Toyota first introduced the Camry to the U.S. market in 1983. After more than three decades of reliability, Kelley Blue Book® named it the best selling sedan in America in 2018.
In contrast, Nissan debuted the Altima in the U.S. in 1993. While starting MSRPs match closely, the base-grade Camry L offers more horsepower at 203 HP vs. the Altima S’s 188 HP.
With its slightly better fuel economy, the 2020 Camry could also help save you money at the pump. Furthermore, Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P) and ToyotaCare come standard on the new Camry. Standard active safety features are harder to come by when purchasing a 2020 Altima. Read on in the section entitled "Safety" below to learn more.
Let’s explore how the Toyota Camry stacks up against the Nissan Altima in the categories of safety, performance, and technology.
Published Date: 02/07/2020
2020 Camry trims come equipped with Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P) suite of active safety systems including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD). Starting with higher grades, the 2020 Altima SR does include the comparable feature Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection technology. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert come standard on the Altima SR, but cost extra on the Camry LE.
Both the Camry and Altima earned 5-Star Overall Safety Ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, while the 2019 Altima received a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2019 Camry was awarded the 2019 Top Safety Pick + when equipped with Adaptive LED Headlights.
Camry also received the highest rating possible for crashworthiness and crash avoidance. Plus, Camry comes standard with ToyotaCare: a routine maintenance plan that lasts for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. This also includes 24/7 Roadside Assistance for 2 years and unlimited miles.
Nissan has a prepaid maintenance plan called Security+ Plus®, with prices that range depending on the plan level you buy, and it has options that last as little as 1 year or up to 8 years. However, Camry is the only vehicle in this comparison that offers a routine maintenance plan.
Both the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima offer competitive gas mileage. But the Camry L takes the edge in fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 29/41/34 (city/highway/combined) MPG over the Altima S’s EPA-estimated 28/39/32 MPG.
Both cars’ base drivetrain is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, but the Camry L has higher horsepower with 203 HP vs. the Altima S’s 188 HP. Altima S offers available all-wheel drive, whereas the Camry AWD is expected to be available starting in March 2020.
However, Camry offers a hybrid option at three different trim levels while Altima does not have a hybrid option.
If you want more performance from your car, you can choose the Camry XSE V6 or newly-available 3.5 L V6 TRD trim from the Camry line-up. The 2020 Altima does not have a V6 or more-powerful engine option.
Want more options? You can also consider the 2020 Camry Nightshade special edition option with 18-in. black alloy wheels, black front grille with sport mesh insert, and black side mirrors standard. While the Altima does not have a Nightshade edition, the Altima SR has some similar features like 19-in. aluminum-alloy wheels, a dark chrome v-motion grille, and black outside mirrors.
Many features once considered premium such as Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility now come standard on the 2020 Camry and 2020 Altima. For those craving even more tech capabilities, the Camry SE offers available equipment upgrades that are not available on Altima SR.
These driver-centric features include dual-zone automatic climate control, Qi-wireless compatible charging, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and HomeLink® universal transceiver. The transceiver makes it easier to open your garage door, activate security lighting, or other features from your overhead center console using rolling code technology.
Music fans can even opt for JBL® w/Clari-Fi, which is specifically optimized for the Camry cabin, to use 800 watts and nine speakers to power your playlist. The available audio package on the Camry XLE further allows it to be equipped with Toyota Connected Services which include Safety Connect, Service Connect, Remote Connect, Wi-Fi Connect, and Destination Assist Connect.
To get similar features using NissanConnect® Services, drivers will have to look to the higher cost Altima SL trim.
In the search for your ideal fuel-efficient car, both the 2020 Toyota Camry and 2020 Nissan Altima present competitive examples. In this head to head, we compared both vehicles in the key categories of safety, performance, and interior.
The base-grade Camry L delivers more horsepower with 203 HP vs. the Altima S’s 188 HP. The Camry L also has better EPA-estimated MPG with 29/41/34 (city/highway/combined) over the Altima S’s 28/39/32 EPA-estimated MPG. Camry also offers hybrid engine options while the Nissan Altima does not. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert come standard on the Altima SR. In comparison, standard Toyota Safety Sense® P (TSS-P), Camry’s TSP+ IIHS award for Camrys with Adaptive LED Headlights, and the ToyotaCare factory-scheduled maintenance plan are advantages for the Camry.
Both base trims carry similar price tags (Camry L at $24, 425 vs. Altima S at $24,100). The 2020 Camry XLE (with a starting MSRP of $29,455) offers the Toyota Connected Services suite of available technology features which only come available on the higher-cost Altima SL which starts at $30,240 MSRP. It’s for these reasons and more that we think the winner is clear: the 2020 Camry.