BUTTERFLIES AND THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE NISSAN ALTIMA
I have to admit, when I heard I was going to test drive a Nissan Altima this week, I went to the refrigerator to reheat some leftover meat and potatoes; plain and predictable was my first thought. Conversely, when I saw the 2013 Altima pull in to my driveway, I put the plate back in the fridge and whipped up some spicy chimichangas, as the 2013 3.5 SL conjured up a more festive journey.
Nissan has redesigned its Altima midsize sedan exterior with some new character lines, thereby providing a more aerodynamic profile, which in turn improved its gas mileage. The Nissan Altima, along with the Camry, Sonata and Accord, represents the basic sedan for its respective brand. These are the ones you buy because you can’t go wrong with comfort, reliability and price. However, once in a while a basic sedan stands out over the others, and that is what Nissan did with this 2013 Altima 3.5 SL.
They added some bling to the outside more chrome than my niece’s braces, some paddle shifters, glass moon roof, and side view mirrors that fold in for tight garage spaces or a misjudged ATM drive thru.
I took a road trip in the Altima to the Butterfly Wonderland
in Scottsdale, Arizona to experience the largest Butterfly Atrium in America. I am so glad I had the Altima to transport other adults and two children, both of whom needed carseats and a break from their parents.
With all the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) systems in cars I’ve driven I must say that the Altima system lets you secure LATCH compatible child restraints in the back seat without having to use seat belts or a locking clip. Securing the seats with such ease of handling as the temperature outside reached 112 degrees was a blessing.
I was able to test the agility and steering radius of the sedan the minute we approached the Butterfly Wonderland building because, unfortunately, the road ahead was closed. Traffic was being diverted to a dead end make-shift desert street where we needed to turn around and leave the area. We could see fire trucks from the road and people mulling outside in the parking lot. Cars ahead had to maneuver with two moves, going forward and reverse twice just to get out of the spot, but with the Altima, just one left turn movement on the wheel and we were back to the street.
Once the seven and eight year olds in the backseat stopped whining, complaining, and neck stretching to see the fire trucks as we departed, I took the Altima on the open road to test the 3.5 Liter, V6 CVT Engine with 270 horsepower…safely of course. Promising to return in an hour to see if they reopened, I played with the paddle shifters and appreciated the active understeer control I had read so much about. I pulled up the 7-inch “Nissan Connect” screen and proceeded to use all the technology to find out if we could see some butterflies that day. The answer was yes, so back we went; parked the car and were ready to enter their conservatory rain forest where we would learn about butterflies, fog up our glasses from the misters, and have some fun.
- Butterflies range in size from 1/8 inch to 12 inches
- The Nissan Altima ranges in price from $21,760 to $31,000
- Butterflies can see red, green and yellow
- The Altima comes in 8 different color choices (Storm Blue is my favorite)
- The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour, some moths can go 25mph
- This Altima gets 27 city and 38 Highway MPG with Xtronic CVT
- Many butterflies taste with their feet and cannot hear
- The Altima has 18-inch wheels and a Bose premium sound system that is magnificent Many butterflies can carry 50 times their own body weight
- The Altima’s cargo area is 15.4 cubic feet, one of the most spacious trunks in its class
- Butterflies have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies for protection
- Altima has side-impact and curtain air bags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection and more
I am not comparing the flight of the butterfly to the Altima but in many ways the evolution of a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly is how I see the Nissan Altima. Over twenty years I’ve witnessed a very plain generic sedan turn in to beautiful, well-appointed automobile.