2013 and I think you’d be much happier with the car. Good luck.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

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