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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 Acura ILX 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 ILX 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 ILX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Altima offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ILX doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Altima Platinum has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ILX only offers a rear monitor.
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 ILX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Altima and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 125 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ILX was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.
There are almost 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.
The ILX’s redline is at 7200 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Altima has a 6000 to 6200 RPM redline.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Altima’s reliability 19 points higher than the ILX.
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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 17 places higher in reliability than Acura.
The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 47 more horsepower (248 vs. 201) and 93 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.
As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Altima turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Acura ILX:
Zero to 60 MPH
Zero to 100 MPH
5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the Altima S/SV/SL FWD CVT with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the ILX Auto (28 city/39 hwy vs. 24 city/34 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Altima’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Altima AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the ILX (16 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Altima FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the ILX (16.2 vs. 13.2 gallons).
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Altima higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the Altima produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.
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 ILX doesn’t offer a CVT.
The Altima stops much shorter than the ILX:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For better traction, the Altima SR/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ILX (235/40R19 vs. 225/40R18).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Altima SR/Platinum has standard 19-inch wheels. The ILX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
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 ILX doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Altima has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the ILX (111.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is 3.8 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ILX.
The Altima’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (59% to 41%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the Altima more stable handling and braking.
The Altima Platinum handles at .91 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the ILX’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.8 feet).
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 ILX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Altima a Mid-size car, while the ILX is rated a Compact.
The Altima has 11.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (100.8 vs. 89.3).
The Altima has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom, 4.4 inches more front hip room, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom, 2.8 inches more rear hip room and 3.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.
The Altima has a much larger trunk than the ILX (15.4 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).
The Altima’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.
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 ILX doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
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 Altima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Poor.”
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Altima detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
On extremely cold winter days, the Altima’s optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ILX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the Altima and the ILX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Altima SV/SL/Platinum has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The ILX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
Insurance will cost less for the Altima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Altima with a number “1” insurance rate while the ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.
The Altima will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Altima will retain 42.51% to 43.88% of its original price after five years, while the ILX only retains 36.22% to 38.53%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the ILX, including $92 less for a water pump, $282 less for a starter, $161 less for fuel injection, $136 less for a fuel pump, $112 less for front struts and $230 less for a power steering pump.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima first among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The ILX isn’t in the top three in its category.
The Altima was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The ILX has never been an “All Star.”
The Nissan Altima outsold the Acura ILX by over 14 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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