New Car Review: 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL

2013 Nissan Altima in black against white background
The 2013 Nissan Altima.

This is, by all accounts, a watershed year for the family sedan. There's a new Ford Fusion, a new Chevy Malibu, a new Honda Accord, and a new Mazda 6.

Haven't driven any of them yet (Malibu and Accord are due at TireKicker World Headquarters soon).

Sure hope they brought their A game, though. Because there's also a new Nissan Altima. And.......damn (let Will Smith sue).

Now, regular TireKicker readers will recall that we've always thought the Altima was a better car than its sales figures (which aren't bad) indicated.

But this.....

Let's get to the important stuff. The price has gone up. A 2.5 SL now has a base price of $28,050. The one we drove a shade over a year ago was $5,590 less. But the gas mileage has positively pole-vaulted. The old one's EPA estimate for city driving was 22. The '13 shows 27. The highway estimate jumps from 32 to 38...and although people are suing other carmakers for inflated mileage figures, our week in the Altima says those numbers are absolutely achievable.

The money didn't all go to fuel economy. The 2.5 SL is now an extremely well-equipped machine. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, active understeer control, anti-lock brakes, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, tire pressure monitoring, electronic brake force distribution, a vehicle security system, fog lights, LED taillights, heated outside mirrors and exhaust finishers.

True story: We had people look at us and say "Nice car".  That usually happens tens of thousands of dollars up the ladder. But the new styling resonates with people (whichever car mag said it looked like a Camry stung by bees needs to have its eyes checked)...and it looks especially rich in dark colors, like the Metallic Slate ours was wearing.

2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL interior
The 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL interior.

The bigger base price buys you a nicer environment in which to do your driving, too. The interior is a huge leap from last year's, with Advance Drive-Assist display, 8-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather appointed seats, premium interior trim, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, a 9-speaker BOSE premium audio system, a 5-inch color display, USB, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, dual-zone climate control, rear seat A/C vents and a moonroof.

Again, all standard. Which makes that $28,050 seem like the bargain it is.

Options? our car had two...floor and trunk mats for $165 and the Technology Package (replacing the 5-inch color display with a 7-inch featuring navigation, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection for $1,090. With $790 destination charges, the Altima rang in at $30,105.

It drives well, looks good, has all the creature comforts, just hits $30K and gets 27 in town and 38 on the highway.  Until and unless the other new family sedans can top it, there's a new favorite family sedan down TireKicker way.