Nissan Altima vs. Hyundai Sonata

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - September 15, 2016

It wasn't long ago that many American buyers rejected the Hyundai Sonata as a serious alternative to leading family sedans like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. While the Sonata beat those competitors on price, it also delivered so-so quality and reliability, along with abysmal resale value. That was then. Now the Sonata competes on equal footing.

As good as the Sonata has become, is it better than the wildly popular Nissan Altima, which has earned consistently high marks throughout its life?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Altima vs Sonata »

What the Altima Gets Right

Strong acceleration, excellent fuel economy, quality interior materials, intuitive controls, and a composed ride: what more can a family sedan offer? The Altima delivers it all in an attractive package that's distinctive without going overboard.

The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine develops 180 horsepower, and you can upgrade to a 3.5-liter V6 with a robust 270 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that contributes to EPA ratings of up to 38 mpg on the highway.

What the Sonata Gets Right

The Sonata has become a segment leader, and it should be. It's comfortable, offers a confident drive, and carries many standard features that are optional on competing models.

Base models use a 2.4-liter engine four-cylinder with 185 horsepower; a turbocharged variant makes 245 horsepower. Mileage estimates vary from 23 mpg city to 32 mpg highway. Every model gets a six-speed automatic transmission.

Is the Sonata Now a Better Choice?

Hyundai's dramatic turnaround has many automotive journalists and buyers rethinking their positions. While there still may be some skeptics, there's a reason Hyundai has done so well in recent years.

Our Verdict: Hyundai Sonata

The Sonata gets the nod for its value, polish, and everyday drivability.

Take a closer look at the Nissan Altima >>

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Sonata >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.