2020 Nissan Altima vs. 2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Altima have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Volkswagen Arteon doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 Arteon doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 Arteon doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Altima and the Arteon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Altima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Arteon has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Altima comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Nissan will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Arteon.

There are over 66 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 2 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the Arteon’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Altima 2.0 VC turbo is faster than the Volkswagen Arteon:

Altima

Arteon

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.4 MPH

93.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

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

Arteon

FWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The Arteon requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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

Transmission

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 Arteon doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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 Arteon doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Altima has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Altima flat and controlled during cornering. The Arteon’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Arteon.

The Altima SR handles at .89 G’s, while the Arteon SEL Premium 4Motion pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Altima Platinum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Arteon SEL Premium 4Motion (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 26.7 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Arteon’s (36.1 feet vs. 39 feet). The Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Arteon’s (37.4 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 450 pounds less than the Volkswagen Arteon.

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 Arteon 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 Arteon doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Altima has 4.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Arteon (100.8 vs. 96.2).

The Altima has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Arteon.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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

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