Spied: 2013 Nissan Altima Prototype in Michigan

Nissan will launch the all-new 2013 Altima later this year, and associate web editor Donny Nordlicht managed to snap these photos of an early prototype testing on a Michigan highway.

The midsize sedan clearly resembles the current-generation Altima, although it appears to have adopted a new front grille design also seen on the 2012 Nissan Versa sedan. Out back, the taillights swoop onto the car’s rear fenders, and have a combination of red and clear tinting that recalls the lights on the 2013 Pathfinder concept.

The 2013 Altima looks noticeably larger than the current sedan, especially in the rear — which would presumably improve trunk space and rear legroom. We also spot triangle-shaped rear quarter windows that lend the car’s C-pillar a kinked, concave appearance.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has said he believes the 2013 Altima will be a “very strong contender” in its segment, meaning the company probably wants to oust the Toyota Camry as America’s top-selling midsize sedan. The Altima will almost certainly offer a new hybrid drivetrain, but it remains unknown what other engines might be available. Some reports suggest the car will continue to offer a choice between a small four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V-6. Given Nissan’s expertise and affinity with continuously variable transmissions, expect them to be standard.

The 2013 Altima won’t debut until late this year, and we’re unlikely to hear anything official from Nissan until closer to the on-sale date.

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