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Although this Nissan Altima came equipped with a four-cylinder engine, the sporty performance could have easily been mistaken for a V6.

Performance has always been one of the main selling points here for the Altima. But it’s more than just performance that has made the Altima a strong seller over the years. It’s a family sedan that tends to get underestimated, lost in the luminous shadow of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Nissan redesigned its top-selling model for 2013 and one of the goals was creating a more upscale exterior. The Altima exterior and interior are completely new, with a focus on a more upscale look and feel throughout.

The exterior certainly looks different, now resembling the Infiniti M37, a classy sedan from Nissan’s luxury brand.

The 2013 Nissan Altima is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor. The cabin is also more fashionable this year with concentration on making the console and dashboard more visible and of higher quality.

2013 Nissan Altima

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 182 horsepower; 3.5-liter. V6, 270 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 27-38 mpg
  • Price: $22,280 to $30,560
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/60,000

While fashion is in the eye of the beholder, there’s no disputing that this year’s Altima arrived with better mileage numbers. The four-cylinder gets between 27-38 mpg, a top-end increase of 6 mpg over the 2012 model. The V6 version doesn’t have quite the dramatic improvement, but has climbed its numbers to 22-30 mpg.

A tank of gas will go further in the “new” Altima and it’s had no negative impact on performance. The impressive 2.5-liter, four-cylinder elicits 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque and goes 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest four-cylinder family sedans. The power is sent to the front wheels via the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

If more performance is your thing, the Altima also offers a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. It sprints 0-60 mph in a swift 6.2 seconds.

The Altima is also available in a coupe with the four-cylinder engine the only option. That’s one of eight trim levels.

The Altima has always provided a solid, responsive ride and that has only gotten better with redesign improvements that include an updated suspension and steering designs that allow the driver to take tight corners with even more assurance. The ride quality remains very good, while road and wind noise are only minor.

If you liked the Altima before, you will enjoy it even more now. It remains a very good, reliable family sedan that also possesses a fun factor.

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