2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Avalon has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Altima doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Avalon and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Avalon its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Avalon for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Altima.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 113 more horsepower (301 vs. 188) and 87 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 180) than the Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 53 more horsepower (301 vs. 248) than the Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Nissan Altima 2.5:

 

Avalon

Altima

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

90.2 MPH

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Avalon’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Altima:

 

Avalon

Altima

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

11.06 inches

11.02 inches

The Avalon stops shorter than the Altima:

 

Avalon

Altima

 

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Avalon XLE’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.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Altima S.

Suspension and Handling

The Avalon offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Altima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Altima (113 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Altima SV AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Avalon has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Altima (104.3 vs. 100.8).

The Avalon has 1.1 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 5.1 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Altima.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon has a larger trunk than the Altima (16.1 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Avalon’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Altima’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Servicing Ease

The Avalon uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Altima uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the Altima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Avalon is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Altima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Avalon’s front and rear power windows all 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. With the Altima SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The Avalon Limited’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.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Avalon’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Altima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Avalon Limited/Touring has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Altima doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Avalon Limited/Touring also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Avalon’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan charges extra for heated mirrors on the Altima.

When the Avalon Limited/Touring is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Altima’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Avalon Limited/XSE/Touring has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Altima offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Avalon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Altima, and aren’t available on the Altima S. The Avalon Limited/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.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Avalon Limited/Touring keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Altima doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Avalon has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Altima SV/SL/Platinum.

Both the Avalon and the Altima offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Avalon has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Altima doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $610 less than the Altima over a five-year period.

The Avalon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Avalon will retain 47.15% to 48.78% of its original price after five years, while the Altima only retains 35.93% to 40.44%.

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

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