REVIEW: 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

When you think of Nissan, you think of a safe and economical car. When you see the Altima, you immediately think of something fun and stylish — and that’s exactly what the Altima is. Thanks to East Coast Nissan we were able to drive the 2013 Altima and now, here we are, to tell you what we thought.

Not only does the 2013 Altima look good — it also feels good. With styling cues from the current Maxima, Nissan has really come a long way from having the Altima being a boring sedan to something cool.

With a 270 horsepower V6 (and a standard I4 available), the Altima proved to be very peppy. It has Nissan’s Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters. Now, I know what you’re thinking — “CVT? That’s terrible!”. I’ve driven cars with CVT’s before and normally, I wasn’t a fan of them, but Nissan’s CVT I actually didn’t have any problems with — as a matter of fact, I actually enjoyed it, especially with the rapid response paddle shifters. Shooting from 0-60 in 6.2 seconds is also something to boast about.

Our Altima was equipped with stylish 18″ alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors and Xenon headlights on the outside. On the inside, it has Nissan’s Advanced Drive-Assist display (which wasn’t very easy to read) but if you pony up for the navigation system and larger screen, it’s much better. The interior was very comfortable, with black leather appointments, heated front seats and heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. Technology included Nissan’s intelligent key system, which is where you have the key fob in your pocket, and you can simply unlock/lock the doors with a button on the door handle and start the car with the push-button start. Additional technology included a 9-speaker BOSE premium sound system, Sirius XM Radio, Reverse Camera, USB Connection and Bluetooth.

We thought this car was great, being one of our top picks, and extremely affordable at $31,880.

Pros: The Altima was very comfortable and had a smooth ride. The options that came with the car were the best bang for your buck — an almost fully loaded Altima for under 32 grand. In sport mode, the shifts were quick and responsive — even the CVT was enjoyable.

Cons: The only downfall of this car was the screen in the dash– without the technology package (which has a larger screen and a navigation system, among other things), the screen has a great amount of glare and the reverse camera was hard to see.

QUICK FACTS:

Base Price: $21,760 || Price as Tested: $31,880

Vehicle Layout: Front-engine, FWD, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 3.5L, 270-hp, 258-lb-ft. V6 || Transmission: Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)

Curb Weight: 3355 lbs || Length/Width/Height: 191.5/72/57.9 inches

0-60: 6.2 seconds || EPA City/Highway Fuel Economy: 22/31mpg

RATING: 8.2/10

Exterior: 9

Interior: 9

Acceleration: 9

Braking: 8

Ride: 8

Handling: 8

Gearbox: 7

Audio: 8

Tech: 7

Value: 9

We’d like to thank Maritza Acosta at East Coast Nissan for getting us into the new Altima! For all your Nissan needs, go check out Nissan in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and online at http://www.eastcoastnissan.com. Make sure you tell them Greg and Dave sent you!

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