Let’s compare a few basics before we get to the safety features of these highly-rate sedans. Even though the Honda Accord is larger than the Nissan Altima, the Accord gets slightly better gas mileage on the highway: 34 mpg compared to the Altima’s 32 mpg. They have the same EPA rating for city driving: 23 mpg.
Both vehicles are comparably priced, but I’ve found that in my region of the country the Honda Accord LX sedan with automatic transmission can be purchased for just over a thousand dollars less than a comparably-equipped Nissan Sentra S sedan. This is despite the fact that each vehicle’s sticker price is almost identical. Be sure to do your own price research where you live, then shop around for the best deal.
Not sure how savvy car buyers get the best price? See Yes You Can: Save Big On Your Next Vehicle Purchase: Tools to Use.
Safety is important
When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer, one of the primary concerns of most people buying a family-sized sedan was safety. Personally, I would have no qualms about putting my family in either vehicle. That said, the Honda Accord is rated slightly better in this category than the Nissan Altima.
The good news for both vehicles is they come equipped with what many consumers consider to be must-have safety features, including front and front-side air bags, along with side curtain air bags. Other important safety equipment—standard on both models—includes electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, four-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, and active front head restraints, which reduce whiplash injury in case of rear-end collision.
Many car buyers are now following the new crash test rating system instituted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2011 models are the first to be tested under this new, more stringent system. The old testing methods were becoming too easy for car makers to score top marks. Not so with the one.
Accord garners accolades
The 2011 Honda Accord pulled off a rare feat: it received perfect scores in the NHTSA’s new crash tests. This included a perfect five-star rating in the individual tests: the front crash test, side crash test, and rollover test. Based on those results, the Accord was awarded an envious, and perfect five-star overall vehicle rating.
However, the Altima is no slouch. It garnered a four-star overall rating, scoring four stars in the front crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test.
Warranties are identical for both vehicles: the limited warranty (known as the bumper-to-bumper warranty) is three years/36,000 miles. The powertrain warranty on the engine and transmission is five years/60,000 miles.
There are two final notes that may seem insignificant to some consumers. First, the Honda Accord LX comes with floor mats. If you want factory mats in the Altima S the accessory price is $175. Second, if you prefer to play MP3 files in the CD player it won’t be an issue with the Accord. However, the standard CD player in the Altima does not have this capacity.
The 2011 Honda Accord and Nissan Altima both live up to their reputations for longevity, low maintenance costs, great fuel economy, and safety. The bottom-line is that you can’t go wrong with either one. However, each has a very different feel when sitting in the interior cabin, and the driving experience is distinctive for each vehicle. It’s important to test drive each one to determine which one is right for you and your family. After that, it’s a matter of making the best deal. Good luck.