2021 Honda Accord vs. 2021 Nissan Altima: Which Is the Better Sedan?

Searching for an affordable, fuel-efficient, reliable sedan? You might’ve narrowed your picks to the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. Both vehicles offer similar space, features, and capabilities for about the same price. So which to choose? We compare and contrast to show you a clear winner.

An overview of the 2021 Honda Accord

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When people think of automakers with dependable, reliable cars that hold their value, Honda often comes to mind. The Accord has been around for decades, and many shoppers have opted to purchase it time after time for its practicality, style, and safety. The 2021 Honda Accord builds on everything that has made this model great, and it continues to do nearly everything well. In fact, U.S. News named it the winner of the best midsize car for families in 2021. 

From the outside, the 2021 Honda Accord is a decent-looking ride. It won’t take anyone’s breath away, but most people considering a $24,970 sedan aren’t overly concerned with appearances. Still, it’s a relatively good-looking car for the price. Perhaps the most noticeable exterior features are the modern, aggressive lines on the wheels. 

Inside, the 2021 Honda Accord boasts well-made materials that feel much more expensive than they are, especially in higher trims. Also, expect a vast array of infotainment features, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. More infotainment features are available with upgrades, including navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and HD Radio.  

As for performance, it’s hard to beat the 2021 Honda Accord for the price. The base model comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that can produce 192 hp. Or you can opt for a more athletic 2.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of 252 hp. However, one major drawback is the lack of an all-wheel-drive option, a real bummer if you wanted to combine the performance of all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine.

A look at the 2021 Nissan Altima

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If you want most of the same features as the 2021 Honda Accord but want to save a few hundred bucks, the 2021 Nissan Altima might be a good choice. It may not look as stylish as the Accord, and the interior quality may be a bit lackluster, but this is still an overall fine sedan. Starting at $24,350, the Altima provides a smooth, comfortable ride, and its safety features are comparable to its rival. 

The Altima’s biggest advantage over the Accord is that it offers all-wheel drive, perfect for harsh, wintery climates. With that and a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 248 hp, the Altima feels much more athletic and punchier than the Accord. The standard Altima packs a 188-hp, 2.5-liter engine, and the transmission feels less athletic than the Accord’s transmission. 

Interestingly, according to U.S. News, the biggest change to the 2021 Altima is that Nissan dropped Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from the standard features list. Usually, a new model year brings tons of additions, not subtractions, but here we are. 

So, which midsize sedan is the better buy?

Considering that a standard 2021 Honda Accord costs only about $600 more than the base-model 2021 Nissan Altima, the Accord is clearly the better buy. Not only do you get a better standard engine, higher-quality interior, and slightly more cargo space, but you also get features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that Nissan dropped from its base model. 

The only reason you might want to opt for an Altima is if all-wheel drive is your number-one priority in a sedan.