2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The TLX V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Altima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the TLX and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The TLX comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Altima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Altima. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Altima ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 1 place higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. produces 18 more horsepower (206 vs. 188) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (182 vs. 180) than the Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl. The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 42 more horsepower (290 vs. 248) than the Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura TLX 4-cyl. is faster than the Nissan Altima 4-cyl.:

TLX

Altima

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.1 MPH

90.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The Altima doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The TLX has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Altima (17.2 vs. 16.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The TLX 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

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

TLX

Altima

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.02 inches

Opt Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the TLX has larger standard tires than the Altima (225/55R17 vs. 215/60R16). The TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Altima (245/40R19 vs. 235/40R19).

The TLX’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 TLX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Altima S.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the TLX V6 SH-AWD is quieter than the Altima Platinum:

TLX

Altima

At idle

39 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

74 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

The TLX has .6 inches more front hip room and .4 inches more rear hip room than the Altima.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the TLX’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Altima’s useful trunk space.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The Altima’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

The TLX 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 34% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The TLX’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 TLX’s optional 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 TLX’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 TLX 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 TLX V6 offers optional 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 TLX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Altima, and aren’t available on the Altima S. The TLX Advance 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 TLX Advance/V6 A-Spec 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 TLX 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 TLX and the Altima offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the TLX 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 TLX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the TLX will cost $165 less than the Altima over a five-year period.

The TLX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TLX will retain 48.4% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the Altima only retains 35.93% to 40.44%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TLX is less expensive to operate than the Altima because it costs $19 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the TLX than the Altima, including $36 less for front brake pads and $234 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Nissan Altima isn't recommended.

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

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