New York 2012: 2013 Nissan Altima Gets New Design, 38 MPG Rating

The Nissan Altima might not grab headlines that frequently, but the car is still a big deal. It's the second best-selling car in the country, beating the Honda Accord and closely following the Toyota Camry. It's no surprise, then, that Nissan worked very hard to make the new-for-2013 Altima a home run.

"In a crowded, competitive segment, Altima offers the best of everything," opined Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. "Altima hits the consumer bulls-eye dead-center."

The two engine choices haven't really changed from before: a 2.5-liter inline-four makes 182 hp, up seven horsepower thanks to various minor tweaks, and is expected to return 27/38 mpg (city/highway). The upgrade 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6 will manage 22/30 mpg. Both of the engines are more fuel efficient than in the outgoing car, thanks in part to an updated continuously variable transmission that has a wider spread of gear ratios and 40 percent less internal friction.

Design wise, the 2013 Nissan Altima is an evolution rather than a full-on rethink of the midsize sedan. The interior is still spacious, and the trunk deep and wide. A new nose includes a curved-trapezoid grille, the sides of the car have multiple characters, and the trunk gets boomerang-style taillights that wrap onto the rear fenders.

Engineers promise that the Nissan Altima will be better to drive than its predecessor, thanks to updated multilink suspension that was benchmarked against Germany luxury sedans. The car also gains Active Understeer Control, which can apply the brakes to the inside wheel when cornering, preventing the need for stability control intervention.

After the Altima, Nissan also will launch a new 2013 Pathfinder and 2013 Sentra. "This will be our most innovative year ever," promised Ghosn.

For more on the 2013 Nissan Altima, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 New York International Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our New York Auto Show homepage.

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