2019 Honda Civic vs. 2019 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Altima’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes and rearview cameras.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Civic the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 2 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Altima:

 

 

Civic

Altima

 

FWD

2.0 4 cyl./Manual

25 city/36 hwy

n/a

 

 

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

28 city/39 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto S/SV/SL

 

 

n/a

27 city/37 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto SR/Platinum

 

1.5 Turbo/Auto

31 city/40 hwy

25 city/34 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto

 

Touring 1.5 Turbo/Auto

30 city/38 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

 

n/a

26 city/36 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto S/SV/SL

 

 

n/a

25 city/35 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto SR/Platinum

The Civic has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Altima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic stops much shorter than the Altima:

 

Civic

Altima

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Civic LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Altima S’ standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Altima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Civic Sport Hatchback handles at .93 G’s, while the Altima Platinum pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Civic LX/EX’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Altima S’ (35.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

The Honda Civic may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 pounds less than the Nissan Altima.

The Civic Sedan is 1 foot, 3 inches shorter than the Altima, making the Civic easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Civic Touring Sedan is quieter than the Altima Platinum (38 vs. 40 dB).

Passenger Space

The Civic Sedan has .1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and 2.2 inches more rear legroom than the Altima.

Ergonomics

The Civic’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Altima’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. The Altima SV/SL/Platinum’s rear windows don’t close automatically.

The Civic Touring’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Altima’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Both the Civic and the Altima offer available heated front seats. The Civic Touring Sedan/Sport Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Altima.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic comes in coupe, sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Altima isn’t available as a coupe or four door hatchback.

Economic Advantages

The Civic will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic will retain 44.1% to 46.81% of its original price after five years, while the Altima only retains 35.93% to 40.44%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic will be $5557 to $7973 less than for the Nissan Altima.

Recommendations

The Civic Sport was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Altima has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The Altima has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The Altima has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Nissan Altima by 57% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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