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2013 Nissan Altima: 27/38 mpg or 31 mpg combined (four-cylinder sedan); 22/31 mpg or 25 mpg combined (six-cylinder sedan); 23/32 mpg or 26 mpg combined (Altima Coupe)
Nissan's taken great pains to ensure the Altima meets or beats today's benchmarks in family-sedan fuel economy. While some Korean sedans are rated at 35 miles per gallon on the highway, Nissan says with its latest transmissions and careful tuning, the 2013 Altima hits that figure--and more.
Both the four-cylinder Altima and the V-6 version come equipped with a single transmission. The "Xtronic" CVT (continuously variable transmission) uses a set of pulleys and a belt to simulate an infinite number of gear ratios--on V-6 drivetrains, with some electronically constructed "gears" programmed in along the way for a more conventional driving feel. The CVT has seen progress all its own, with Nissan changing out 70 percent of its parts in the name of efficiency, for a reduction in friction of 40 percent--which helps the Altima along to a 15-percent improvement in fuel economy across the board.
The net for the four-cylinder is EPA-rated gas mileage of 27 miles per gallon city, 38 miles per gallon highway, and 31 mpg combined--or 3 mpg better on the highway cycle than the best four-cylinder mid-size sedan can muster today. With the V-6 and CVT, the Altima is rated at 22/31 mpg, or 25 mpg combined.With the Altima Coupe, fuel economy checks in at 23/32 mpg, or 26 mpg combined.
The four-cylinder Altima's 38-mpg highway gas mileage could lead the mid-size sedan pack until a new Hybrid emerges.