Ancira Nissan Compares 2018 Nissan Altima VS 2018 Subaru Legacy Near Laredo, TX

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2018 Nissan Altima

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2018 Subaru Legacy

Safety Comparison

Both the Altima and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Altima is safer than the Subaru Legacy:







5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

216 lbs.

259 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Altima is safer than the Subaru Legacy:





Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

17 inches




Hip Force

711 lbs.

736 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 71 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima third among midsize cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Legacy isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Altima 2.5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 4 more horsepower (179 vs. 175) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (177 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Altima 3.5’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 14 more horsepower (270 vs. 256) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (251 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Altima 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. is faster than the Legacy 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.:




Zero to 30 MPH

3.3 sec

4.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

10.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.6 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88.5 MPH

82.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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







2.5 4 cyl./CVT

27 city/38 hwy

25 city/34 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto


2.5 4 cyl./Auto

26 city/37 hwy



3.5 V6/Auto

22 city/32 hwy

20 city/28 hwy

3.6 6 cyl./Auto

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Altima 2.5 SR/3.5’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Legacy (235/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).

The Altima 2.5 SR/3.5’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Legacy Sport/Limited’s 50 series tires.

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 Legacy doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Altima 2.5 SL handles at .85 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Altima 3.5 SL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Legacy 2.5i Limited (27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

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

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Altima 2.5 SV is quieter than the Legacy 3.6R Limited:




At idle

38 dB

44 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Altima has 2.1 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Legacy.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Altima has a larger trunk than the Legacy (15.4 vs. 15 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Altima offers cargo security. The Legacy’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

If the front windows are left down on the Altima the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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

On extremely cold Winter days, the Altima’s optional (except S/SR) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because it costs $314 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the Legacy, including $145 less for a water pump, $15 less for front brake pads, $186 less for a starter, $227 less for front struts and $193 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Altima and the Subaru Legacy, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima first among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Legacy isn’t in the top three.

The Nissan Altima outsold the Subaru Legacy by almost five to one during the 2017 model year.

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