Although crossovers and SUVs are quickly taking over as America’s choice family vehicle, the midsize sedan segment is still one of the most competitive on the market. Two of the big players in family cars are the 2018 Toyota Camry and the 2018 Nissan Altima, which have been close competitors for decades.
The Camry got a big update for 2018 and the current fifth-generation Altima is in its final model year with an all-new Altima coming for 2019. However, that doesn’t mean the current model is irrelevant or can’t compete with the Camry. Let’s take a look at how these two popular sedans stack up against one another for 2018.
The new styling for the 2018 Toyota Camry is very modern with angular lines helping it shake off its reputation as a boring sedan. Just about every Camry before the 2018 model blends into traffic, but the new one really stands out. Each trim level of the Camry has a different aesthetic with a couple different front fascias used throughout the model range.
The Altima has looked pretty much the same since the 2013 model year but did receive a facelift in 2016. While the Camry is very angular, the Altima has more of a curvy shape, but while the Altima doesn’t look as modern as the Camry, it has a few available appearance packages that keep it interesting like the SR Special Edition and the SR Midnight Edition, which each add special wheels and other exterior accents.
As for size, the height, width and length of the two cars are very similar with all three dimensions being within an inch of each other. See the 2018 Nissan Altima models for sale near you
There’s nothing too exciting going on inside the 2018 Nissan Altima. It’s certainly not ugly, but don’t expect any groundbreaking interior design here. That said, the interior of the car is perfectly functional and comfortable enough for long drives. The front seat of the Altima has a little more legroom in the front, while the Camry has a slight advantage in rear legroom, making it a little more comfortable for adults in the back.
The interior of the 2018 Toyota Camry has a very sharp, modern design much like the exterior. It’s a far cry from the dull Camrys of the past with a beautiful center stack that looks unlike anything else on the market, including luxury cars. The design isn’t the only thing the Camry’s interior has going for it. Depending on how it’s optioned, the Camry can include red leather seats and interior trim to add a sporty look to the sedan. For a more luxurious touch, quilted leather seats and nice wood interior trim are available as well.
Which exterior you like more is a matter of personal preference, but the Camry is the hands-down winner in interior design over the Altima. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the Nissan’s interior, it just doesn’t look nearly as good as the one in the Toyota. See the 2018 Toyota Camry models for sale near you
Both cars have an inline-four and a V6 available under the hood. The base engine in the Camry is a 2.5-liter inline-four that makes 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque while returning impressive fuel economy at 29 miles per gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The available 3.5-liter V6 turns up the performance to 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Those are fantastic numbers for a car in this class, and it still returns decent fuel economy at 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.
The engines in the Altima are good, but they fall a little bit short of both Camry engines on paper. The base engine for the Nissan is a 2.5-liter inline-four with an adequate horsepower rating of 179 and 177 lb-ft of torque. It returns 27 mpg city/38 mpg hwy. If you upgrade to the 3.5-liter V6, you get 270 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Its fuel economy numbers are identical to the V6 in the Camry at 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.
The Altima uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for both engines. A CVT is good for smooth, efficient cruising and providing more juice when you really need it. The Toyota uses a more traditional 8-speed automatic transmission. If you want a manual transmission in a midsize sedan, we’d suggest checking out a Mazda6 or a Honda Accord.
Features and Technology
Nissan Intelligent Mobility is Nissan’s safety suite of semi-autonomous features that can help you prevent an accident. It includes intelligent cruise control, which keeps distance from the car in front of you, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic emergency braking. These features gradually become more available as you work your way up the model range.
The base trim for the Altima is the Altima S, which comes standard with a NissanConnect 5-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth streaming audio, a USB port and a rearview camera. The Altima SR adds a sporty appearance package, while the SV trim adds extra tech like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and remote start. Finally, the SL trim brings luxury to the Altima, adding features like leather seats and Bose premium audio. The Altima SL is the only trim with the V6 available.
Every model of the 2018 Camry comes generously appointed with Toyota Safety Sense P, which consists of a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams and dynamic radar cruise control. Some of these features are usually expensive add-ons, but Toyota puts them in every Camry.
Other technology includes the Entune 3.0 infotainment system in an available 8-in touch screen that you can get with navigation and 9-speaker JBL premium audio. A 10-in color head-up display is available that can help you stay focused on the road. With Toyota’s Remote Connect app, you can remotely monitor your Camry if someone else is driving it, and you can use the app on your phone to find your car in a parking lot.
The Camry has a little bit more to offer than the Altima does in both the low-end and high-end trims, such as standard Toyota Safety Sense across the board and available tech like intelligent clearance sonar with rear cross-traffic braking that can actually apply the brakes if it detects you’re about to hit something. In the midrange for both models, these cars can be optioned pretty similarly.
The 4-cylinder variants of the Camry and the Altima are very similarly priced, but the V6 Camrys are more expensive. The entry-level Camry L starts at $23,645, while the base Altima S starts at $23,260. The base Camry costs a little more than the base Altima, but you could argue that the Camry is a better value because of the extra standard safety features.
The only variant of the Altima with a V6 is the 3.5 SL, which starts at $33,630 and comes with all the luxurious features that come with the SL trim. The Camry has two V6 variants: The XLE V6 and XSE V6, which start at $34,550 and $35,100, respectively.
With the big 2018 update, the Toyota Camry is a decidedly more modern car than the Nissan Altima. The Altima 3.5 SL is a good option, however, if you want an affordable V6-powered midsize sedan with some nice features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, modern safety tech and leather seats. The Altima is also good for any driver who prefers a curvy aesthetic to a more angular exterior.
The new Camry has a lot to offer in just about every respect. From its modern aesthetic inside and out to its impressive performance and generous standard technology, the Camry is a car that any driver in the market for a midsize sedan can get excited about. Find a Toyota Camry for sale or Find a Nissan Altima for sale