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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 Buick Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Altima Platinum has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Regal Sportback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Altima and the Regal Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, 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 Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.
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 62 points higher than the Regal Sportback.
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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 7 places higher in reliability than Buick.
On the EPA test cycle the Altima FWD CVT turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Sportback FWD with its standard turbo 4 cyl. (25 city/34 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Altima higher (7 out of 10) than the Buick Regal Sportback (5 to 6). This means the Altima produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a CVT.
The Altima stops shorter than the Regal Sportback:
60 to 0 MPH
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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Altima SR handles at .89 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (36.1 feet vs. 39 feet). The Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37.4 feet vs. 41 feet).
The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 800 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.
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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Altima has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Regal Sportback (100.8 vs. 98).
The Altima has .4 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
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 Regal Sportback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Altima’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Regal Sportback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Consumer Reports rated the Altima’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Regal Sportback’s headlights, which were 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Altima has standard extendable sun visors. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.
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 Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” 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 Regal Sportback only retains 28.76% to 36.45%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because it costs $300 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the Regal Sportback, including $539 less for a water pump, $733 less for a muffler, $125 less for front brake pads, $306 less for a starter, $42 less for front struts and $362 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Altima will be $9999 to $13834 less than for the Buick Regal Sportback.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Buick Regal Sportback isn't recommended.
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 Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three.
The Altima was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The Regal Sportback has never been an “All Star.”
The Nissan Altima outsold the Buick Regal by over 20 to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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