2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2020 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Fusion and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear 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, driver alert monitors and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Altima isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Fusion Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Nissan Altima 4 cyl.:

Fusion

Altima

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.6 MPH

90.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Fusion AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Altima FWD’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 16.2 gallons).

The Fusion 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 Fusion’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Altima:

Fusion

Altima

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.02 inches

Opt Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

The Fusion stops shorter than the Altima:

Fusion

Altima

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

131 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Fusion’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 Fusion Titanium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Altima SV AWD (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Fusion has .5 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more rear headroom and 3.1 inches more rear legroom than the Altima.

Cargo Capacity

The Fusion has a larger trunk than the Altima (16 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Fusion’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.

Towing

The Fusion has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Altima has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Fusion’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Altima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Fusion and the Altima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Fusion 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 Fusion’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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Altima doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Altima doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Fusion’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. 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 Fusion SEL/Titanium 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.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Fusion Titanium 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 Fusion (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Altima doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fusion owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Fusion will cost $425 less than the Altima over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Altima because it costs $273 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Fusion than the Altima, including $86 less for a water pump, $74 less for a starter, $24 less for fuel injection, $150 less for a fuel pump, $124 less for front struts and $10 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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