2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs. 2020 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/06

Both the Sonata Hybrid 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, driver alert monitors 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, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 79 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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The Sonata Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-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 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata Hybrid 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Altima. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Altima ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Sonata Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Altima’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sonata Hybrid for 3 years and 30,000 miles. Hyundai will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Altima.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 5 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

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The Sonata Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 10 more horsepower (192 vs. 182) and 93 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 178) than the Altima’s optional 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Sonata Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 4 more horsepower (192 vs. 188) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 180) than the Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Altima:

MPG

Sonata Hybrid

FWD

Blue 2.0 4-cyl. Hybrid

50 city/54 hwy

2.0 4-cyl. Hybrid

45 city/51 hwy

Altima

FWD

S/SV/SL 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/39 hwy

SR/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

AWD

S/SV/SL 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

SR/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Altima with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sonata

Altima

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

11.02 inches

The Sonata Hybrid’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Altima are solid, not vented.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata Hybrid is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Altima.

Chassis

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The design of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Sonata Hybrid has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .24 Cd. That is lower than the Altima (.26) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata Hybrid get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonata Hybrid a Large car, while the Altima is rated a Mid-size.

The Sonata Hybrid has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Altima (104.4 vs. 100.8).

The Sonata Hybrid has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom and 1.5 inches more rear headroom than the Altima.

Cargo Capacity

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sonata Hybrid’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Altima doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The Sonata Hybrid 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

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The Sonata Hybrid Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Altima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Sonata Hybrid’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 Sonata Hybrid and the Altima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonata Hybrid 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 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 Sonata Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Altima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

When the Sonata Hybrid Limited 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.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Hybrid Limited 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 Sonata Hybrid 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Altima doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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