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2020 Nissan Altima Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Nissan Altima Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: S vs SR vs SV, SL & Platinum
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 Nissan Altima Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

In a market dominated by the SUV, a few midsize sedans have managed to stay relevant. The Nissan Altima is a perfect example. Coming in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive variations, this vehicle is viewed as a practical choice by many. You get 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is pretty good for this vehicle class. The Altima is spacious enough for a family and fuel-efficient enough to be a great daily commuter.

This vehicle has been around for a while. The sixth generation was introduced in 2019, and there were many changes to both the style and features. As a result, not too much changed in 2020. There are some popular safety aids available on more trim levels, however, which may up its appeal for some.

In 2020, you will have five trim levels to consider when checking out the Altima. The entry-level S is fairly basic but has enough tech and convenience to be appealing for some consumers. On the top of the line sits the Platinum, which adds some more luxury to the cabin of the Altima. In this guide, the differences between the trims are presented to help you determine which model may be right for you.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Altima S vs SR Trims. What is the difference?

All trims, to include the entry-level S, come with front-wheel-drive standard but can be upgraded to all-wheel-drive. Nissan uses what they call "Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive." This essentially means that the vehicle only sends power to the front two wheels unless it detects it needs more traction. This is done to help improve fuel efficiency while still giving you the capability associated with AWD.

Underneath the hood of the S is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that produces 188-horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque in FWD models. You lose a bit of power if you go with AWD. These models give you 182-horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Nissan has paired this with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

On the outside of the S, you will find 16" steel wheels. You get a few performance features, such as active grille shutters and a body-color rear diffuser. Lighting up your path are intelligent auto on and off halogen projector headlights. To give it some style, Nissan gave the Altima S a chrome V-motion grille, chrome door handles, and body-color power side mirrors.

Although the cabin is fairly basic, it does give you Nissan Intelligent Key with the push-button start feature. Another nice touch that is not typically seen on entry-level models is the remote start, which is standard on the S. You get cloth seats with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

As for infotainment, the screen is 8" and runs an easy to use system. This is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Siri Eyes Free. Those features, plus Bluetooth capability, means pretty much any smart device can connect to the 2020 Altima. If wireless isn't your thing, there is also an auxiliary jack. You get both two USB and two USB-C ports. With more and more devices using the USB-C, this is a nice touch that will keep the Altima current and not something you will find on many of its competitors.

When it comes to advanced safety, the S has a decent list of features. You get the increasingly common tire pressure monitoring system and rearview camera. The more impressive aids are the automatic emergency braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning. Unlike your average FCW feature, this "intelligent" system uses x-ray vision to monitor the car in front of the car in front of you. This potentially gives you more time to react to sudden stops in traffic. Those desiring this trim level but wanting more features can add blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear automatic braking, high beam assist, and lane departure warning for a bit more.

Let's say you decide to move up to the SR trim. This trim actually gives you another engine option. It is a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that bumps up your horsepower to 248 and torque to 280 lb-ft of torque. Keep in mind that this engine also bumps up your price tag by about four thousand dollars. It is also worth noting that this engine is only available with front-wheel-drive. It is paired with the same CVT as the other engine.

Being the most performance-orientated version of the Altima, this trim with the turbocharged engine gets a sports-tuned suspension. It also gets you paddle shifters with a manual shift mode. You also get electronic sequential multi-point fuel injection. This increases the responsiveness of the engine, making it capable of keeping up with any quick changes to speed you make when behind the wheel.

All of the optional safety features on the S become standard on the SR, which goes a long way toward justifying the price jump. Versions of the SR with the turbocharged 2.0L engine gain active noise cancellation. Other than that, tech and safety features are the same between these two trim levels.

There are some upgrades to the cabin of the SR. The turbocharged models get standard heated front seats and driver's seat lumbar support. These features become optional on non-turbocharged SR models. Regardless of the engine, you will get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob if you go with this trim.

Being the sportiest version of the Altima, this trim jumps all the way up to 19" aluminum-alloy wheels. It also gains LED headlights. This is also the only trim to feature a dark chrome grille rather than your average chrome. Whether or not you can really see a difference is debatable.

Turbocharged models get heated mirrors with turn signal integration and a power moonroof. Once again, these are optional features for the SR with the standard engine. Many people will be attracted to the SR over the S, particularly versions with the turbocharged engine, due to all of the standard features it gains.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Altima SR vs SV Trims.  What is the difference?

The first thing to keep in mind with the SV is that it is only available with the standard 2.5L engine. You actually go down in wheel size when moving up to the SV from the SR. This trim level sits on 17" aluminum-alloy wheels. It gets the same standard exterior features that the turbocharged SR does, namely the moonroof and heated side mirrors.

Inside the cabin, it keeps the driver's seat lumbar support and heated seats. It adds the stylish piano-black interior trim. It is a lot easier to keep cool inside the SV trim thanks to the dual-zone automatic climate control and the rear seat AC vents. This trim level also adds Intelligent Climate Control to its remote start feature. With this, the vehicle can get the interior to your desired temperature before you even step foot inside of it.

Perhaps the most significant gain from going with the SV is the addition of ProPilot Assist. This is essentially a combination of brake assist, lane centering, and speed control. It acts like other vehicle's lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Drivers can activate and deactivate it simply using a switch right on the steering wheel. ProPilot Assist is particularly useful for highway driving.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Altima SV vs SL.  What is the difference?

Going with the SL trim means taking a step toward a more luxurious version of the Altima. On the outside, the SV and the SL are identical. Inside the cabin, however, you will find the addition of leather seats. The passenger seat also gains four-way power adjustment.

The infotainment system gets some significant upgrades. You get Nissan's Door to Door Navigation system. This advanced system not only gives you driving directions, but can also give you walking directions on your phone if you end up having to park far from your final destination. You also get SiriusXM capabilities, including trial subscriptions for their traffic and travel service as well as satellite radio. You can control all of this with the voice recognition that is added by this trim.

Also added to the infotainment system are more features known as NissanConnect. They can work with either Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant to remotely control your Altima. People who often find themselves doubling back to reassure themselves they have locked their car will love this feature. Not only does it allow you to remotely lock or unlock your car, but it also allows you to start it or turn it off. Finding your car in a crowded parking lot will always be easy thanks to the horn honking/light flashing feature you can control with your smart device.

Your audio system gets a pretty nice upgrade if you go with the SL. Gone is the basic six-speaker system found in previous trims. Instead, you will find a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system.

Finally, the SL trim adds traffic sign recognition to its list of driver aids. This ensures that it always is displaying up-to-date information about speed limits on your commute. Although this trim does add a decent amount of features, many people may find they live without them.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Altima SL vs Platinum Trims. What is the difference?

The ultimate Altima is the Platinum. It once again offers you both engine choices. Yet again, the turbocharged engine can only be had with front-wheel-drive. This model does not have the same upgraded sports-tuned suspension that the SR does, however. With either engine, you are going back up to the 19" aluminum-alloy wheels. The other exterior upgrade involves the side mirrors, which gain a memory function.

The big upgrade when going with this trim level is the Intelligent Around View Monitor. This system uses four different cameras to give you a complete bird's eye view of your vehicle and what surrounds it. It will show you front, rear, or curbside split views to see on your screen. The view automatically changes when you go from reverse to drive, or vice versa.

Going inside of the Platinum trim, you will find accent lighting. Again, the turbocharged version adds the active noise cancellation. The driver's seat also gains a memory function. The price jump between the SL and Platinum might be the hardest to justify unless you really have your heart set on the multi-view parking camera.

Which Trim to Choose?

A decent case can be made for each of the trim levels of the 2020 Nissan Altima. Most people will likely want to skip over the base-level S and go right for the SR, however. In fact, the SR with the turbocharged 2.0 engine is probably your best bet. It has the performance and appearance of a sporty sedan yet still gives you most of the standard safety features. Those who live in places with extreme climates may want to consider the SL, simply because it adds touches like heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the Intelligent Climate Control.

The Altima SR with the turbocharged engine is a great buy for a wide variety of consumers.

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Compare the 2019 Nissan Altima Trim Levels