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2013 Nissan Altima review

Consumer Reports magazine: December 2012

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The previous Nissan Altima topped our family-sedan ratings for several years, earning a Top Pick designation in 2010 and 2011. So expectations were high for the redesigned 2013 model.

Now, having finished our testing, we’ve found that the new Altima is still an excellent, top-tier family sedan, with impressive fuel economy and a roomy interior. But it no longer leads this competitive class, scoring below the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.

The  Altima has plenty of virtues. The cabin is quiet, visibility is very good, and controls are intuitive. Rear-seat room has improved. And Nissan’s continuously variable transmission is one of the best.

But if you want a car that’s engaging to drive, look elsewhere. Compared with the previous-generation  Altima, the new model took a step back in handling and braking, which are so-so compared with those of other family sedans. The suspension isn’t particularly absorbent, which compromises ride comfort, especially on uplevel versions. And our mid-level 2.5 S lacks such commonly found amenities as a driver’s seat lumbar support, satellite radio, and a USB port for plugging in portable music.

We tested two versions of the  Altima. The high-selling 2.5 S, with a 182-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, cost us $23,410. The top-trim 3.5 SL, with a 270-hp, 3.5-liter  V6 engine, cost $31,610.

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