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Tony O'Kane | Dec 15, 2011

Nissan's next-generation Altima has been spied undergoing testing in North America, previewing the car that will eventually take over from - or supplement - the Maxima as Nissan Australia's mid-size sedan.

Heavy camouflage obscures most of the details, but what we do know is that it will debut Nissan's new CVT transmission and will eventually be powered by a 2.5 litre supercharged four cylinder with an electric assistance motor.

Other powertrain options are likely to include the current model's 3.5 litre V6, as well as a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol.

Scheduled to debut in the first half of 2012 as a 2013 model, the new Altima will also feature an all-new platform, taking it away from the D-platform that underpins both the current Altima and the Australian-market Maxima.

Nissan Australia is expected to retire the current J32 Maxima to make way for the 2013 Altima, a car which would br priced lower than the Maxima yet still offer enough interior room and performance to rival the Toyota Camry.

The Maxima nameplate may not die off locally, however underwhelming sales of the J32 Maxima (sold as the Nissan Teana in its home market of Japan) is reportedly giving Nissan Australia little reason to hang onto it.

Replacing it with the US-market Maxima is also off the cards, due to the lack of a RHD model.

A local on-sale date for the 2013 Nissan Altima has yet to be announced.

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