2020 Nissan Altima vs. 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

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 Toyota Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid only offers a rear monitor.

The Altima’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Altima’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Altima and the Corolla Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, driver alert monitors, available daytime running lights and lane departure warning systems.

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 Corolla Hybrid has not been tested, yet.

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 61 more horsepower (182 vs. 121) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (178 vs. 106) than the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 67 more horsepower (188 vs. 121) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (180 vs. 106) than the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 127 more horsepower (248 vs. 121) and 167 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 106) than the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Altima AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corolla Hybrid (16 vs. 11.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Altima FWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corolla Hybrid (16.2 vs. 11.4 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Nissan Altima as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Altima

Corolla Hybrid

Front Rotors

11.65 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.02 inches

10.2 inches

Opt Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Altima has larger standard tires than the Corolla Hybrid (215/60R16 vs. 195/65R15). The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Corolla Hybrid (235/40R19 vs. 195/65R15).

The Altima S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Corolla Hybrid’s standard 65 series tires. The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Corolla Hybrid’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Altima S has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Corolla Hybrid. The Altima SR/Platinum has standard 19-inch 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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Corolla Hybrid (111.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Corolla Hybrid.

Chassis

The design of the Nissan Altima amounts to more than styling. The Altima has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the Corolla Hybrid (.28) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Altima get better fuel mileage.

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 Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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

The Altima has 12.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Corolla Hybrid (100.8 vs. 88.6).

The Altima has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, 3.4 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom, 10.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Corolla Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Altima has a much larger trunk than the Corolla Hybrid (15.4 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Altima Platinum, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory 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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Corolla Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Altima’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

The Altima (except S) offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Corolla Hybrid.

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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Altima SV/SL/Platinum’s 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. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Altima and the Corolla Hybrid 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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Altima SL/Platinum’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Corolla Hybrid’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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 Corolla Hybrid has never been an “All Star.”

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

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