2020 Nissan Altima vs 2020 Subaru Legacy

November 14th, 2019 by

For a while now Subaru has been known for their All-Wheel Drive. The “Symmetrical AWD” badges are emblazoned on nearly all Subaru models and is one of the brand’s key marketing focuses. Constantly proclaiming the advantages of four-wheel traction and benefits to have it on their vehicles.  All-wheel drive is a legitimate differentiator for Subaru, and the Legacy has been one of the only mid-size sedans that has consistently offered all-wheel drive. However, recently the Nissan Altima joined, as the new-for-2019 sixth-generation model added an All-wheel-drive option that costs $1350 extra. Now that the Legacy isn’t the only AWD mid-size sedan, we set out to see if it’s still the best.


The Altima and the Legacy were both recently redesigned. The longer, lower, and wider Nissan is boldly styled, with an aggressive nose and sharp accents along its sides and an attractive 19-Inch Wheels available on the SR trim level that further accentuate its athletic proportions. The Subaru looks comparably dowdy, with a tall greenhouse and an awkwardly styled front end, and the half-hearted Sport trim level’s black wheels and small lip spoiler don’t help.


Nissan comes out ahead in most testing metrics (tested CarandDriver.com). The Altima makes better use of its engine at the test track with a decent 7.4-second run from zero to 60 mph, beating the Legacy by 0.6 second. The Nissan also proved more efficient, averaging 31 mpg to Subaru’s 28 mpg during testing. As for handling, the Altima gripped our skidpad at a solid 0.91 g, far outperforming the Subaru’s 0.84-g result and coming close to some sports sedans. The Altima proves to be the more pleasant car to drive. It’s the one we’d rather pilot every day, owing to its more comfortable ride and responsive handling. Firmer suspension tuning manages its body motions far better than the Subaru’s. The Altima also feels smoother and quieter.NissanAltima

In the interior Nissan has an 8.0-Inch touchscreen stuck on top of the dash like an iPad, while the Subaru’s cockpit is dominated by a huge 11.6-inch vertically oriented touchscreen. While this giant screen may be a surprise-and-delight feature, we didn’t think it used all those extra pixels as well as it could. The display for Apple CarPlay, for instance, only uses a small fraction of the screen to mirror the phone. The simplicity of the Altima’s volume and tuning knobs to the hassle of the Subaru’s myriad non-physical controls that live within the touchscreen.


As for the rear of the vehicle, both vehicles provide equal and great space for passengers with split-folding rear seats to expand the trunk for additional storage space. In the trunk, the Altima is slightly larger when compared to the legacy by offering a better use of cubic volume within.


The all-new Nissan Altima is the clear overall winner and better than the Subaru Legacy in almost every regard. Altima wins in quicker acceleration, sharper handling, appearance and fuel efficiency management. If you are looking for an affordable all-wheel-drive mid-size sedan, you will be glad that Subaru is no longer the only game in town.

Check out the full review and test HERE! Or stop by Fred Martin Nissan and check out the All-New Nissan Altima in person!

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