First drive: 2013 Nissan Altima in Dubai

First drive: 2013 Nissan Altima in Dubai

The most anticipated cars in this region are always the cars that are near the top of the sales charts, and the Nissan Altima happens to be one of those. As the second-best-selling midsize sedan in the Gulf, the 2013 Nissan Altima is going to be all over the streets of Dubai by the end of this year, and with good reason. The new car has improved in all the right ways.

For one thing, most people seem to be mistaking the new Altima for a Maxima out on the street. That’s good for new Altima owners, although bad for Maxima fanboys. The swoopy new design is an obvious reaction to the design revolution started by the Koreans, so the new Altima has more character than flop releases such as the new Chevy Malibu.

The inside is overly conservative though, with no signature design cues whatsoever. The simple cabin features good materials for the most part, with soft-touch padding on all doors and frontal dash area. The only cheap bit is the hard-plastic dash top, which is a bit too obvious.

The “zero-gravity” seats are a big talking point by Nissan, as they say it is designed with NASA weight-less technology or some such. They’re fine, as far as we can tell, since none of us are orthopedic surgeons. Other than that, cabin space has visibly improved, particularly in the back, although it still isn’t as voluminous as the Toyota Camry’s accommodations.

The Altima also ups the tech factor with a big LCD screen within the gauges that shows all sorts of configurable info, such as trip computer functions and Bluetooth phone info. There’s also optional features such as remote start, smart key, side-curtain airbags, dual-zone a/c, rear camera and various safety aids, such as lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and standard active trace control.

That last bit is a trick new system that plays with the brakes to help the car turn better. We couldn’t really tell if it did anything for the handling, as we weren’t pushing the car’s limits anyway in our short city drive. The Altima rides a bit more smoothly than the earlier model, although there is still a slight hint of firmness. The steering now has a bit more weight to it, unlike the overly-light one in the old model. Wind and road noises are kept to acceptable levels, so it makes for a great commuter car, as we’ve come to expect from all the contenders in the midsize field.

We drove both the 182 hp 2.5-litre inline-4 and the 270 hp 3.5-litre V6 versions. The former feels adequate for getting around, while the latter offers up good power, although neither car feels particularly fast due to the lack of gear-changes. That’s because the standard transmission is a CVT automatic, so it has no gears at all. However, we have to say, we never actually noticed the CVT in casual driving. The weirdness of the CVT only gets noticed under full-throttle acceleration.

Based on our short drive, the 2013 Nissan Altima should continue to do well in the UAE. Prices for the American-built sedan have gone up, with a base price of Dhs 79,000 or possibly more, depending on the dealer. But it is still a bit cheaper than the Toyota Camry, so it remains good value. And that’s all that matters to many buyers in this segment.

What do you think?



  1. Sounds good and well done Nissan for bringing the 3.5 version. Toyota, watch and learn.

  2. If you didn’t praise CVT in the city and enjoy it, where else can you, have you tried the responsiveness of it? did you compare the manual mode to any German high end car? this website really needs some professional testers / editors

  3. Mash admit it, its ugly. It more looks like the sunny.

  4. I went on the 1st of this month to Nissan Showroom (Arabian Automobiles) to check out the Altima has arrived or not, but Surprisingly I saw it as i entered the showroom. I asked for the price and i was shocked – It was 98000Dhs for V4 and 110000 for V6… I could not believe that V4 price have been hiked like rocket… And I asked the person for the options, he said there is one option for each… But, I was satisfied for the 3.5L Price which consist of pedal sifters, leather seats, Xenon Bulbs, Moon roof and elctronic seats for passengers along with 285Hp Engine where as the V4 dosnt have the above mentioned options even thought the price was 98000Dhs… So its much better to pay 12000 more and get a full option 😀

  5. Waste of time….wait for 2013 mazda 6 !

  6. according to many other car websites in the US, the altima’s strong point is the fuel economy as the new transmission is now equals 7 speed and saves much of fuel, according to these websites, the car will be driving at 130-140 km/h while revving at 2000 rpm only …. Mash, did you notice that or your drive was only in the slow streets inside the city?

  7. What is active trace control?

  8. Well some people will sit and argue the possibilities and non-possibilities, Nissan must have already sold all the shipments it has, or will arrive, with one or two cars standing in showroom. And the test ride ones will already have been abused by people who just test ride and never buy even a Suzuki Alto.

  9. Well it seems to have improved a lot over looks, features and its ride quality also!!…. 😉

  10. I just called Arabian Automobiles (Nissan dealer in the UAE), the prices are:

    Basic: AED 82,100
    Mid: AED 89,400
    Full: AED 98,100

    Mid: AED 100,200
    Full: AED 117,800

    Availability: availbe in the showrooms for viewing and test driving, availability for purchase depends on the color, range and engine. You have to check with the showroom.

    Enjoy! 🙂

    • i believe those prices include 1yr insurance… if that’s the case i shall check out this new kid on the block..

    • Author

      Thanks for that.

    • UPDATE

      The shipment of the new Altima 2013 coming to the UAE is already sold out, you have to pre-purchase and wait for at least one month, or if you are lucky enough one buyer might change his/her mind and cancel the purchase so you can jump in 🙂 tough world! this proves how this car is popular.

    • When the Renault Duster debuted, same was the situation. So it was when almost every other car from every other manufacturer debuted. Looks more like a marketing strategy to me!

  11. the way it looks

    accord > altima > camry…..

    but well done altima

  12. hmm…this or the Passat? Passat comes with 5 yr warranty, free servicing until 45,000kms and it looks better. Plus VW has a better image than a Nissan!

    • Passat is good, spacious but no AC for the rear seats which I felt is a major drawback in a country like UAE where summer stays for 6 months.

    • Are u sure? No AC for the rear seats? I don’t think so. Tested the new passat. Only complain is engine might be a bit underpowered… Any one had same experience?

  13. Its a good car that will get you to a lot of places safely, comfortably and most importantly reliably. However there doesn’t seem to be anything exceptional about it. Its just another generation of a mid size sedan that doesn’t set my pulse racing. And to be honest, the car looks pretty good when viewed from the side, but when viewed from the front, it looks down right ugly. Don’t suppose its going to turn too many heads, but then again people who do buy it are probably the ones who read beyond the cover of a book. However what I feel is that all the enormous strides being taken Hyundai and KIA, Chevrolet and FORD in improving their reliability and more importantly their design cues, is something the Japanese seem to be sleeping over. Minor face-lifts, uninteresting designs and minor changes to the engines and technology within the car is what they are limiting themselves to. After all can anyone really say that the upgraded design of the new camry and the altima are anywhere near as noteworthy as those of Hyundai, KIA or even Chevrolet and Ford? The Camry and the Altima are good cars, but in a segment which is quickly being populated by excellent cars, I doubt if being ‘Good’ is really good enough.

    PS – I have nothing against Japanese cars or their owners, (I am one myself) but i really don’t see how many wake up calls they need to start being just the least bit creative, come up with something exceptional on the Drawing board.
    As a side note, the KIA QUORIS (k9) is being launched in the UAE and im guessing itll be in the price range of the avalon. do check it out.

    E-Mad (about cars)

  14. Im pendng my decisions and reviews till new Mazda 6 2013 arrive. I heard 2.5L produces 192hp and a direct injection.

  15. Was told by dealer, new Mazda 6 will only come late 2013…as 2014 model…

  16. Its such an amazing car in this price.
    The look is much better than accord,camry,sonata and optima.
    CVT is really superb.

  17. How much better is it than the Outgoing Altima 2012? Is it completely different in feel, or has retained most of the genetics?

    • Major genetics are same engine and CVT..i personally dont like CVT, no driving pleasure atall with CVT it fell sumthing streching like rubber band.

    • CVT is not that good to be honest…not a fan of it. But still its one of the better cars in the segment…much better than a camry or any american car out there…camry might last forever but will u bore you to death first..

  18. i have Maxima 2012 … lolz still happy coz in abudhabi they will use Altima for public taxi … but not the Maxima… still it has its own value

  19. i would wait for the accord to arrive before crowning the altima… already car & driver magazine in it;s shoot out comparision has put the new accord at top place, followed by fusion, altima and then the VW Passat….

  20. they kill the Altima by use it for Taxi, the new model is mix (Shape) of Sunny !!!! in front, Maxima and Lexus IS in general it look OK but not WOW.

  21. when do we expect the new Accord to be launched in UAE.

    WIll it be a better shape that the existing accord

  22. Wow at least 99% percent of you peeps pretend to know everything abot cars and more concerned about “shapes” and care less about engineering. And there are fanboys of accords what-have-yous who never stop bashing the altima without even seeing the car or at least done some research. Little do these fanboys know that this car is Transformed from inside and out. To simply put this, Nissan has acquired luxury car parts and slap it to this car which has greatly improve the car. And this i think will be difficult for the competitors to replicate.

    • You are right, however you talk like you already drove the 2013 Accord and you know for sure the new Altima is better. Is that the case?

    • @PJohn
      Whats your take on the Altima’s Engine Refinement versus that of the Accord’s?

      FYI the Honda Accord 2013 hasn’t launched yet, what you see in the showroom is still the 2012

  23. 2013 accord is the same. Lets wait for 2014.

    • Guess what guys!!!
      I got my Altima 2013 2.5 SV and can
      bet that all other brands in the same /class cannot beat nor reach at par with this EXCELLENT CAR??? Ready to bet!!!

  24. altima similar to hyundai and optima,, the accord is a class above.

  25. Hey guys, I am not even looking for a car but I’m interested. Honda is generaaly more expensive, so it s kinda “class” to have one. Toyota is very common so don’t expect “class” according to me. And Nissan .. its has more “class” than Toyota I think, even though it has a lower price and leading acceleration (7.3s) and fuel economy (27/38 mpg or 11-14kpl) So … what do you think?

    • in one word yes.. accord is better

      altimas tend to suffer from high wear tear of it;s consumable parts… combined with its drone CVT transmission and more new accord appears like a steam lined car, a well engineered machine..

  26. ‘I’m surprises to see that you haven’t noticed the fuel efficiency of this car.
    Far better than the previous version, 38 MPG in highway, which is best in class

  27. A friend of mine have nissan altima 2007 model. As per his experience altima has 2 major faults which is not yet fixed by nissan engineers. CVT is not impressive as many customers have complained about its reliability. Suspension is faulty. If 3 people are sitting in the rear seats some times back bumber touches the humps. Camry is the other choice but many complained about seating ergonomics. Many drivers complained about back pain.

    please suggest a family sedan below Aed100K

  28. are you sure fuel economy is 6.3/100?

  29. Need Nissan Altima 2013 GCC Brochure

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