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2019 Nissan Altima

Starting Price: $24,645 | Price Yours

Above Average: Very sporty; plenty of standard safety features; sharp, aggressive looks, available all-wheel drive

Below Average: No available hybrid model; neither the sportiest nor the most luxurious in the segment; prices for options and higher trim levels add up quickly.

Consensus: For 2019 the Nissan Altima has been redesigned, with a new look, sportier feel, two new engines, and available all-wheel drive. It has dropped the V6, however, in favor of a feisty 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It can feel a little strained on hills, but it’s got plenty of power for highway and city driving. Nissan continues to add and refine both its driver-assist and safety features, with the Altima earning 5 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Safety Administration.
 

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2019 Chevrolet Malibu

Starting Price: $22,965 | Price Yours

Above Average: Optional hybrid model makes 50 mpg; excellent touchscreen infotainment, compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Below Average: No V6; rear-seat headroom’s a little tight; styling may be plain for some

Consensus: Chevy has updated its midsize sedan offering for 2019 with new front and rear styling. The Malibu has lots of infotainment and driver-assist features, including compatibility with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s also a new model for 2019, the sporty RS variant with some nice visual cues including a dual-outlet exhaust.
 

The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive, and the segment-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry continue to be strong. As a result, their competitors have had to keep up. This is a good thing, as for 2019, both Nissan and Chevy have updated their midsize sedan models, with sharp lines and upgraded safety and infotainment features. Neither offers a V6 option, with both offering punchy turbocharged inline-4s instead that offer both good low-end power and increased fuel mileage. Both the Malibu and Altima offer plenty of options, from the more sedate to higher-performance models, with special trim pieces and in Nissan’s case, better performance. Beyond that, there are a few differences. For example, the Altima has optional all-wheel drive, and there is a Malibu hybrid model that makes up to 50 mpg.

Similarities

Both offer a sporty option; both are sharply styled; neither is offered with a V6

Nissan Altima Advantages

Available all-wheel drive; best seats in the midsize sedan class; more power, even at the entry level

Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

Optional hybrid model makes 50 mpg; less expensive throughout the range; all models well equipped with safety and infotainment options.

Final Recommendation

Both the Nissan and the Chevy do their best to add some sportiness to the segment, but there are perhaps better options. They both do many things well, with the Nissan’s styling being more up-to-date. If sporty and practical are the primary concerns, the Altima is the choice, with its SR trim not only offering styling cues but a strong 245-hp engine and a tighter suspension. For the snowbelt, it also offers all-wheel drive, while the Malibu is front-wheel-drive only. But if money concerns are higher on the list, the Chevy is definitely a better bargain, and comes very well equipped in terms of both safety and infotainment options right out the gate.

  2019 Nissan Altima 2019 Chevrolet Malibu
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.5-liter I4 1.5-liter turbo I4 
Horsepower 188 hp @ 6,000 rpm 163 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable Automatic, CVT
Fuel Economy 30 mpg (26 city, 38 hwy) 30 mpg (27 city, 36 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter I4, turbocharged 2.0-liter turbo I4; 1.8-liter I4 hybrid; 9-spd automatic
Specs    
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 111.2 inches 111.4 inches
Overall Length 192.9 inches 194.2 inches
Width 72.9 inches 73.0 inches
Height 56.7 inches 57.3 inches
Turning Diameter n/a n/a
Headroom, Front 39.2 inches 39.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 36.9 inches 37.5 inches
Legroom, Front 44.1 inches 41.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.1 inches 38.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.2 inches 58.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.1 inches 57.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 100.8 cu. ft. n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 15.4 cu. ft. 15.7 cu. ft.
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