Friday, April 20, 2012

Is the 2013 Nissan Altima attractive enough to compete?

2013 Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima has always been third fiddle to the perennial favorites in the segment, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The Altima is perfect for someone who wants a reliable, safe family car, but wants a little more sportiness and personality than the bland Camry or Accord. However, when Nissan unveiled the new 2013 Altima at the New York Auto Show, I was, frankly, disappointed. With new beautiful designs from Ford, Hyundai, and Kia, why would anyone looking for "sportiness" and "pizzazz" go with this Altima? Click through for my reasoning...

Personally speaking, I'm typically not a fan of Nissan's designs, but I admit that Nissan makes reliable, futuristic-looking cars and accordingly has a strong following. The new Altima has a lot of the same design features seen on the rest of Nissan's current lineup, chiefly the weird concave grille (Versa) and the kinked headlights and taillights (Maxima / 370Z). The wavy line on the side is mildly interesting, but it doesn't go far enough to elicit much emotion. The interior is attractive enough. Having not driven or sat in the new Altima, I can only comment on the pictures I've seen so far, and I am overall underwhelmed.

2013 Ford Fusion
In contrast, Ford surprised everyone when they unleashed the new Aston Martin-like Fusion design. Not only will this car be one of the best looking in its class, but also it will arguably be one of the best looking cars available period. Seriously, if sportiness and design are important to you, why would you buy the Altima over the Fusion? Some people may argue that Japanese quality is better, but Ford's reputation has improved quite a bit in recent years, and is probably comparable to the Japanese competitors, for all intents and purposes.

Hyundai Sonata
The current Hyundai Sonata has been around for a couple years now, but it still looks awesome. Its Mercedes CLS-like lines are almost too classy (if that is possible) for a car that costs sub-$25k. Unless you still have an (unfair) bias against Hyundai, or if styling is not important to you, I cannot understand why anyone would buy the Altima over the Sonata. And...the warranty is better too.

Kia Optima
I have real trouble deciding whether I prefer the Optima or the Sonata; honestly, I still haven't made up my mind. Both cars are so refreshingly attractive. I've driven the Optima Hybrid and was impressed by the car's dashboard, which seemingly wraps around the driver. The quality was top notch, the engine was peppy, and the exterior of the car is gorgeous.

Returning to my original point, I fail to see how the Altima competes: it is perceived to be not as good as the Camry or Accord, but doesn't have the sex appeal (interior or exterior) of the Fusion, Sonata, or Optima. And don't forget, the new Chevy Malibu will also give the Altima some added competition. I'm not sure I love the new Malibu's styling, but I think it is more harmonious than the Altima's.

1 comment:

  1. The Altima is not attractive. I don't like the headlights or the bump over the front wheels. It looks like the front doesn't go with the rear!