2020 Nissan Altima vs. Hyundai Sonata: The Better Choice For You Is Simple

If you’re turned off by the mega popularity of the Toyota Camry, you have plenty of other options in the midsize sedan class. The Nissan Altima is a crowd-pleasing alternative, and the Hyundai Sonata is appealing too. Here’s what you should consider between the Altima and Sonata.

How the 2020 Nissan Altima performs 

The Nissan Altima is one of the brand's best-selling sedans.
2020 Nissan Altima | Nissan

Nissan’s Altima is a respectable commuter car, especially if you value fuel efficiency. It has an EPA rating of up to 32 mpg overall, which is laudable for the class. We also appreciate the Altima for the comfort it provides.

You have two engines to choose from in the Altima; both paired to a continuously variable automatic. The base model has a 188-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s plenty capable. For more oomph, consider the turbocharged 248-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s available on the upper-level trims.  

Many reviewers have said that the turbo-four makes the Altima more fun to drive and that it has one of the best CVTs in today’s market. Another advantage the Altima has is that it’s available with all-wheel-drive. The Altima’s biggest drawback is that it lacks agility. 

How the 2020 Hyundai Sonata performs 

2020 Hyundai Sonata
2020 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai

Hyundai’s Sonata adds a little more flavor to the midsize sedan class. It has a bold, aggressive exterior and a chic cabin to match. But as far as performance goes, the Sonata isn’t for everyone.

The Sonata’s base engine is a 191-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to an eight-speed automatic. This option has an EPA rating of 32 mpg overall. Additionally, there’s also an available turbocharged 180-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder. But since the optional turbo-four is neither more powerful nor fuel-efficient, you might want to pass on this one. 

Like the Altima, the Sonata isn’t particularly agile. Some may also find the Sonata’s ride quality to be a tad firm. On a brighter note, the Sonata is composed and secure. You may also want to consider the hybridized version, which can return up to 52 mpg overall.

Comparing the Altima and Sonata on the inside 

Front seats of the standard Nissan Altima.
2020 Nissan Altima interior | Nissan

The Altima and the Sonata both have roomy interiors that accommodate five. The Altima has Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats, some of the most comfortable in the land. On the other hand, some say the Sonata’s seats could be more supportive.

Still, the Sonata has one of the most stylish looking cabins, while the Altima’s is more basic. The Sonata has more upholstery upgrades, including suede, faux leather, and genuine leather. The Altima only has leather as an upgrade. 

2020 Hyundai Sonata
2020 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai

These Hyundai Models Achieve 40 MPG or More

Both the Altima and the Sonata come with infotainment systems that include 8-inch touchscreens that have Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto connectivity. On top of its infotainment offerings, the Sonata also impresses with its long list of standard safety features. These include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. You have to upgrade for these features on the Altima. 

Which one should you pick?

There are few deals on the Altima and the Sonata now as this model year comes to a close. The suggested MSRP of a new 2020 Altima begins at $24,300, while the Sonata’s starts at $23,600. Both have distinct performance options; the Altima has optional AWD, the Sonata is available as a hybrid. If simplicity and comfort are your biggest priorities, the Altima is the better choice. For more standard tech and design options, go with the Sonata.