2020 Nissan Altima vs 2020 Honda Accord
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2020 Nissan Altima vs 2020 Honda Accord

By Autolist Staff | September 9 2020

2020 Nissan Altima

2020 Honda Accord

Our User's Take

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2020 Nissan Altima score: 7/10

Highlights:
  • Spacious interior.
  • It can be packed with new tech and safety features.
  • Capable available all-wheel-drive that many rivals don’t offer.
  • Handsome styling.

2020 Honda Accord score: 7.1/10

Highlights:
  • Standard Honda Sensing offers crash mitigation and avoidance technology, coupled with the Accord’s excellent overall safety ratings.
  • Legroom and cargo room are plentiful and class-leading.
  • The choice of three powertrains (base turbo, stronger turbo, hybrid) gives the Accord the flexibility to cater to a wide range of customers.
  • Interior material quality is excellent.

How they stack up:

Safety Features:

Nissan Altima: 8/10

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Nissan Altima with a Top Safety Pick designation for 2020, the agency’s second-highest rating. That award includes ‘Good’ ratings in all crashworthiness categories, ‘Superior’ ratings for the car’s front crash prevention systems, a ‘Good’ rating for LATCH system ease of use. The Altima’s headlights were rated either ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Marginal,’ depending on the trim.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Altima five out of five stars overall. That rating includes a four-star overall score in front crash tests, five stars in overall side crash tests, and five stars for rollover prevention.

  • Available safety equipment includes Nissan Safety Shield 360, which brings automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warnings, lane-departure warnings, high-beam assist, rear cross-traffic alerts, and rear automatic emergency braking.

Honda Accord: 7/10

  • The Accord’s overall design has been planned with safety in mind. Not only has The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2020 Accord a Top Safety Pick (its second-highest designation), but the National Highway Transportation Administration has also awarded the Accord with a 5-star overall safety rating.

  • Safety technology also plays an important role in the Accord’s design. It comes with a robust set of standard crash mitigation and avoidance technology such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high-beam headlights as standard.

  • Stepping up to a higher trim level provides the ability to add blind-spot monitoring to the standard Honda Sensing suite even though this feature is becoming more ubiquitously offered as standard on several competing models.

Value:

Nissan Altima: 6/10

  • The Altima starts at $25,225 after a $925 destination fee. That’s around the same amount that buyers pay for an entry-level Camry, but the Toyota includes its package of advanced safety features as standard equipment.

  • Buying the base S trim Altima with all-wheel drive adds back the advanced safety features that it’s missing otherwise. All-wheel-drive is a $1,350 option for most trims, so the added benefit of safety features is a welcome bonus.

  • The Altima S comes with a long list of standard entertainment features that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio, and SiriusXM radio.

  • The top Platinum VC-Turbo comes close to $40,000. That’s a steep price for a car that isn’t available with all-wheel-drive. The VC-Turbo engine is trick technology, but there’s not enough of an efficiency or power benefit to justify its extra cost.

Honda Accord: 8/10

  • The 2020 Honda Accord provides buyers with quite a bit of vehicle for the money. It’s a flexible choice that can cater to those who want to spend less but still get more vehicle than smaller cars offer, and it can also cater to those who want a well-equipped vehicle that offers many luxury-brand amenities.

  • The Accord outshines many competitors in top-of-the-line features, safety, and practicality with all but the two highest trim levels starting at under $30,000.

  • The Accord’s wide range of multiple engine options and the car’s driving dynamics also enhance its ability to provide value to a wide range of consumers. A hybrid engine option is great for those looking to stray from the ubiquitous Toyota Camry or newly-redesigned Hyundai Sonata, both of which return better fuel efficiency numbers but also have a higher starting MSRP. A six-speed manual transmission is available on Sport models, enhancing its value proposition even further.

Efficiency:

Nissan Altima: 6/10

  • When equipped with the 2.5-liter engine and front-wheel drive, the Altima is rated at 28/39/32 mpg city/hwy/combined. The SR and Platinum trims are rated at 27/37/31 mpg.

  • With all-wheel drive, the Altima is rated at 26/36/30 mpg, and the SR/Platinum trims are rated at 25/35/29 mpg.

  • The 2.0-liter turbo engine returns fuel economy of 25/34/29 mpg city/hwy/combined.

  • With no hybrid or plug-in hybrid model available, the Altima is left to its gas powertrains to deliver great fuel economy. They perform decently, but the Altima lags its most important competition, the Accord and Camry, in overall fuel economy.

Honda Accord: 6/10

  • Within the highly-competitive midsize sedan segment, the Honda Accord is generally on par with the competition. It hangs with its top competitors without outshining anybody. The Toyota Camry is the only competitor to return higher EPA numbers when equipped with its base 1.5-liter engine. While the 1.5-liter base engine does well for itself, Honda also offers a 2.0-liter engine offering, which returns lower fuel efficiency numbers while still being competitive.

  • The Accord cannot outshine the Toyota Camry Hybrid or the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in terms of technical efficiency numbers, but it is less expensive than both competitors, and still, other competitors like the Mazda6 and Passat are not offered with a hybrid engine option at all.

Driving Experience:

Nissan Altima: 6/10

  • Nobody will be winning any drag races in the 2020 Altima, but it’s nimble and peppy enough to make a competent urban and highway cruiser. All-wheel-drive slows the car down a bit, pushing it well past the eight-second mark for 0-60 mph, but cars in this segment aren’t meant to be fast.

  • Nissan does CVTs as well as anybody, which just shows how a decades-long, multi-million dollar R&D effort can benefit a vehicle. It’s smooth and well-matched for both engines and takes almost all thought out of the car’s drive.

  • It might not be fast or super sporty, but the Altima’s ride quality would have you thinking you’re in a more aggressively-tuned car. Small bumps give it trouble and can cause it to feel busy and unsettled, while larger bumps crash and bang their way through the car’s otherwise excellent sound deadening. That said, the Altima handles the corners well and makes a competent companion for curvy roads.

Honda Accord: 7/10

  • Balance and flexibility remain the main ingredients for the 2020 Honda Accord. Its generally considered a more engaging driving experience than rivals like the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, but the ride is also comfortable under normal driving conditions.

  • Sport versions of the Accord are reported to give a bit more stiffness and cornering ability because of the suspension setup, and the option of a manual transmission is surprising, and perhaps a refreshing offering for enthusiastic drivers in today’s market.

  • The base 1.5-liter engine produces a class-average 192 horsepower, the hybrid option produces 212 horsepower combined, and the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine provides much more get-up-and-go with 252 horsepower. The standard continuously variable transmission, optional six-speed manual, or ten-speed automatic on the top trim level gives buyers a good amount of options to create their own overall driving feel and somewhat personalized driving dynamics

Tech Features:

Nissan Altima: 8/10

  • Standard features such as a large 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a six-speaker sound system make the Altima a tech-lover’s car. Nissan’s infotainment system is fairly easy to use, but some menus and controls are buried and require too much thought to use while the vehicle is in motion.

  • Some features like navigation and a premium audio system are only available when the buyer steps up to higher trims, which add a significant premium to the Altima’s bottom line.

  • Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six-speaker audio, hands-free text messaging, auxiliary audio inputs, two USB ports, two USB-C ports, and SiriusXM Radio with a three-month trial.

  • Available features include an advanced driver-assist display, active noise cancellation, a Bose nine-speaker premium audio system, door-to-door navigation, NissanConnect services from SiriusXM, voice recognition, and HD radio.

Honda Accord: 5/10

  • The Accord competes well within the class when it comes to infotainment and technology features, but it does fall behind the best competitors, especially in terms of infotainment. The biggest of Accord’s downfalls is that neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto comes standard, even though many competitors offer at least one on their base models. The general infotainment system is much improved overall compared to past years, but it still can’t topple the best-in-class infotainment systems.

  • Other overall technology features offered on the Accord remain adequate compared to the competition. Navigation and Wi-Fi are both optional, while niceties like dual-zone climate control, a seven-inch touchscreen, and push-button start all come standard. The Accord’s technology offerings shine much more brightly with its standard crash mitigation and avoidance systems such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist systems.

Style & Design:

Nissan Altima: 8/10

  • The 2019 redesign brought far sharper styling to the Altima that aligned it more closely with the rest of Nissan’s lineup. The “V” grille and strong lines make the Altima look much more aggressive and sportier.

  • The Altima’s cabin is simple, but all controls, buttons, and screens are easy to see and use. They’re also placed close to the driver and front passenger to allow better access.

  • Nissan has been a leader in seat comfort for a while, and the Altima continues that legacy. The front seats are soft and supportive, though tall drivers may wish for more leg and thigh support.

  • Entering and exiting the Altima is easy, thanks to large door openings and a low ride height. The seats give just enough of a boost when getting in and out to help the process. People with children will enjoy the convenience of being able to load and unload car seats without banging heads on the roof.

  • The Altima’s cabin is quiet and calm, though the sporty ride quality can interrupt that tranquility with constant jitters and small bumps. In these situations, the ride seems to be unsettled and noisy, and the noise can become truly distracting over time.

Honda Accord: 8/10

  • With the Accord’s redesign in 2018, Honda set out to make a more boldly-styled Accord than in previous generations, and they have succeeded. The Accord’s stylish body lines mimic higher-end modern vehicles with its coupe-like, sloped roofline, but the essence of its Honda bloodline is unmistakably consistent with its current design language.

  • The Accord’s interior is also handsomely styled but is not as striking or aggressive as its exterior design. High-quality materials are present throughout the cabin, and reviewers are greeted with a clean, simple, and upscale layout. Though it is not superiorly-styled, most reviewers agree that it is one of the better interiors in the class.

Practicality:

Nissan Altima: 7/10

  • The Altima’s trunk space lags behind some of its competition, but it at least has an opening that is square and wide, making it easy to load.

  • The car comes standard with folding rear seats that greatly improve trunk storage, but unfortunately, the seats can only be folded with a pull tab located deep inside the trunk.

  • Inside, the Altima’s cabin has plenty of small-item storage in the front. Rear passengers don’t have the same benefit. The front cupholders are far too shallow to hold larger drinks.

  • The Altima’s interior is plain but usable, though outward visibility can be a problem. The car’s large windows are obstructed to the rear by large pillars that create unnecessary blind spots.

Honda Accord: 9/10

  • Honda’s greater emphasis on style for the current generation Accord has not had too great an impact on the original intent of the car: affordable practicality. It offers more interior legroom and cargo capacity than nearly every competitor in the segment. Reviewers find that the sloping roofline compromises headroom more than boxier vehicles in the segment, but the Toyota Camry is the only rival to best the Accord for legroom.

  • The Accord’s overall packaging of safety, engine options, fuel efficiency, and comfortable ride make it a compelling choice for anybody who needs one of the best all-around vehicles on the market. Despite its lack of an all-wheel-drive option – an increasingly popular feature in the midsize sedan segment – the Accord remains at the top of its class in its overall utility and practicality.

Cost of Ownership

2020 Nissan Altima

2020 Honda Accord

Annual Fuel Costs

$1,129
15k miles at $2.183/gal
$1,259
15k miles at $2.183/gal
Fuel Economy

25 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
22 mpg (miles per gallon)
City
34 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway
32 mpg (miles per gallon)
Highway

Safety

2020 Nissan Altima

2020 Honda Accord

NHTSA Crash Test Results

Overall
Overall
Safety Features

Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Autonomous Braking
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Blind-Spot Warnings
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Adaptive Cruise Control
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Lane-Keep Assist
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert
Standard
Cross-Traffic Alert

Interior

2020 Nissan Altima

2020 Honda Accord

Interior Features

Standard
Leather
Standard
Leather
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Moonroof
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Heated Seats
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Keyless Entry
Standard
Climate Control
Standard
Climate Control
Technology

Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Apple Carplay
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Android Auto
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Satellite Radio
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Bluetooth
Standard
Navigation System
Standard
Navigation System

Under the Hood

2020 Nissan Altima

2020 Honda Accord

Powertrain

Transmission
Transmission
FWD
Drivetrain
FWD
Drivetrain
Drivetrain

N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Horsepower
N/A
Torque
N/A
Torque
N/A
Cylinders
N/A
Cylinders