The redesigned 2013 Altima finished last in our recent six-car $26,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge, disappointing the judges with its uncomfortable "zero-gravity" seats, uninspired handling and a general impression of cheapness.
In its favor, the Altima was the fuel-economy champ of the bunch, turning in an impressive 33.7 mpg in a 185-mile mileage test, and it scored points for its roomy trunk. It also is rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Two other sedans redesigned for 2013 were far more impressive in the Challenge: The Ford Fusion placed second and the Honda Accord was the overall winner. Both also earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating. In addition, they were deemed more nimble and enjoyable to drive than the Altima, and the Fusion drew raves for its looks.
New and redesigned models often leapfrog older rivals by virtue of being fresher and able to raise the bar, but in the Challenge the Altima also finished behind the Toyota Camry, which was redesigned for 2012, and the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata, redesigned for 2011.
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