- Both the 2020 Toyota Camry and the 2020 Nissan Altima are available with all-wheel drive.
- The Nissan Altima was redesigned for the 2019 model year.
- The performance engine option in the Altima is a turbocharged 4-cylinder, while the Camry uses a V6.
Despite the fact that some automakers have abandoned midsize sedans as Americans flock toward SUVs, the segment is still highly competitive. Generally, midsize sedans follow a similar formula: a standard 4-cylinder engine with an optional turbocharged or V6 option, maybe a hybrid, decent space in the second row, great safety ratings and some convenient tech features. The 2020 Toyota Camry and the 2020 Nissan Altima follow this formula for the most part, but they offer a little something extra in the form of available all-wheel drive. Needless to say, these two vehicles are compelling, and below we’ll compare them to help you understand which might be better for you.
When it redesigned the vehicle for the 2018 model year, Toyota opted to inject the Camry with some newfound personality. Up front, the vehicle’s grille and headlights are angled toward the Toyota emblem at their center, while the sporty SE, XSE and TRD Trims get large air vents and gloss-black elements for an even sportier look. The Camry also has a unique curved rear window, which gives it a premium look, especially when viewed from the rear. Additionally, the Camry can be had with a contrasting black roof on its sportier trims, while the TRD model gets a more aggressive body kit and rear wing. See the 2020 Toyota Camry models for sale near you
Nissan‘s trademark V-shaped grille is featured prominently in the design of the new Altima. The Altima also gets a floating C-pillar design, which is becoming a common design trend across the industry. The Altima SR wears sporty design elements and 19-in wheels and is akin to the Camry SE or XSE, while the top-of-the-line Platinum trim wears a more luxurious design and is akin to the Camry XLE. Overall, the Altima wears a more conservative design than the Camry. See the 2020 Nissan Altima models for sale near you
The Camry has a driver-oriented cockpit. The center stack is asymmetrical and tilted slightly toward the driver. While that’s great for whoever’s behind the wheel, it isolates the passenger somewhat. Overall, though, we like the new Camry’s interior, as it offers style and personality not typically associated with this nameplate, as is the case with the exterior. LE and XLE models can be had with wood trim, while the SE and XSE come with aluminum trim. Additionally, buyers opting for the Camry XSE can get a bright red interior, which complements the vehicle’s available contrast-black roof. A 7-in infotainment screen is standard, while an 8-in screen comes on upper trims.
While it isn’t as driver-focused as the Camry, the Altima’s interior is still a nice place to be, and it’s a level above what you’d find in the previous-generation Altima. All around, the new Altima’s interior is made up of sharp, industrial-looking hues. Light gray and black are the sole interior color options. Lower-end trims get aluminum interior elements, while leather-adorned Altimas come with a gray wood finish. In a fun, sporty design choice, every Altima gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel. The Altima’s standard 8-in center infotainment screen rises from the center stack like a tablet, which allows for a lower dashboard and better outward visibility.
Mechanicals and Capability
The Camry is offered with three available powertrains: a basic 4-cylinder, a V6 and a hybrid.
The 4-cylinder puts out 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the V6 makes an impressive 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the 4-cylinder Camry comes in at 32 mpg in combined driving, while the V6 returns 26 mpg combined. Both the 4- and 6-cylinder Camry models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard. The Camry Hybrid gets a 4-cylinder engine paired with a hybrid motor and a continuously variable transmission. Total output comes in at 208 hp, while the combined fuel economy is an impressive 46 or 52 mpg, depending on the trim level.
New to the Camry for 2020 is an available AWD system that can be optioned on 4-cylinder models. While it won’t quite make your Camry off-road-worthy, it will come in handy in snowy, low-traction situations, making it great for buyers who live in cold climates. Pricing for the Camry’s new AWD system has yet to be released, but we expect it to come in at under $1,500, as is the case with the Altima. The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to release fuel economy figures for the AWD Camry.
The base engine in the Altima is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. With basic front-wheel drive, the Altima returns 32 mpg combined. Opting for AWD, which comes at a premium of $1,350, results in a combined fuel rating of 30 mpg. The Altima’s performance-oriented engine is a new 2.0-liter turbo that makes 248 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. This engine is FWD only. Fuel economy comes in at 29 mpg combined with the turbo — a 3-mpg advantage compared to the Camry’s V6, although the Camry makes considerably more power. The Altima doesn’t offer a hybrid option.
Technology, Features & Infotainment
The 2020 Altima can be had with a 360-degree camera system, a memory driver’s seat, interior accent lighting and more. Heated seats are available, but neither a heated steering wheel nor ventilated seats are on the option sheet.
Like the rest of Nissan’s lineup, the Altima comes with a clever tire pressure-sensing system that beeps the horn whenever the recommended pressure is reached during fill-ups.
The 2020 Camry is available with a 360-degree camera system, a heads-up display, heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, different driving modes, a JBL-branded premium audio system and paddle shifters, among other things. Oddly, as with the Altima, neither ventilated seats nor a heated steering wheel is offered.
The Camry also offers a new TRD trim for 2020 that comes standard with the V6 engine and offers a retuned suspension, added structural bracing, bigger brakes, a cat-back exhaust system and more aggressive styling elements.
The 2020 Toyota Camry and the 2020 Nissan Altima come standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Altima comes standard with an 8-in infotainment screen, while the Camry gets a standard 7-in screen that grows to 8 inches on upper trims.
The Altima and Camry come with one 12-volt power outlet apiece. The Camry gets just one basic USB port, while the Altima offers two USB ports plus two USB-C ports, which positions it nicely for the future, as USB-C is quickly becoming the new standard.
Toyota generally sets the standard when it comes to reliability, and Nissan isn’t far behind. Both the 2020 Camry and the 2020 Altima offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is about par for the course.
In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2020 Toyota Camry and the 2020 Nissan Altima earned awards for their performance. Both vehicles earned all possible points for crashworthiness, their crash-avoidance systems and the ease of use of their child safety anchoring systems. The Camry outscored the Altima when it came to the headlights, and thus earned a coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, while the Altima took home a Top Safety Pick award of its own. Needless to say, these vehicles are among the safest on the road.
The Camry and the Altima offer standard active safety tech, but the Camry offers more of it. While the Altima offers just forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking as standard, every 2020 Camry comes with the aforementioned automatic braking system, highway speed radar cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams. This technology is optional on the base Altima, and standard on every other trim. Either vehicle can be optioned with blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors with rear automatic braking. The Altima SV gains Nissan’s ProPilot Assist feature, which combines the capabilities of radar cruise control and lane-keeping assist to pilot your vehicle down the highway over short distances with minimal driver input. This isn’t autopilot, but it’s a (very small) step in that direction.
Factoring in additional fees, a base-model Camry L starts at a little over $25,000, while a fully loaded V6 XSE tops out at around $40,000. While pricing for the Camry’s new AWD system has yet to be announced, expect this option to cost under $1,500. Expect to pay a little over $3,000 for the Camry Hybrid. The new-for-2020, performance-oriented TRD model comes in at $32,000.
The Altima starts at around $25,000 and reaches about $37,000 in fully loaded form, factoring in additional fees. Nissan doesn’t offer a performance or a hybrid version of the Altima.
As far as the current midsize sedan landscape goes, each of these vehicles is extremely competitive. While the redesigned Altima made waves last year when it debuted with an optional AWD system, the Camry is now getting the attention for adding the feature for 2020. Buyers looking for a midsize sedan that deviates somewhat from the norm will have more to choose from with the Camry, which offers a hybrid option and that new TRD model, which gets you a V6 engine, chassis enhancements and a unique body kit. As far as the more mainstream trim levels go, these two vehicles are neck and neck. Each offers a wide variety of safety features, performs well in crash testing and offers two engines and available AWD. More than anything, which one is right for you will come down to your own personal tastes and to whichever automaker is offering better financial incentives at your time of purchase. Find a Toyota Camry for sale or Find a Nissan Altima for sale