Yesterday, Nissan officially started U.S. production of the 2013 Altima at its vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.
The fifth generation of the car since it was launched in 1992, the 2013 Altima is expected to arrive at Nissan dealers across the U.S. at the start of June, with the entry-level model expected to retail for around $21,500.
Available with two different engines and a choice of several different trim options, Nissan customers can choose from one of seven different Altima models.
Two engine choices
The base model is powered by a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter, dual overhead cam, inline 4-cylinder engine capable of a claimed 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
Also available in S, SV, and SL trim levels, the 2.5-liter engine offers the best choice for gas mileage.
For those wanting a little more power, Nissan offers a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, producing 270-horsepower.
Available in three trim levels, (S, SV and SL) the V-6 option is expected to return around 22mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
Both engine options will be mated with Nissan’s latest-generation computer-controlled Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission, which includes an Active Understeer Control system to give improved front-wheel drive handling.
Several trim options
While SV and SL models will benefit from higher quality sound systems and more options over the base-level models, Nissan has said each Altima will come with Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming as standard.
Upper end models will come with Blind Sport Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) systems, ensuring that those inside and outside the car stay safe at all times.
Nissan has yet to confirm if or indeed when it plans to reintroduce a hybrid variant to the Altima lineup.
If it does, we’d expect it to appear some time in 2013 as a 2014 model, complete with turbocharged 2.5-liter engine and mild-hybrid technology.
But with its 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder variant pushing 40 mpg highway, we think many buyers will decide the $21,500 mid-size sedan is just too good to justify waiting around for a hybrid variant.