One very important thing that the 2013 Nissan Altima and the 2013 Toyota Camry have in common is their proven history of reliability. Nissan Altima is now in its fifth generation and Camry hit the showroom floors three decades ago. In fact, as of May 2012, Toyota Camry is North America’s best-selling passenger car and does incredibly well in Australia and some Asian markets. There are two vehicles that really have it all, from top safety scores to fantastic fuel economy to comfortable cabins, so choosing between the two is not such an easy decision.
Both vehilces offer a similar four-cylinder engine, plus other options. Base models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In Altima, it generates 182 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, but provides 178 and 170 respectively in Camry. Nissan mates its fuel-efficient engine with a CVT while Toyota opts for a six-speed automatic. Altima comes out slightly ahead in fuel economy, returning 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway for a 31 mpg combined. Toyota’s combined average is very close at 28 mpg. It should be noted that the 2013 Nissan Coupe does not get as good of a fuel economy rating, as it is at 26 mpg.
The 2013 Altima 3.5 models get a powerful 3.5-liter V6 that produces 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is impressive at 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. This is an optional engine on Toyota Camry that delivers 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque, with a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg.
The biggest difference between the two is that Toyota offers a hybrid model for Camry. It gets an electric motor/battery pack paired with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder for a combined output of 200 horsepower. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 7.4 seconds and fuel economy is beyond impressive at 43 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
Driving and Handling
One of the reasons Altima and Camry have retained their popularity is because they both offer a rewarding driving experience. For 2013, Altima gets a revised steering system that is more responsive, and wind and road noise are nearly nonexistent.
Gear changes in Camry are unobtrusive, regardless which engine you choose. Downshifts are quick and additional power is there when you need it. The ride is smooth and composed, and the electric-assisted steering is spot-on.
Safety-minded buyers flock to Altima and Camry because they both receive top safety scores in front, roof and side-impact protection from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, the 2013 Camry is voted as a “Top Safety Pick for 2013.”
When it comes to braking capabilities, they both do well, but interestingly, they both shine with specific engines. For example. With a four-cylinder, Camry stops from 60 mph in 129 feet while Altima is at 130 feet. With the V6, Altima does quite well, stopping in only 114 feet, while Camry is at 119 feet.
Both vehicles are packed full of safety features with thoughtful ones optional, such as cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
While the 2013 Altima receives a complete redesign for 2013, Camry had its chance to hog the spotlight with its redesign last year. Altima gets a sleeker body with the perfect harmonic blend of sharp and soft lines. The arrow-shaped headlights are a definite focal point. Camry is modern, but the lines are a bit simpler. Toyota does give Camry some very attractive wheels though. If you appreciate a cleaner and more subtle look, you will be drawn to Camry. If you like a more modern and chiseled look, the newly designed Altima will lure you in.
The passenger cabin is one of the reasons both these vehicles have loyal customers. They are roomy, comfortable and thoughtfully designed. Camry is known for having one of the most comfortable backseats in its segment, while NASA was called upon to help design the “zero gravity” front seats in the 2013 Nissan Altima.
Both vehicles make use of surprisingly high-quality materials and offer controls and gauges that are placed with the driver in mind. You have to give it to Nissan though, Altima’s redesign has really brought an incredibly elegant cabin for this price range.
Technology and Entertainment
Altima and Camry get a center stack, but while Altima gets a 4-inch LCD screen, Camry gives you one that is 6.1 inches. NissanConnect is optional that offers a ton of technology, including navigation, hands-free text messages, Bluetooth, streaming audio and more, but Toyota gives you Entune®, which is an incredibly revolutionary in-car technology.
Both base audio systems are similar, but while Nissan goes with Bose® for its upgraded system, Toyota turns to JBL®.
Unless you are specifically looking for a two-door coupe or a hybrid, then choosing between the two will really come down to which one makes you a little more excited behind the wheel. Camry is a Top Safety Pick for 2013, but Altima’s exterior styling is really stunning. Both give you fuel-efficient engines and reliable engines. If you rarely have people in your backseat, those zero-gravity front seats in Altima may seal the deal, but if you carpool for work, the extra comfortable rear seat in the 2013 Camry may be exactly what you are looking for.