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2013 Nissan Altima Review

The Nissan Altima has balanced handling, a comfortable interior, and excellent crash safety ratings. However, its below-average reliability pulls this Nissan down to the middle of its competitive class.

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Great fuel economy
  • Comfortable seats
  • Below-average reliability rating
  • Loud four-cylinder engine




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Nissan Altima Overview

Is the 2013 Nissan Altima a Good Used Car?

The 2013 Nissan Altima is a decent used midsize car. It boasts athletic handling, great fuel economy, and a roomy interior. It also rates very well for crash safety. Even so, the Altima’s lower-than-average reliability rating make it hard to recommend over other fun-to-drive midsize sedans, like the Honda Accord and Kia Optima.

Used 2013 Nissan Altima Performance and Interior

The 2013 Altima is available with two engine options: a four-cylinder with 182 horsepower and a V6 with 270 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Both engines feel muscular and provide eager acceleration, but it’s the V6 that offers superior passing power. The four-cylinder tends to hum loudly when you mash the pedal, which can be tiresome on longer trips. The Altima achieves high fuel economy numbers of 27 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. The V6 returns an estimated 22/30 mpg city/highway.

Despite its size, the Altima feels particularly agile and fun to drive. Its compliant suspension keeps its body from swaying and shimmying around corners while also shrugging off rough pavement with poise. The Altima’s strong brakes and responsive power steering only enhance its refined driving dynamics.

Read more about Altima performance »

The five-seat Nissan Altima has ample head- and legroom in both rows. The front seats in particular are plush and provide great support for long trips as well as a nice driving position. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. Abundant soft-touch plastics and a clean interior design give the cabin a classy look, but it’s not as luxurious as some competitors. The Altima has an average-sized trunk, measuring 15.4 cubic feet.

The Altima isn’t as generous with standard features as some of its competitors. You’ll have to opt for higher trim levels if you want a USB input, an infotainment screen, or satellite radio. However, its standard audio and climate controls are refreshingly easy to use. The optional 7-inch touch-screen navigation system is mostly user friendly, and it responds very quickly to inputs. But some of its small on-screen buttons can be tough to locate when on the go.

Read more about Altima interior »

Used 2013 Nissan Altima Prices

The price of a used 2013 Altima sedan ranges from about $9,700 for a base 2.5 model to $13,500 for an SL V6 model. Prices depend on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 27 Nissan Altima reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experienced combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima has a below-average reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about reliability »

How Safe Is the Altima?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Altima a 2013 Top Safety Pick+, the agency’s highest award. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Nissan a perfect five-star overall crash safety rating.

The Altima is available with a rearview camera. Altima SL models are available with the Technology Package, which adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

See Altima safety scores »

Is the 2013 Altima the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 model year is a fine starting point for those shopping for a used Altima. Nissan redesigned the Altima sedan for 2013, and it received no major updates in 2014 or 2015. You can save money by shopping for 2013 models, while still finding the same features as these later models. Notably, the Altima coupe carried over unchanged from 2012 before being discontinued altogether in 2014.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Altima »

Which Used Nissan Altima Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Altima sedan comes in four trims: 2.5, S, SV, and SL. The base model Altima 2.5 has a four-cylinder engine, a CD player, four speakers, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, and air conditioning. The Nissan Altima S trim is available with both four- and six-cylinder engines, and it adds proximity keyless entry, cruise control, and six speakers.

The Nissan Altima SV trim adds a 5-inch infotainment screen, rearview camera, USB input, satellite radio, dual-zone climate control, remote start, and alloy wheels. The Nissan Altima SL adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a nine-speaker Bose sound system. Available features include a moonroof, a touch-screen navigation system, and a suite of active safety features.

You may want to consider a certified pre-owned Altima. For its CPO vehicles, Nissan extends the new car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Altima certified pre-owned program »

2013 Nissan Altima and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Nissan Altima or 2013 Nissan Maxima?

The 2013 Nissan Maxima struggles to outperform its Altima sibling. The Maxima has a lower-quality interior, less rear-seat space, fewer tech and safety features, marginal crash test ratings, lower fuel economy (19/26 mpg), and handling that doesn’t feel as precise. The Altima is the better Nissan sedan.

Which Is Better: 2013 Nissan Altima or 2013 Toyota Camry?

Compared to the Altima, the 2013 Toyota Camry has lower fuel economy ratings (25/34 mpg), and it doesn’t feel as poised around turns. These issues aside, it’s the better overall used car option. The Camry rates much higher than the Altima for reliability. Also, it has a roomier cabin with more standard tech features, like a touch screen.

Which Is Better: 2013 Nissan Altima or 2013 Honda Accord?

The 2013 Honda Accord rivals the Altima’s performance, with crisp handling and zippy engines. In most other ways, however, the Accord pulls ahead. It offers a ritzier interior, more standard features, available active safety tech like forward collision warning, and a higher reliability rating. That said, used Accord models tend to carry higher prices than used Altimas.

Compare the Altima, Camry, and Accord »

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