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While you may initially desire a crossover utility vehicle—the darling of the U.S. market—some excellent sedans are utilitarian, economical, and often cheaper to buy than their crossover counterparts. The 2022 Nissan Altima and the 2022 Toyota Camry are excellent family sedans, but which is best for you?

Transmissions, engines, and fuel economy of the midsize sedans

When cross-shopping, the biggest differences tend to be the most noticeable. For example, the Toyota Camry offers a traditional eight-speed automatic on all non-hybrid trims, while every Nissan Altima comes equipped with a CVT. If not having real gears is a deal breaker for you, the Camry is your pick. 

Both the Camry and Altima have two available engines. Both base engines are naturally aspirated 2.5L inline-four options. The Camry produces 203 horsepower while the Altima makes 188 hp, reports Car Buying Strategies. Despite being slightly down on power, the Altima hits 60 mph just 0.1 seconds slower than the Camry. Interestingly, both achieve the same 28 city mpg and 39 highway mpg. 

The major differences between these sedans’ powertrains are found with the upgraded engines. If you’re in the market for a V6, the Camry is the only vehicle in its class and price range to offer one. The old-school naturally aspirated 3.5L pumps out an impressive 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, Nissan went in a different direction than Toyota with their upgraded engine. The Altima’s showpiece is the 2.0L variable compression turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine puts out 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to hustle to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. Again just 0.1 seconds slower than the much more powerful Camry V6, which hits 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. As for fuel economy, the Camry V6 can manage a respectable 22 city mpg and 33 highway mpg. The Altima’s more technologically advanced engine allows it to achieve a more economical 25 city mpg and 34 highway mpg. Both vehicles are offered with an AWD variant, which will lower those mpg figures. 

Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima: Features and space

A 2022 Toyota Camry XSE midsize sedan in Blueprint parked on a city rooftop
2022 Toyota Camry XSE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima can both be optioned with similar tech. Aside from the base Altima, both come standard with Apple Carplay and Android Auto on 7-inch touchscreens. The Camry’s higher trims can be equipped with a 9-inch screen, and the Altima has an 8-inch. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are available on both, but only the Camry can be optioned with ventilated seats, reports Car Buying Strategies. That said, the Altima does come equipped with “zero gravity” seats which are supposed to reduce fatigue on long road trips. The Camry beats out the Altima in rear-seat legroom but comes up just 0.3 cubic feet short of the Altima’s 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space. 

Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima: Safety and price

Though the Nissan Altima is a very safe vehicle, receiving a five-star rating overall from the NHTSA, it only received four stars for the frontal crash test. Typically, this would beat any competitor, but the Toyota Camry is one of the few vehicles to be awarded a perfect score from the NHTSA, reports Car Buying Strategies. Still, the IIHS gave both vehicles its Top Safety Pick+, so either midsize sedan would make an exceptional family hauler.

Despite being the more technologically advanced car, the Altima beats the Camry on price in just about every configuration. The Camry starts at $26,940, while the Altima starts at $25,995. It’s worth mentioning again that the base Altima is a bit barren, so opting for the SV is the way to go. Interestingly, the SV starts at $26,995, nearly identical to the base Camry LE. If you want the upgraded engine, the Camry will set you back $34,005. The TRD trim is the cheapest way to get the V6, the next cheapest being the XLE V6 which will cost you $36,815. Meanwhile, the Altima fitted with the VC-Turbo will only set you back $32,345.

A tough decision between the Camry and Altima

Ultimately, given the proven reliability of the Toyota Camry’s I4 and V6 powertrain and its stellar safety rating, the Camry is probably the best bet. Don’t discount the Nissan Altima, though, as its advanced engine and lower price make it a desirable option. It’s hard to go wrong either way. 

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