2017 Honda Accord vs 2017 Nissan Altima
- Horse Power 100% 100%
- Torque 100% 100%
The flagship of the Honda brand, the Accord may not outsell the smaller Civic, but after forty years on the market, it remains one of the top mid-size sedans available. Combining renowned reliability, pleasant power, and an ergonomic, common-sense interior, it continues to impress buyers and critics alike.
Close in its footsteps is the Nissan Altima, a model which got a bit of a late start in the market but that has made great strides over the years. Offering a package that is slightly less well-equipped, but wrapped in pleasant sheet metal, Nissan regularly makes a bid to topple the Accord, but regularly comes up a bit short.
Differentiating between the two can be difficult when you are glancing from one manufacturer’s site to the other, but here, we can give you a side-by-side look at the most important points where the two differ. And side-by-side, it is clear that the 2017 Honda Accord still has the edge on its erstwhile competitor.
Clashing with the CVT
One of the major differences between the two, something that you’ll feel day in and day out, is the transmission. Both the 2017 Honda Accord and 2017 Nissan Altima offer a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), but they go about it in different way… plus, the Accord has a trick up its sleeve.
The difference between the CVTs is that, in the Nissan, paddle shifters and manual shift mode are available only on specific models, and the transmission itself has an odd feeling to it – almost like an electric golf cart. It has immediate pull off the line, but there is no feeling of acceleration beyond that.
The CVT in the Honda Accord, meanwhile, offers sport manual shift mode on all versions, with paddle shifters optional. This allows better control, regardless of the model selected, because you shouldn’t have to pay more for improved control. That’s just crazy.
The trick up the 2017 Accord’s sleeve is the six-speed manual transmission that is standard on most trims. While many competitors have buried the manual transmission or made it available only on expensive trims and high-end luxury vehicle, Honda feels that you should have the option. Granted, it loses a bit of fuel economy versus the hyper-efficient CVTs, but for many drivers, manual is preferred because of the ultimate control and improved experience it provides.
|COMFORT & CONVENIENCE|
|Standard||Dual Zone Climate Control||Not Available|
|Standard||Automatic Climate Control||Not Available|
|Standard||Rearview Camera||Not Available|
- Dual Zone Climate Control 100% 100%
- Automatic Climate Control 100% 100%
- Rearview Camera 100% 100%
Getting that Extra Step
Both the 2017 Honda Accord and the 2017 Nissan Altima offer two different engines with great histories behind them, although the Accord gains an upper hand thanks to improved tuning. At the base level, the Accord has a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5-liter base engine in the Altima, while larger, comes up slightly shorter with 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The bigger difference comes in the “sport” editions of the respective vehicles. Nissan’s Altima SR adds stiffer springs and paddle shifters, but that’s it. The 2017 Honda Accord Sport and Sport Special Edition, on top of an improved suspension and the choice of three different transmissions, also ups the power to 189 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. Not much, but there is a perceivable extra step off the line, and a little extra boost when overtaking.
The available V6 engines see a similar difference. Both clock in at 3.5 liters, but while the 2017 Honda Accord offers 278 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, the Altima trails by 8 horsepower and 1 lb-ft of torque. Again, not much of a difference, but it could be enough in the right situation.
Do the Safety Dance
One of the biggest draws of mid-size family sedans has, classically, been the fact that they are the safest vehicles on the road. The 2017 Honda Accord and 2017 Nissan Altima do nothing to challenge that idea – both have received 5 stars from the NHTSA for overall crash safety. Looking past the big, shiny, “overall” ratings, there are some minor worries.
For instance, the Altima rated three stars for Driver Side Barrier impact and three stars for front-seat combined side barrier and pole impact. The 2017 Honda Accord scored five stars in both. For rollovers, the Altima was rated four stars, at a 10.3% risk, while the Accord was rated five stars with a 9.9% risk. These are small differences, but safety is the last place you want to aim for the lower-rated vehicle.
The final key difference comes with the active safety features. While both offer extensive safety suites utilizing the latest in sensor technology, these systems are limited to only the highest SL trim versions of the Altima – every trim of the 2017 Honda Accord can have the systems added.
|5*||NHTSA Front Side Crash Test||3*|
|5*||NHTSA Rollover Safety Rating||4*|
|Standard||Second Row Head Restraints||Not Available|
|Optional||Electronic Parking Assist||Not Available|
- NHTSA Front Side Crash Test 100% 100%
- NHTSA Rollover Safety Rating 100% 100%
- Second Row Head Restraints 100% 100%
- Electronic Parking Assist 100% 100%
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
From measurements to features, the 2017 Honda Accord stays ahead of the Altima. The Accord offers a better balance of legroom – there is 42.5 inches up front and 38.5 inches in the rear. While the Altima offers 2.5 inches more up front, rear seat passengers lose 2.5 inches, limiting the comfort for your friends and family. The Accord offers two extra inches of shoulder room up front, while they have identical widths for rear-seat passengers. Finally, the Accord gives you .7 extra cubic feet of cargo space.
Features are nearly identical, but quality and availability continue to keep the Altima a step behind. Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control is standard on all Accord models, while it is only available on higher-level Altima trims. Both offer 10-way power adjustable driver’s seats, but the Altima makes you wait until the third trim level, while the Accord offers it on all but the base model. The Accord offers rear outboard seat heating on the Touring trim, while they aren’t available on the Altima.
From the Horse’s Mouth
“Long loved for its faithful reliability, great resale value and inherent ability to please a wide palette of buyers, the 2017 Accord remains a highly recommendable car even as rivals clamor for its benchmark status.” – Kelley Blue Book.
“Being saddled with an old engine and a CVT, Nissan’s engineers were constrained in what they could do to make a sportier Altima.” – Car and Driver
“There’s a reason the Honda Accord is typically a top-three best-selling sedan in the U.S. It’s economical, practical, comfortable, and a little sporting if you get the right model.” – Automobile
- Over all 100% 100%
2017 Honda Accord Sedan is the Winner!
Making that Final Decision
We’re not going to tell you that the 2017 Nissan Altima is a bad car – that would be utter hyperbole. But the fact is, the Altima is consistently just the slightest bit behind the 2017 Honda Accord, while sitting at the same price point. Honda built its brand on reliability and dependability, and that ethos can be seen in the design and engineering of the 2017 Accord. When you want something for your family, you need a brand and a car that works all the time, perfectly, just for you. That just so happens to be the Honda Accord.
Fuel economy estimates and driving range based on EPA test data. Your actual driving distance will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle. Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors. Complete comparison details can be found at https://automobiles.honda.com/tools/compare/models.aspx. Awards and accolade information can be found at https://automobiles.honda.com/awards/
The Accord has just been named one of Car and Driver’s 10Best for the 30th time, giving it more appearances on the list than any other car in the magazine’s history. As our signature vehicle, the 2016 Accord upholds a legacy we started in 1976. With further design refinements and even more efficient performance, it’s our best Accord ever. Again. The 2016 Accord has been named to the list of 16 Best Family Cars of 2016 by Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. Each vehicle was praised for impressive comfort, driving dynamics and family practicality.  For more information, visit www.kbb.com. Kelley Blue Book is a registered trademark of Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. The 2016 Accord Sedan with Honda Sensing™ has been awarded the coveted 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in recognition of its superior crash safety performance. Safety matters most, and the 2016 Accord earned top marks with a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)1.  Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side airbags (SAB).