2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Nissan Altima – Albany, NY

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  • 2020 Ford Fusion

    A black 2020 Ford Fusion is angled left.

    Starting at

    $23,170

    2020 Nissan Altima

    A white 2020 Nissan Altima is angled right.

    Starting at

    $24,100

    YesHybrid and Plugin HybridNo
    275Max Torque (lb-ft)273
    16Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)15.4

    Contrary to popular belief, sedans are not going away anytime soon. While many families have migrated into the compact crossover and SUV market, the market for sedans is still thriving. Singles, couples, and small families can all enjoy the benefits of a sedan, which include fuel efficiency, advanced features, a smaller price tag, and still plenty of room for groceries. There are so many models on the market, though, that it becomes challenging to pick just one. That said, the easiest way to choose one is to look at the most popular sedans in a comparison such as the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Nissan Altima.

    With available space for five passengers in both vehicles, these two sedans are both spacious and practical. Additionally, the Ford Fusion is available in various forms, including a gasoline-powered model, a hybrid model, and a plug-in hybrid. And as for trunk space, the gasoline version has a trunk with 16 cu.ft. of space, the hybrid has 12 cu.ft. of room, and the plug-in hybrid offers 8.2 cu.ft. On the other hand, the Nissan Altima is only available as a gasoline-powered sedan, and it’s trunk measures 15.4 cu.ft. Right from the get-go, the Fusion seems to be the better vehicle, and in further comparison, this will only be confirmed.

  • Performance

    A white 2020 Ford Fusion is driving on a city street shown from the front, near Albany, NY.

    Looking at the powertrain options between the 2020 Ford Fusion and the 2020 Nissan Altima, you will notice a world of difference. The Fusion has many options, including eco-friendly powertrains, to choose from. On the other hand, the Altima uses only two simple powertrains for all trim levels. Let’s take a closer look.

    Ford's Many Options

    The gasoline-powered Fusion models are available with three powertrain choices. First is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that uses FWD, direct-injection technology, and twin independent variable cam timing to deliver 181 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. It also has an impressive average fuel economy set at 27 MPG combined (23 city/34 highway).

    The second option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. This unit pushes out 231 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and it gets about 25 MPG combined (21 city/31 highway). As for the final gasoline option, it’s a 2.5-liter I-4 engine that generates 175 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine also has pretty good fuel economy at 24 MPG combined (21 city/31 highway). Also important to note is that all of the powertrains use a 6-speed automatic transmission.

    Beyond the gasoline options, though, are two more fuel-economic engines: the hybrid and the plug-in hybrid. Both of these vehicles use a 2.0-liter I-4 Atkinson-cycle engine that is paired with a battery-fed electric motor. The hybrid features a 1.4kWh battery pack and gets 42 MPG combined (43 city/40 highway). On the other hand, the plug-in hybrid uses a 7.6 kWh battery pack and gets 103 MPGe. It also has an electric range of 26 miles, and fully recharging the battery only takes about 2.5 hours.

    Nissan's Simple Offerings

    As for the 2020 Nissan Altima, the standard powertrain is centered around a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and FWD. You may also opt for AWD if you want. Producing 188 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, this standard powertrain has an average fuel economy set at 33 MPG combined (28 city/29 highway).

    If you want something a bit more powerful, you can opt for the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine on the SR and Platinum trim levels. It generates 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy will lower with this option, though, at 29 MPG combined (25 city/34 highway). These two simple options do not come close to comparing to the variety of gasoline, hybrid, and hybrid plug-in options that the Ford Fusion offers. That said, the Fusion has a lot more to offer drivers, making it the better performer.

  • Safety

    A blue 2020 Ford Fusion is parked with a foggy view of a city after winning the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Nissan Altima comparison.

    Safety is a significant concern for anyone when it comes to cars. Since sedans are small and sit low to the ground, driving between big trucks and SUVs can be a bit intimidating. In fact, many people opt for an SUV simply because they think it’s safer than a car. However, this isn’t always true. Let’s breakdown the advanced safety for both sedans and see which one is better.

    A Look at Ford Co-Pilot 360

    Every 2020 Ford Fusion is equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot 360 safety suite. In this package are numerous safety systems that work in unison to help prevent accidents. Blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera keep you aware of your surroundings to avoid side-swipes and rear-ending accidents. Pre-collision assist and automatic emergency braking help to detect oncoming collisions and bring the vehicle to a complete stop before impact occurs.

    Lane-keeping assist helps you to stay in your designated lane, and automatic high beams enhance visibility. They also will dim when oncoming traffic is detected. On the top-tier Titanium trim, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology has also been installed. This system allows you to set your desired speed, and it will adjust according to the flow of traffic. Once traffic has cleared up, the system will return to the original set speed. With all of these features, safety in the Ford is no question.

    Nissan Safety

    On the other hand, the 2020 Nissan Altima is a bit different. While it doesn’t come with a suite of safety features, it does have some stand-alone safety features on various trims. The base model includes a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and emergency braking. The SR trim adds blindspot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and rear parking sensors. Moving up to the SV will get you lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology. Finally, the top-of-the-line Platinum model comes with a 360° camera system to make parking a breeze. While this is a great list of features, more options can be added to the Fusion in terms of safety, making it the better choice.

  • Trims

    The brown and dark grey interior of a 2020 Ford Fusion is shown.

    Looking at the different trims of each vehicle is an integral part of the comparison as it brings forward what features can be obtained at each price. The Ford Fusion has four levels, while the Nissan Altima offers five. Let's take a look at how they compare.

    A Look at the Base Trims

    Let’s kick things off with the base models. The Fusion S rides on 16-inch steel wheels and features a black grille, LED tail lights, and body-colored accents on the exterior. Inside the cabin, you will find the Sync infotainment interface displayed on a 4.2-inch LCD monitor. This system works with a 4-speaker stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 12-volt power outlet. Meanwhile, the base Nissan Altima is also called the S. It comes with the chrome V-Motion grille, body-colored exterior accents, and power side mirrors. Inside, this model features push-button start technology and an 8-inch touchscreen that displays the infotainment system. This interface is compatible with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

    The Mid-Levels

    Riding on 17-inch aluminum wheels, the Fusion SE is the second trim level. It features chrome exterior accents, a six-speaker stereo, and satellite radio. It also gets a significant upgrade with the Sync 3 infotainment interface. Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, this system features dual Lcd monitors and FordPass Connect. On the other hand, the Nissan Altima SR gets LED headlights, dual chrome exhaust, a revised suspension, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It’s a bit more sporty than the base model.

    Now, let’s move on to the mid-level trims. The Fusion SEL rides on 18-inch wheels and features chrome accents and auto-dimming/heated side mirrors that feature integrated turn signal indicators. This zippy ride also includes stain-resistant ACTIVEX upholstery, heated seats, and an upgraded stereo with 11 speakers. The comparable Altima SV also gets heated side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, but they are not auto-dimming. A moonroof has been added, and this mid-level model gets heated seats and dual-zone climate control.

    Keep in mind that the Altima has an extra trim level that doesn’t have a comparison on the Fusion side. This is the SL model. Featuring LED fog lamps, leather upholstery, a navigation system, and a 9-speaker Bose stereo, this model takes a step into the realm of luxury.

    Top-of-the-Line Choices

    The top-of-the-line Fusion Titanium rides on 19-inch wheels and features a chrome mesh grille and a rear spoiler. The cabin boasts luxurious leather upholstery, heated/cooled seats, a power moonroof, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Tech advancements include voice-controlled navigation, HD radio, and a 12-speaker Sony stereo system. As for the top-tier Altima Platinum, this model comes with noise-reducing glass and ambient lighting.

    What This All Means

    Both of these vehicles offer a variety of trims, topping out with excellent features. However, the Ford Fusion pulls ahead with its lower starting price of $23,170 in comparison to the Nissan Altima's $24,100. And because of the very similar packages, picking the Fusion over the Altima makes sense; it's a money saver!

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