It may have been the second best-selling car in America last year, but there was apparently plenty of room to improve the Nissan Altima for the 2013 model year. The new model began production last week and will reach dealerships in late June boasting a bevy of class bests that aim to knock the Toyota Camry off its No. 1 perch.
First and fuel-most, the EPA has granted the Altima with 27/38 MPG fuel economy ratings, best in the midsized car segment for non-hybrid vehicles. That's better than direct competitors like the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, and much better than the highest-rated car in that class, the Ford Fusion. Ford will release their new Fusion and its Aston Martin looks sometime next year, and it will be interesting to see how that car stacks up in terms of efficiency. But for now, Altima is king of the midsize MPG battles.
And they wont let you forget it. Nissan is touting the 38 MPG number extensively, and it will be available in the Altima 2.5 models that feature a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. The more powerful 3.5L V6 engine is available in the Altima 3.5 models.
The Altima will set itself apart on the road with a dynamic, sporty presence and front fascia that fits the current Nissan styling language. Its headlights and grille may look like the Altima just bit into a lemon, but muscular curves and a sloping roofline give the car a lean profile in the vein of the Mercedes-Benz CLS or Audi A7.
The 4-cylinder is available in the Altima 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, which is priced to start from $21,500 to $28,050. Features like 17" alloy wheels, remote engine start, premium audio and a moonroof become available as you move up the price scale.
The V6 is packed within the Altima 3.5, which is offered in the 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL priced from $25,360 to $30,080. Extra goodies like 18" alloys, paddle shifters and Xenon headlights are available exclusively with the Altima 3.5 models.