With just a few days left in the 2012 selling season, the motoring world’s marketing mavens are mining the sales data for new records and accomplishments, and the folks at Nissan turned up this nugget: Earlier this month, a 2013 Nissan Altima became the 4 millionth vehicle from the Altima family to find a home here in the U.S., while the nameplate also broke its annual sales record by selling its 284,762th unit. In fact, entering December with 278,968 deliveries, the Altima could very well break the 300,000-sales mark this year before all is said and done.
Now, a key to this success has been the 2013 Nissan Altima’s best-in-class EPA marks of 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway/31 mpg combined, but it’s surprising how little attention this fuel-efficiency performance has been getting, especially when you remember that the Altima rings up that line in its base trim (with a continuously variable transmission). The 2013 Ford Fusion, for all its many benefits, requires an optional, more expensive EcoBoost engine—and a manual transmission—to do its best fuel-economy work. And it’s a similar story with the brand-new 2013 Honda Accord, which gets its top EPA marks not with its standard transmission, a six-speed manual, but with an extra-cost continuously variable transmission (CVT) that adds another $800 to its bottom line.