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2020 Nissan Altima: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 10/23/2020 U.S. News & World Report
a red car: 2020 Nissan Altima © Nissan North America, Inc. 2020 Nissan Altima

The 2020 Nissan Altima ranks in the bottom half of the midsize car class. It has a spacious, comfortable interior and strong engine options, but it's overshadowed by rivals with spiffier cabins and better handling composure.

The 2020 Nissan Altima is ranked:

Is the Nissan Altima a Good Car?

Yes, the 2020 Nissan Altima is a good midsize car. It's a great commuter car that has two capable engine options, great fuel economy estimates, and a gentle ride. Its seats are highly comfortable too. However, some of its rivals are roomier and feel more engaging from behind the wheel.

Should I Buy the Nissan Altima?

The Altima is a respectable vehicle, but there are better choices in this class. The Toyota Camry has a top-notch safety score and an upscale cabin, and the Honda Accord is both sportier and more fuel-efficient than the Altima.

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Altima?

Nissan redesigned the Altima for the 2019 model year. The 2020 sedan saw few major updates, so you may be able to save money with a similar 2019 Altima, which will likely cost less.

You could save even more money with a previous-generation Altima. However, you’d miss out on major updates, including added standard features – such as a larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto – and an available fuel-efficient turbocharged engine that replaced the optional V6 (25/34 mpg compared to 22/32 mpg) in older models.

If you’re interested in a used model, be sure to read our 2017 Altima, 2018 Altima, and 2019 Altima reviews to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Nissan Altima in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 26 automotive sources. This Nissan Altima review incorporates applicable research for all vehicles in this generation, which includes the 2019 and 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Nissan Altima Cost?

The MSRP of a base 2020 Nissan Altima starts at $24,100, which is in line with the retail prices of many rivals. The top trim Altima Platinum has a starting price of $32,180.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Altima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry is one of the best midsize cars you can buy. It’s one of the few sedans in the class to rival the Altima in fuel efficiency. The Toyota has a potent V6 engine option that overpowers anything the Nissan offers, and the Camry has more standard safety features and nicer cabin materials. It has a stellar safety score too. The Altima has a bit more room for cargo, but that’s not enough for us to recommend it over the Camry.

Which Is Better: Nissan Altima or Honda Accord?

The Honda Accord is another great choice. Compared to the Altima, the Accord has a larger trunk, more space for passengers, and livelier handling. It also has higher-quality cabin materials and a longer list of standard driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control. Both vehicles have similar starting prices, but in this side-by-side comparison, the Honda comes out ahead.

Altima Interior

How Many People Does the Altima Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this Nissan. An eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and cloth upholstery come standard. Available upgrades include leather upholstery, sport seats, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Adults have enough room to sit comfortably in both the front and back rows. The Altima’s seats are some of the most comfortable in the class.

Altima and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the Altima’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system its top rating of Good for ease of use. The anchors are easy to find and can’t be confused with other hardware.

Altima Interior Quality

The Altima’s modern cabin has a sleek and clean design, though some critics noted that rivals have more upscale materials.

Altima Cargo Space

The Nissan Altima has a 15.4-cubic-foot trunk, which is about average for the midsize car class.

Altima Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The base Altima features the NissanConnect infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and Siri Eyes Free. Navigation is available, as are HD Radio and a nine-speaker premium Bose stereo.

The convenient touch screen and large physical controls help make the infotainment system user-friendly.

Altima Performance

Altima Engine: From Good to Better

The Altima comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. The SR and Platinum trims can be had with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The base engine has more than enough power for everyday driving, and the turbocharged variant packs a little extra punch. The CVT operates smoothly and, unlike most CVTs, doesn’t cause the engine to drone.

Altima Gas Mileage: Stellar

The base Altima gets fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Those are phenomenal figures for a midsize sedan. The turbocharged engine lowers this vehicle’s EPA estimates to 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

Altima Ride and Handling: Comfort over Agility

This Nissan rides smoothly over most roads. It’s not as athletic as some rivals, but it tackles turns with confidence. The SR trim’s suspension is firmer and helps it feel a bit sportier than the rest of the lineup. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available.

Altima Reliability

Is the Nissan Altima Reliable?

The 2020 Nissan Altima has an average predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Nissan Altima Warranty

The Altima is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Nissan Altima?

The cost of insuring a Nissan Altima will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Altima Safety

Altima Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2020 Altima a Top Safety Pick. It earned the top rating of Good in all six crash tests. The Altima’s headlights received the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale to evaluate collision avoidance features. It gave this Nissan the highest rating of Superior for its standard and available vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems and the midlevel rating of Advanced for its available vehicle-to-pedestrian system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Altima an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It earned five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash evaluation.

Altima Safety Features

This Nissan’s standard safety features include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera.

More driver assistance features are available, such as pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a surround-view parking camera system, traffic sign recognition, and reverse automatic emergency braking.

Nissan Altima Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 Altima is about 16.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,208 to 3,461 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Nissan Altima Built?

Nissan builds the 2020 Altima in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Which Nissan Altima Model Is Right for Me?

Nissan offers the Altima in five trim levels: S, SR, SV, SL, and Platinum. Every trim comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 188 horsepower. But for the peppiest performance, go with the Altima SR and Altima Platinum, which are available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 248 horsepower. These models also come with more safety features.

All-wheel drive is available throughout the lineup for about $1,350, but it is not available in models with the turbocharged engine.

Nissan Altima S

The base 2020 Nissan Altima S has a starting MSRP of $24,100. It comes with the NissanConnect infotainment system, an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, remote start, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and forward automatic emergency braking.

A Driver Assist package is available for $890. It comes with all the safety features that are standard in the SR trim.

Nissan Altima SR

The Altima SR retails for $25,700. It adds reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, automatic high-beam headlights, and pedestrian detection. It also has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and models with front-wheel drive get a sport-tuned suspension.

You can equip this trim with the turbocharged engine for around $4,050. Other options include the SR Premium package, which adds a moonroof and heated front seats for roughly $1,050.

Nissan Altima SV

SV models have a starting MSRP of $27,880. The SV picks up a following distance indicator, forward automatic emergency braking, a lane centering feature, and ProPilot Assist, which essentially works like adaptive cruise control. It can steer, accelerate, and brake the Altima under certain conditions. The SV also has the contents of the Premium package, in addition to dual-zone automatic climate control.

Nissan Altima SL

With a starting MSRP of $30,240, the SL trim gains navigation, HD Radio, a nine-speaker Bose stereo, traffic sign recognition, and leather-appointed seats.

Nissan Altima Platinum

Retailing for $32,180, the Platinum is the top-of-the-line Altima. It adds a surround-view parking camera system. Like the SR, the Platinum trim can be had with the turbo-four engine, though that costs an additional $3,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

The Final Call

The 2020 Nissan Altima is a good midsize car. It makes a great commuter car or family vehicle, with its roomy cabin, comfortable seats, and gentle ride. It also touts robust engines and good fuel economy. Nonetheless, this is a highly competitive class, and it’s worth doing some comparison shopping before heading to your local Nissan dealership.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2020 Nissan Altima review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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