2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Nissan Altima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Altima doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Altima doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the Corolla and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, driver alert monitors and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Altima.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Altima isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

FWD

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Altima

FWD

Auto

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 VC 4 cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

AWD

Auto

S/SV/SL 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

 

 

SR/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

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

Transmission

The Corolla offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and sportiness. The Altima doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Altima S’ (34.1 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The Corolla’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s (34.1 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Corolla may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Nissan Altima.

The Corolla is 10.6 inches shorter than the Altima, making the Corolla easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Corolla and the Altima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Corolla is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Altima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Corolla’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Altima’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Altima SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Altima doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Nissan Altima isn’t available as a four-door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Nissan Altima by 45% during 2018.

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

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