There was a time when the Japanese mid-size sedan was the king of the automotive hill. The Accord, Camry and Altima were considered the best in the class and had little real competition from the American or Korean manufactures. Over the past 5 years that has changed completely. Now the Koreans are producing a quality, highly rated product and so are Ford and Chevrolet. This new Altima will have to fight hard against the Optima, Sonata, Malibu and Camry just to name a few. Most people would agree that the 2013 Altima won’t be winning any beauty contests but Nissan promises it offers class leading quality and value.Looking at the 2013 Altima from the outside, one isn’t overly impressed: the styling is a little odd but not especially distinctive. The panel fit and build quality is good but not the best in the class. It is hard to ignore the fact that the seal that runs around the leading edge of the hood is clearly visible when the hood is down. This and other small quality issues make the front of the car not particularly pleasant to look at. Looking at the back and side of the Altima the story gets a little better. The door handles are of a high quality and are nicely styled. The rear of the car is nice enough to look at and there are no visible quality issues. Overall the styling isn’t unpleasant enough to ruin the car, it is just a little disappointing.When you get into the inside of the 2013 Altima, it’s hard not to be impressed. The interior walks a fine line between luxury and sporty but pulls off the balance as well as many sports sedans that cost twice the money. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and is small in diameter offering a sporty touch. The gauge cluster in front of the drive features nicely lit readouts and a high resolution color information screen. The centre console of our SV level test car came with a “piano black” finish that would not look out of place on a $60,000 sedan. Not only is the interior nice to look at, the build quality is also one of the finest in the class. Our mid level SV test car came with dual zone automatic climate control, heated seats, remote start and a sunroof. For the safety minded a back up camera is also included. Unfortunately the screen is a little difficult to see making turning your head a better option in most situations.If the SV package does not have enough equipment for you, you can upgrade to the SL package. The SL package features a leather interior, heated steering wheel and an available navigation system that features a point of interest system powered by Google. Overall Nissan must be given credit for making the 2013 Altima one of the best dollar for dollar values around.On the road the 2013 Altima is great, there is no other way to put it. While cruising the cabin is quiet, and the ride is smooth. Put the transmission into sport mode and carve up the corners the Altima becomes lively, almost like a sport sedan. The steering has a very precise feel and the acceleration is smooth and comes on with minimal delay, especially for a 4 cylinder engine powering a larger car. The only complaint would be that the engine and transmission noise is a little annoying under even moderate acceleration. You only have one choice in transmissions, the CVT automatic. It features a sport mode and does a decent job of getting power to the wheels. There is no true manual setting for the transmission; you will have to get by with the sport mode if you feel the need for speed.The bottom line: The 2013 Nissan Altima represents value, quality and a commendable attention to detail.