Nissan Altima

Still somewhat sporty

"The 4-cylinders offered good acceleration in most situations," said Issam

"The Altima definitely makes sense with regard to its cost effectiveness"

"The Nissan Altima was launched 20 years ago"

One beautiful sunny weekend, this is how my journey started with the Nissan Altima. I picked up the vehicle from the official distributor of Nissan in Lebanon, RYMCO. Totally redesigned for the 2013 model year, it is available with a new, more efficient 2.5 liter, inline four cylinder engine that gives 182 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. That was our test car.

Driving Impressions
As a beginning and to really test that midsize sedan car in Lebanon, I needed to head up to the mountains. My destination with three friends was to the Cedars of God.

More refined than before, it is lighter, stronger and more fuel efficient than the model it replaces. Fuel delivery occurs through a traditional multi-port fuel injection system, and I could only imagine the results if it were of the direct injection variety.

A five passenger front-wheel-drive sedan, the latest Nissan Altima is the fifth generation of an increasingly successful recipe. For those who want more displacement, the Altima is also offered with a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Although slightly longer and wider than before, the new Altima has lost weight. My almost loaded SL 2.5 liter 4 cylinder model weighed 3102 pounds, an impressive 124 pounds less than the last 4 cylinder Altima I tested before. That is quite a good number.

This Altima isn't mainly appealing to drive, though that doesn't mean that it fails as a midsize family sedan. It is with no single doubt safe, fuel-efficient, comfortable and affordable. The Altima rightfully earned its place in the market.

Drivetrains
The all new 2013 Nissan Altima is offered in three 2.5 liter engine equipped models, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along with two 3.5 liter V6 equipped models, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL.

The Altima 2.5 S includes: 2.5 liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine, next generation Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), active trace control (ATC), vehicle dynamic control (VDC), traction control system (TCS), 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), remote keyless entry with push button ignition, AM/FM/CD audio system with aux-in with 2 speakers, steering wheel mounted meter display control, air conditioning with rear vents, 60/40 split fold-down including best-in-class seat comfort inspired by zero-gravity research, Nissan advanced air bag system (AABS) with driver and passenger single-stage supplemental front impact airbags (two airbags). 

Altima 2.5 SV (in addition to S features): Nissan intelligent key, steering wheel mounted audio & cruise control buttons, 6 speakers, auto on/off head lamp (enhanced type), cruise control, parking sensors (2 front & 2 rear), fog lamp, body color outside mirror, chrome front cup holder, console & interior door handle piano black trim, 215/55 r17 tires, 17 inch aluminum wheel, 5 inch LDC display for audio, Bluetooth hands free phone with steering wheel mounted buttons, mic in roof console, USB port with iPod connectivity, rear view camera.

Altima 2.5 SL (in addition to Altima 2.5 SV features): Auto dimming Inside mirror, power window with one-touch auto-up/down for passenger, driver 6-way power seat, dual zone auto a/c, vanity mirror with illumination and rod extension, side cargo net, compass, side turn lamp in outside mirror, mood lamp in roof console, side & curtain airbag, leather wrapped steering, remote engine start system

Altima 3.5 SV (in addition to 2.5 SV features): 3.5L V6, paddle shift on column w/manual mode, AT with Ds mode.

Altima 3.5 SL (in addition to 3.5 SV features): Leather seat and trim with double stitch, driver's 8-way power seat, power lumbar support, leather wrapped shift knob, Bose audio & 9 speakers, xenon head lamps, dual zone auto a/c, auto dimming inside mirror, normal sunroof, leather wrapped steering, side cargo net, compass, remote engine starter, side turn lamp in outside mirror, power window with one-touch auto-up/down for pass, vanity mirror with illumination and rod extension, side & curtain airbag, rear 2 independent type headrest, LED tail lamp, premium interior trim (wooden with beige color/metal with black color)

Options Packages

-Navigation pack (Altima SV & Altima 2.5 SL)

-Navigation system

-7 inch color touch display

-Bose audio and 9 speaker system (upgrading from standard 6 speaker system)

-Technology pack (Altima 3.5 SL only)

-Navigation system

-7-inch color touch display

-Next generation safety shield technologies, including blind spot warning (BSW), lane departure warning (LDW) and moving object detection (MOD) systems

-Remote engine start option for S and SV grades

Verdict
Drop by your nearest dealer to have a test drive. My overall frank opinion is that the Altima may not be the coolest, most appealing car I have ever driven - the Mazda6 is more fun to drive - but the Altima is a solid choice for a solid cost of ownership. 

Rivals: Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Passat, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima
Pros: Fuel efficient, refined ride, comfortable seats, safe, good interior quality, safety
Cons: bit noisy 4 cylinders engine, CVT
3.5 stars
One word: welfare

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