One of the headline claims Nissan is making for the all-new 2013 Altima is its EPA highway rating of 38 MPG. We've seen big highway numbers that are difficult to obtain in real life -- the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata being a couple of notable examples. So can the Altima really do it? I booked a 2013 Altima and took a 1200 mile round trip to find out.
Before I tell you the results, I have to explain that the bulk of my experiment wasn't conducted under circumstances favorable to the Altima. The outbound trip was with three people, the return trip with four, the trunk was pretty full, and we were driving between Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona, with big hills and high speed limits (70 to 75 MPH). Oh, and my wife Robin did a lot of the driving, and she's not exactly one to dawdle at the posted limit.
End result? The Altima averaged just over 35 MPG on our road trips, which I consider a pretty good showing under the circumstances.
I did make one trip on Phoenix freeways with lower speed limits. Cruising at 60 to 65 MPH, I had no problem nailing 38 MPG -- in fact, I was able to nurse it up to nearly 40 MPG.
So we don't have the most conclusive evidence, but based on what I observed, I'm going to call this one in the Altima's favor: Assuming you don't make every trip with a full load at 75 MPH, then yes, the Nissan Altima really does get 38 MPG on the highway. -- Aaron Gold
Photo © Aaron Gold