2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL: Driven Page 2

May 22, 2013
We appreciated a number of thoughtful details and features here--like how when parallel-parking in a hilly area the brakes would momentarily prevent us from drifting downhill, no matter which gear and whether facing uphill or down. Our Altima also had the Technology Package, which included Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, and Moving Object Detection. The lane departure system has a very high threshold before scolding, so this is a system you'll simply drive with—and not look for the disable button.

Nav, Bluetooth, audio all work well, and intuitively

The Bluetooth system in the Altima seemed to have an excellent microphone; a friend on the receiving end commented on how clear I sounded—a rarity for hands-free systems, it seems. And the navigation system's menus, clear maps, live-traffic features, and general responsiveness never let us down.

On the down side, while we saw a lot of value in the interior trims and materials for the simply equipped four-cylinder model we drove late last year, we find it harder to justify some of the hollow-feeling materials around the center console; considering our Altima's $32,135 bottom-line price, they're questionable—a step below the trims and switchgear we found in the Accord V-6 we'd driven a few weeks earlier. And we've pointed to the Altima's seats as great for longer trips, but we noted that the seats included in our SL were a bit slippery and simply didn't have the level of side support they looked like they'd have for twisty two-laners.

After spending more time with the Altima V-6 and putting it through the paces of a weekend trip, we understand what Nissan is thinking in how the 2013 model is tuned. The new Altima V-6 still offers the handling capability—and sportiness—of the previous-generation Altima. You just have to dig a little deeper for it. And most buyers, who will appreciate the new car's added comfort and refinement day in and day out, yet still have the reserve of power from the V-6, will prefer that.

See our full review of the 2013 Nissan Altima for more on interior accommodations, safety, features, and details on the four-cylinder model.


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