2020 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/17

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Altima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A4 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Altima SV/SL/Platinum has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A4 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Altima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Altima and the A4 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Altima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Altima has a standard 120-amp alternator. The A4’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Altima 2.0 VC turbo is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

Altima

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.4 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/17

On the EPA test cycle the Altima gets better fuel mileage than the A4:

MPG

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

AWD

S/SV/SL 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

SR/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

A4

FWD

40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

27 city/34 hwy

AWD

45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

The Altima FWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the A4 (16.2 vs. 15.3 gallons). The Altima AWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the A4 (16 vs. 15.3 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Altima higher (7 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the Altima produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the Nissan Altima as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi A4 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

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The Altima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Altima stops shorter than the A4:

Altima

A4

60 to 0 MPH

131 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The Altima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A4 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the A4 (111.2 inches vs. 110 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A4.

The Altima SR handles at .89 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Altima Platinum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A4 Premium (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the A4’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A4’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 250 pounds less than the Audi A4.

The front grille of the Altima uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A4 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Altima SL/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Altima Platinum is quieter than the A4 Prestige Quattro (40 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Altima a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The Altima has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (100.8 vs. 92).

The Altima has .3 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

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The Altima has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15.4 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Altima has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Altima Platinum’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the Altima the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

Consumer Reports rated the Altima’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the A4’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Altima owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Altima will cost $780 less than the A4 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $18 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the A4, including $456 less for a water pump, $270 less for a muffler, $37 less for front brake pads, $512 less for a starter, $26 less for fuel injection, $193 less for a fuel pump, $584 less for front struts and $76 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Altima will be $10772 to $12486 less than for the Audi A4.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/11/17

The Altima was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The A4 has never been an “All Star.”

The Nissan Altima outsold the Audi A4/S4 by over six to one during 2018.

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