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2021 Avalon AWD vs. Altima AWD Comparison

To keep up with changing needs, car companies continue to innovate and update, creating smarter, more capable, and more stylish vehicles. Toyota and Nissan have both made enhancements to the Avalon and Altima respectively for the 2021 model year.

As for the 2021 Toyota Avalon, you'll notice the addition of available All-Wheel Drive (AWD) on the XLE and Limited grades, plus a head-turning new Nightshade Edition with black 19-in. Wheels standard. There are slight changes to the 2021 Nissan Altima, too. For instance, the 2.0-liter variable-compression-turbo engine is no longer available on the Platinum, their highest trim level. However, it is available on their sporty SR model.

When comparing just the Avalon and Altima sedans that have available AWD, you'll find that the Avalon XLE AWD has plenty of standard horsepower. The XLE with AWD has 205 hp while the Altima SV with Intelligent AWD only has 182 hp.

Horsepower isn't the only thing the Avalon comes loaded with. It also has lots of standard multimedia features, like Amazon Alexa compatibility. The Altima has similar multimedia options as well but lacks Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Find out whether the Avalon or Altima has more of what you want. Discover which sedan has it all in categories like performance, interior, and reliability.

Published Date: 03/22/2021

2021 Avalon driving on a residential street


  • Both the Avalon and Altima have available AWD.
  • The Avalon has ECO, Normal, and Sport modes depending on your drive.
  • While the Avalon and Altima have the same size engine, the Avalon produces more horsepower.

The 2021 Avalon meets all the demands of a true performance sedan with available AWD and power under the hood.

Horsepower and AWD

As mentioned before, these sedans offer optional AWD. However, only the Avalon has AWD available on the base-grade XLE and higher-grade Limited model. To get Altima's Intelligent AWD you'd have to get the SV trim or higher.

Whether you want to spice up your drive with Sport mode or have a more fuel-efficient drive with ECO mode, the 2021 Avalon XLE AWD has a standard 3-mode switch which also includes Normal drive mode.

With a 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine and 205 hp and 185 lb.-ft. torque, the Avalon XLE AWD has impressive horsepower to complement your driving style. While the Altima SV with Intelligent AWD also has a 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine, it only has 182 hp and 178 lb.-ft. torque.

Interior of 2021 Avalon


  • The Avalon has a larger 9-in. touchscreen display and more speakers standard.
  • Plus, you get the addition of Amazon Alexa compatibility in the Avalon.
  • Feel the luxury of standard heated front seats in the Avalon XLE.

Luxury-styled sedans would be nothing without great comfort and multimedia features. To that end, the Avalon base trim with AWD comes stacked with options to enhance your ride.

Multimedia Options

One such feature of the Avalon is the standard 9-in. touchscreen display. The Altima SV with Intelligent AWD only has an 8-in. touchscreen. Same for the Altima Platinum with available Intelligent AWD, which is the Altima's highest trim.

The Avalon XLE AWD also comes with more speakers. It has eight speakers including a subwoofer and an amplifier standard. To kick it up a notch, upgrade to the 2021 Avalon Limited with AWD which has 14 JBL® speakers.

Comparatively, the Altima SV with Intelligent AWD has six speakers standard. Like with the Avalon, buyers can upgrade to the Altima Platinum with Intelligent AWD for improved sound. However, the Altima Platinum’s upgraded Bose Premium Audio System comes with fewer speakers (9 speakers in total).

Not only does the Avalon have a larger array of speakers standard, it also comes with more connectivity options including Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexacompatibility, plus SiriusXM® with a 3-month All Access trial. The Altima SV with Intelligent AWD has most of the same features but misses out on Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Aside from multimedia, the Avalon also has convenience features to keep you comfortable. The 2021 Avalon XLE has standard dual zone automatic climate control with air filter and rear-seat vents. This same feature is only available starting on the Altima SL and higher. Plus, the Avalon XLE has standard heated front seats while heated front seats are only available starting on the Altima SV. They do come standard on the 2021 Altima SL and higher, however.

2021 Avalon driving on wet road at night


  • Toyota vehicles, like the Avalon, come with a factory-scheduled maintenance plan called ToyotaCare.
  • Both Nissan and Toyota offer 24/7 roadside assistance.
  • When you're looking to resell, sell with confidence knowing the Avalon has previously won the Best Resale Value for the Full Size Car category according to

Backed by "Quality, Durability, and Reliability", Toyota goes the extra mile for its customers.

ToyotaCare and Resale

All trims of the Avalon come with a factory-scheduled maintenance plan called ToyotaCare. ToyotaCare lasts two years and 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Nissan has a scheduled maintenance plan as well. However, what it costs and its duration depends on the plan you buy.

ToyotaCare also comes with Roadside Assistance. This lasts for two years and unlimited miles. Nissan's Roadside Assistance lasts 36 months and 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

With Toyota experts there to help with the upkeep of your Avalon, it's no surprise that the 2020 Avalon won the 2020 Best Resale Value: Full-Size Car award from Kelley Blue Book®. It also took the top spot for the Best Large Cars of 2020. The 2021 Nissan Altima ranked number six for Best Midsize Cars.

2021 Avalon parked on a beach

Conclusion: Avalon AWD vs. Altima AWD

  • Combine luxury and performance with the Avalon AWD's 205 hp engine.
  • You not only get 24/7 Roadside Assistance you also get factory-scheduled maintenance with ToyotaCare.
  • The Avalon XLE comes standard with heated front seats and dual zone climate control.

The Avalon and the Altima offer two great options if you're looking for a luxury-styled sedan with great standard features. Only one combines comfort and convenience with power to make your drive a step above.

The Avalon AWD not only offers a stylish ride, there's power under the hood too. With 205 hp compared to the Altima AWD's 182 hp you can feel the difference.

The Avalon XLE has heated front seats and dual zone automatic climate control standard to keep you comfortable in the heat or cold.

What really gives the Avalon the edge is the factory-scheduled maintenance plan and Roadside Assistance that comes with ToyotaCare. The Altima has Roadside Assistance, but it's factory-scheduled maintenance plan is not included. Its cost and coverage depend on the plan you buy.

In the end, there is only one sedan that has what you need: the 2021 Toyota Avalon with AWD.