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Does the Nissan Altima Have What It Takes to Compete With the Honda Accord?

Those in the market for a midsize sedan may have narrowed the search down to the Nissan Altima and Honda Accord. While there are certainly loyalists on both sides of the fence, there’s plenty to consider for others still weighing their options. Touring the key features and updates of each should help level the playing field in making a decision between these two competitors.

The Nissan Altima

With a complete redesign in 2019, the 2020 Altima still offers a few updates. Previously outfitted with standard automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning, its entry-level S and SR models now come equipped with driver-assist technology.

The 2020 Nissan Altima models also offer high-beam assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Moving up the trim package ladder, glossy black interior accents are additional options beginning with the SV models. The Platinum package offers side-view mirror memory functions.

In the performance department, the Altima’s standard package arrives with front-wheel drive and a 188-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine completed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Its options include all-wheel-drive capability for the 2.5-liter engine and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder 248-hp turbocharged engine that’s also equipped with a CVT.

The 2020 Altima continues with Nissan’s advanced technology features standard on all models, including Nissan Intelligent Mobility as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Honda Accord

The Honda Accord continues with its award-winning presence in the midsize sedan scene right into the 2020 model year. Although its current selections remain unchanged from their 2018 makeover, it maintains its position on Car and Driver‘s Top 10 list for a number of reasons.

The 2020 Accord offers three powertrain options. Its EX, EX-L, and Touring models provide the hybrid selection and its accompanying powertrain. Its two gas engine options are equipped with either a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The LX, EX, and EX-L models come standard with a 192-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Honda completes the 1.5-liter Sport model with the six-speed manual transmission. The Touring’s standard 252-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder 10-speed automatic is an option on the EX-L as well as the Sport’s six-speed manual transmission.

The Honda Sensing features complete with such driver-assist features as road departure and collision mitigation, a back-up camera, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control remain standard across all trim levels.

In the technology department, the LX is the only trim without touchscreen capability. Its 7-inch screen offers one USB port. Its other models are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen offering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms. With the exception of the Sport trim, which provides a single USB port, the remaining models provide two ports.

The Nissan Altima vs. the Honda Accord

So, all things being equal, the original question remains: Does the Nissan Altima have what it takes to compete with the Honda Accord?

The Nissan Altima pulls out ahead in the nose-to-nose price race simply because all of its models are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen and because of the Apple Car-Play and Android Auto compatibility compared to that missing advantage in the Accord’s base model.

The Honda Accord, on the other hand, maintains a slight edge in the reliability factor. It also comes out ahead with 1.3 cubic feet more cargo space than the Altima.

As far as comfort, both models run a dead heat, and it really depends on personal preference. While the Altima’s interior offers a lighter, softer interior with its Zero Gravity front seats, the Accord’s rear-seat legroom adds another 5.2 inches over the Altima.

The Accord’s performance is hardier from the starting position; however, once the Altima levels out, it offers a smooth, consistent ride. The Altima also provides the all-wheel-drive option that the Accord lacks.

Each model offers competitive perks, The Honda Accord, for example, has more color choices, but they both provide comparable safety features. It really boils down to a matter of personal preference on this debate.