2020 Nissan Altima vs Honda AccordCompare Cars
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Drivers in the market for a new family car will likely be considering the 2020 Honda Accord. It has remained a top-selling sedan for more than 25 years. Many people appreciate the new Accord’s spacious cabin and class-leading performance capabilities. Expect the range-topping Accord Touring to feel more like a premium luxury sedan.
The 2020 Nissan Altima is another great midsize sedan. Many car shoppers are attracted to its sharp styling. An optional AWD system also makes the Altima a highly recommended car for the winter. Meanwhile, its optional turbocharged engine is specially designed to offer a fine balance of performance and fuel economy. Of course, everyone will enjoy the Altima’s stress-relieving Zero Gravity seats. Let’s find out whether you should pick the 2020 Nissan Altima or the 2020 Honda Accord as your next vehicle.
The Nissan Altima’s base four-cylinder engine is a popular pick. Nissan rates it to churn out a more than respectable 188 horsepower. Drivers who need more excitement in their life should upgrade to the Altima’s VC-Turbo four-cylinder engine. It elevates performance by producing 236 horsepower.
The Accord also allows drivers to choose between two turbo four-cylinder engines. Honda tunes the base 1.5-liter engine to pump out 192 horsepower. Meanwhile, its larger 2.0-liter engine generates 252 horsepower.
All versions of the new Nissan Altima use a continuous variable transmission. While the Altima’s CVT works great, it’ll take a while for some drivers to get used to this gearless transmission. The Accord’s base engine is also paired with a CVT. However, a 10-speed automatic transmission is mated to its larger engine.
Be aware that only the Accord allows drivers to experience the fun of a traditional manual transmission. It gives the sedan an extremely sporty feel. The gear shifts are smooth and easy.
When equipped with their base engines, the Accord and Altima offer a similar level of performance. Drivers seeking the quickest possible acceleration will want the Accord’s upgraded engine. It enables the sedan to dash to 60 mph in a scorching 5.5 seconds. By comparison, testers have clocked the turbocharged Altima with a 0-60 mpg time of 6.1 seconds.
These cars rank among the segment’s most efficient. The 2020 Honda Accord can return up to an EPA-calculated 30 mpg town/38 mpg highway. Opting for the more potent engine drops efficiency to around 22 mpg town/32 mpg highway. Fuel economy estimates for the 2020 Nissan Altima stand at 28 mpg town/39 mpg highway. Meanwhile, its advanced turbocharged engine delivers 25 mpg town/34 mpg highway.
During wintry weather, the Nissan Altima holds a big advantage over the Honda Accord. It offers all-wheel drive as an option, which helps ensure more grip in the snow. Every new Accord features front-wheel drive.
In terms of handling, the new Altima can definitely hold its own. It feels far nimbler than the previous-generation Altima. A sports-tuned suspension gives the SR trim an especially athletic feel. However, drivers can expect the Accord to offer even better handling. Honda equips the Accord Touring with adaptive suspension dampers, which further enhances body control on twisty roads.
The Accord has an outstanding braking system. Drivers can always trust the Accord to stop quickly during emergencies. When traveling at 60 mph, tests show the Accord takes around 122 feet to come to a complete stop. Expect the Altima’s brakes to be even stronger. During 60-0 mph braking tests, the Altima needed only 116 feet to come to a halt.
In the past, the Honda Accord was one of the most dependable cars on the road. Unfortunately, reliability has plummeted in recent years. J.D. Power’s dependability study gives the latest Accord a 2.5 out of 5.0 rating. This is considered to be a below-average score. The Altima receives an average dependability rating of 3.0 out of 5.0.
Like most cars in the class, the Altima and the Accord receive a 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Owners will also enjoy 60,000 miles of powertrain protection.
According to car reviewers, the 2020 Honda Accord has an excellent ride quality. While the Accord’s available 19-inch wheels bring a sportier stance, they also result in a harder ride. Drivers will find the 2020 Nissan Altima to have a well-cushioned ride as well. However, buyers seeking a supple highway ride should avoid the Altima SR’s sports-tuned suspension. It’s stiffer shocks cause passengers to feel more bumps on the road.
The new Altima gets high marks for its quietness. Families will enjoy how hushed the Altima’s cabin remains when driving around town. Drivers will also find the Accord to be mostly quiet. However, it does produce more tire and road noise.
Both cars give families enough space to unwind. This is good news for drivers who have growing kids. Up to five people can travel together.
However, the Accord’s backseat is more suitable for adults and teenagers. When sitting in the Accord’s rear seat, passengers will have an extra 5.2 inches to stretch their legs. Tall basketball players will certainly find the back of the Altima to be a bit cramped. On the bright side, the Altima does provide an extra 1.5 inches of legroom in the front. This could be a plus for taller drivers.
The Accord’s seats are comfortable to sit in. They are wide and supportive. However, Nissan’s Zero Gravity front seats are especially relaxing. These seats were engineered to keep the spine in the correct anatomical position, which alleviates back discomfort. Even after several hours of being on the road, the Altima’s seats still feel great.
Keep in mind that only the Accord offers cooled front seats. Some drivers will miss not having cooled seats during the summer. While Altima buyers will have access to front-seat heating, heated rear seats are absent on the sedan’s list of options.
Many drivers will enjoy the Altima’s standard flat-bottom steering. It gives the car a sportier feel. Car shoppers won’t find this feature on the new Accord.
The edge in storage space goes to the 2020 Honda Accord. Its trunk gives families 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space for groceries and travel bags. By comparison, there’s 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the Altima’s trunk.
In terms of outward visibility, the Honda Accord is fairly easy to see out of. However, its sloping windshield pillars can block the driver’s view at times. While the Altima provides an excellent view of the road ahead, some reviewers have complained about the sedan’s rear visibility. This problem can be attributed to the Altima’s high rear decklid.
The Nissan Altima has always been designed with simple interior controls. This fact remains true for the 2020 model. Its climate control system and infotainment unit are both easy to operate. Drivers will find the Accord’s infotainment system to be almost as user-friendly.
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The 2020 Honda Accord received flawless scores during every crash test performed by the NHTSA. It managed to take home the federal government’s highly coveted, five-star overall safety rating. While the Nissan Altima was also given a five-star overall safety rating, it did not receive a perfect score in every impact test.
Both cars were named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. While their crash scores were great, they were not able to receive the organization's best headlight rating.
Like the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima comes standard with automatic emergency braking and a backup camera. However, a few more standard accident-avoidance technologies are found on the Accord. Even the base Accord receives lane keeping assist, smart cruise, and road departure mitigation.
One feature not offered on the 2020 Accord is rear automatic braking. When backing up in busy areas, the Altima’s available rear automatic braking system will make an accident less likely to occur. A 360-degree parking camera is another one of the Altima’s exclusive options. Parents will be thankful for Nissan’s Rear Door Alert feature, which prevents children and dogs from being left behind in a hot vehicle.
While the Accord provides smart cruise control, it’s not as advanced as Nissan’s ProPilot Assist technology. This system combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist, thus helping to deliver a more relaxing drive.
What Has the Best Value?
Nissan has given the 2020 Altima a starting MSRP of $24,100. Meanwhile, the 2020 Accord begins at $23,870. This is an insignificant difference in cost.
Both cars come equipped with some highly sought-after features. However, a few more goodies are standard on the new Altima. Only the Altima receives standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone support. While the Accord receives a 7.0-inch infotainment display, the Altima comes equipped with a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen. Drivers will also be appreciative of the Altima’s remote start system, which allows them to pre-warm the cabin on cold days.
The Altima Platinum is the top trim in the Altima’s lineup. It competes against the range-topping Accord Touring. While the Altima Platinum retails for around $32,825, Honda has priced the Accord Touring at $36,100. Both cars receive premium upgrades like a stronger sound system, upgraded upholstery, and navigation. However, only the Accord provides cooled front seats and a head-up display.
Which is Better?
Car shoppers will have to think hard before choosing between the 2020 Nissan Altima and the 2020 Honda Accord. For good reason, these two midsize sedans have remained best sellers for a number of years. Because they are so close in price, cost doesn't prove to be a huge factor.
When it comes to overall driving enjoyment, the Honda Accord is a step ahead of the Nissan Altima. This is especially true for the lightning-quick Accord 2.0T. However, Nissan’s new VC-Turbo engine enables the Altima to deliver better fuel economy for just a small compromise in performance. Both cars handle well for a five-passenger family sedan.
Folks who live in an area that gets a lot of snowfall will prefer the Altima. In contrast to the Honda Accord, it offers all-wheel drive. The enhanced traction will enable drivers to overcome challenging weather conditions.
Most people like the look of the new Accord. However, the Altima may be an even more attractive car. Nissan’s bold V-Motion grille helps the Altima to stand out from the typical family sedan. Altima models equipped with 19-inch wheels look even sportier.
Although the new Altima may have some great qualities, it loses this head-to-head comparison. The 2020 Honda Accord outclasses the Altima in some key categories. Families will especially appreciate the Accord's far more spacious backseat. Very few people will complain about the Accord not having enough legroom. Plenty of luxurious features are also available for the Accord, including heated/ventilated seats and an adaptive suspension.
Car shoppers who ultimately decide to choose the Altima won’t be disappointed either. It’s a stylish family sedan that offers a lot of safety tech.