2013 Nissan Altima sedan

2013 Nissan Altima a Game Changer in Midsize Segment

Changing the number two selling car in the U.S. is a huge gamble, but Nissan has pulled off a stunning success with the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima.

Simply put, the Japanese automaker has produced a midsize sedan that once again should come out on top. Before, frankly, the Altima was largely a value proposition. It was a quality sedan that was roomy in sedan. Plus, Nissan always seem poised to offer good deals on it. Around where I live in Central Connecticut, silver Nissan Altimas are ubiquitous. I call it the unofficial state sedan.

For 2013 that all changes. Nissan has created an aspirational sedan. It's going to be a car that people want to be in. It will not be seen as practical transportation with a roomy trunk. It's still all that but now it's a sedan that can engender passion among its owners.

Zero Gravity Seats in 2013 Altima

I'm going to skip the passionate side of the 2013 Nissan Altima and focus on two practical elements of it that are perfect: 38 mpg on the highway and the zero-gravity seats. Let's look at the latter. Simply put, these are the most comfortable seats – bar none – that I have sat in for a long time.

Nissan, during a media introduction of the Altima in Nashville, Tenn., had us experience the seats as driver and passenger over the course of a couple hundred miles. Before we departed, the company had journalists sit in a 2011 Nissan Altima seat and a 2012 Hyundai Sonata seat. I never used to think those seats were horrible, but they are in comparison.

Seats are going to become the next battleground in the midsize sedan class because of what Nissan has accomplished with the NASA-inspired “zero-gravity” front seats that help relieve pressure points no matter what the body type. After all that driving, I felt no fatigue. Whenever I got out of the car, there was no need to stretch.

Here's the official explanation from Nissan about the seats: "Utilizing a new articulated seat shape with continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and distribution of localized deformation characteristics, the 'zero-gravity' Altima seats help reduce muscular and spinal loads, and improve blood flow – thereby helping reduce fatigue over long periods behind the wheel. Seat surface perforations provide increased ventilation, breathability and comfort.

Nissan needs to do what it did with the media at every dealership: a side-by-side seat comparison. You're not going to get the appeal of the seats on a short test drive. You're going to have to put some miles on the car.

38 MPG Highway

Speaking of miles, the 2013 Nissan Altima gets the aforementioned 38 mpg on the highway from the 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine. Its city mpg rating is 27 mpg – a figure easily beat during a road trip through Bell Buckle, Tenn., to the Jack Daniels distillery. (Don't worry – no alcohol was consumed during this test drive!).


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.


But it's a Nissan do this Americn would NEVER buy it.