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2018 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Nissan Altima: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill August 2018

Two of the most popular midsize sedans on the market today are the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima. Below, we'll compare the two to determine which is the better buy in 2018.

The Accord is all-new for the 2018 model year, having received its first full redesign since 2013.

The Altima last received a full redesign for the 2013 model year and was updated for 2016. This comparison will focus on the 2018 model, but it's worth noting that the 2019 Altima will be all-new.

Basic Specs

Two engines are offered on the Altima. The more common powerplant is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and earning 31 miles per gallon overall. A 3.5-liter V6 making 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque is offered on the top trim-level 3.5 SR model. The Altima goes from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds and earns 26 mpg overall with the V6. The sole transmission offered on the Altima is a continuously variable unit that prioritizes fuel economy over performance and will likely be disappointing to anyone looking for a cathartic driving experience from their Altima.

The all-new 2018 Honda Accord offers two traditional engines along with a hybrid powertrain. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. The higher-end engine is a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. 1.5T and 2.0T sport models are available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Otherwise, the 1.5T is offered with a CVT, and the 2.0T gets a 10-speed automatic. Equipped with these automatic transmissions, Accords employing the 1.5T earn 33 mpg combined, while 2.0T models earn 27 mpg overall.

The Accord's available hybrid powertrain is largely a carryover from the previous generation. Combined output of the gas and electric motors is 212 hp. The hybrid eschews a traditional transmission for direct drive gearing. Hybrid models achieve impressive fuel economy, earning 49 mpg combined.

Altogether, the new Accord is known for offering great driving dynamics, especially from the new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, and an overall experience on par with vehicles costing significantly more.

Reliability

Honda and Nissan both have positive reputations when it comes to quality. Therefore, Accord and Altima buyers should both see good reliability from their vehicles. Honda and Nissan both offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is on par with the rest of the industry.

Safety

The Accord and the Altima have both been awarded Top Safety Pick designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, both earning top scores across the board in all major categories.

The Accord and the Altima both offer a full array of driver-assistance safety features. Standard on the Accord are adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors are added onto EX trim levels and up.

Standard on the Altima are forward-collision warning and front automated emergency braking. Also available are adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors. The Altima doesn't offer lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist or automatic high beams.

Overall, the Accord offers more standard and available driver-assistance features, giving it a leg up in this category.

Dimensions

The Altima and the Accord offer very similar exterior dimensions. The Altima is 191.9 inches long, 72 inches wide and 57.8 inches tall. The Accord is 192.1 inches long, 73.2 inches wide and 57.1 inches tall.

Despite its shapely and low-slung design, the Accord actually offers more interior space than the Altima in the places that count. Front seat passengers in the Accord get 39.5 inches of headroom to the Altima's 40 inches and 42.3 inches of legroom to the Altima's 45. In the back seat, the Accord offers 37.3 inches of headroom to the Altima's 37.1 and significantly more legroom, offering 40.4 inches to the Altima's 36.1.

The Accord's space advantages continue on to the cargo area. The Accord offers 17 cu ft. of cargo space, while the Altima offers 15 cu ft.

Interior Design

The Altima's interior design feels dated when compared to that of the Accord.

Among the Altima's features are an available leather interior with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a power driver's seat and an available Bose sound system. In terms of design, the Altima's dashboard and center console are separate. Altogether, the 2018 Altima's interior design is simple and generic.

Given that it was just redesigned, the Accord's dashboard and interior feel new and modern. All trim levels come with a large, center-mounted infotainment screen with an LCD screen mounted in the gauge cluster. The Accord's dashboard and center console blend into one another, forming one cohesive design. Heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats are offered. Automatic climate control is standard while most trim levels are available with a power driver's seat.

One of the Accord's most notable features is its lack of a transmission gear selector lever on automatic transmission models; in place of the gear shifter is a collection of buttons for choosing between forward, reverse, park and the like. This frees up space on the center console.

Technology & Infotainment

On lower-end models, the Altima offers a 5-in LCD display. Higher trim levels get a 7-in touchscreen. Nissan's NissanConnect infotainment system is said to be in need of an update with regard to menus and graphics, but it is generally regarded as being pretty easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered on all models but the base 2.5 S, and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi is offered as a dealer-installed option.

All 2018 Honda Accords get an 8-in center-mounted infotainment screen. The infotainment system in the 2018 Honda Accord is said to be greatly improved relative to previous models. A physical volume knob and redundant buttons have been added, making overall use much easier. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available starting with the Sport model.

Value

The 2018 Accord starts at $23,570 and tops out at a little over $36,000. The Altima starts at $23,260 and reaches right around $36,000 when fully loaded. Given that the Altima's overall design is around seven years older than that of the new Accord, the lack of a price disparity might come as a surprise, and it should. That said, as the 2019 Altima is likely headed to dealer lots in the coming weeks, now is likely a great time to get a deal on an outgoing 2018 model. While the Accord is a better vehicle in the absence of cost, a great deal on an Altima could make it a more viable and compelling option.

Autotrader's Advice

The Accord is by far the more modern of these two vehicles, having been fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. The 2018 Altima on the other hand is at the end of its lifecycle and will be redesigned for 2019. Once the 2019 Altima hits the market, this comparison will likely get a lot more competitive, but for now its safe to say that the 2018 Accord is a better vehicle, and it isn't even close.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Nissan Altima: Which Is Better? - Autotrader