Text Cor Steenstra, photos Nissan
When the previous generation Nissan Altima came onto the market it send a shock wave through the industry. Here you suddenly had a very modern, stylish, spacious car with very good quality. This was new. This was different. This set a new standard. Very impressive. So how do you succeed. Meanwhile the competitors have also entered similarly good entries, and there are new offerings from Kia and Hyundai now setting the new standard.
Well, how do you follow up on a winner? Nissan is trying it with this 2013 Altima. It is clearly roomier, more spacious in size, measuring up to what Hyundai and Kia have set as a new standard. It has a very capable engine option, although we only got to drive the weakest of those options, sadly, so we can’t make any judgement call on that.
On the interior side, we see a nicely designed dashboard, albeit it a bit conventional compared to the Hyundai and Kia offerings. There has not been an attempt to step out of line. It looks like there was a need to conserve rather than evolve. Fit and finish were good, and the chosen material were good too, but, again, driving the bare basic version, we can’t make a judgement call on the equipment, since it was not installed. No leather, no electronics, no rear view cameras, heck, not even Satellite radio. I think we were lucky to get airco.
On the exterior we spotted a lot of other cars. There was some current Mazda 6 in the front fenders, some Passat in the green house, some Lexus in the front fascia, a hint of the old Altima in the cat walk, and some Maxima in the trunk, though we of course did not get to see the double exhaust since we had the base version with a 4-banger.
In driving, the car was normal, predictable, but the main thing we noticed was that nobody noticed, not even current Altima drivers. We would have hoped for an enthusiastic reaction from at least them, exclaiming how they too were going to run to their dealers to get one, but nothing like that happened.
I guess that’s the price you pay for converting from leader to follower.