2020 Ford Fusion vs 2021 Nissan Altima

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  • 2020 Ford Fusion

    A black 2020 Ford Fusion is facing left.

    Starting at

    $23,170

    2021 Nissan Altima

    A black 2021 Nissan Altima is angled right.

    Starting at

    $24,300

    175-275Torque (lb-ft)180-273
    16Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)15.4
    43/40Fuel Economy (city/highway)28/39

    Finding the right kind of vehicle for your lifestyle isn't always easy. The process of narrowing down your options usually includes going through the pros and cons of different vehicles and brands until you find one that works. However, the easiest place to start is to decide on what body type you want your vehicle to have. If you are looking for the best midsize sedan option, then you might find yourself comparing the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2021 Nissan Altima

    Fighting a battle against the growing popularity of SUV models, the 2020 Ford Fusion will be the last of the model (at least for the time being). That means that you are going to want to get your hands on this model before it's too late. However, just because the Fusion has been discontinued does not mean that it is not an excellent sedan. What's remarkable about the 2020 Ford Fusion is that it's so feature-rich that it not only holds up incredibly well to the newer model year Altima, but the Fusion even surpasses the Altima in various areas where it counts. Plus, the Fusion also has hybrid options while the 2021 Altima does not. 

  • Performance

    A white 2020 Ford Fusion is shown from the front on a city street after winning the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2021 Nissan Altima comparison.

    Family sedans aren't typically known for their performance, and usually, the comparison would fall to something like fuel economy or safety. But in this case, the performance is actually a significant element for both the 2021 Altima and the 2020 Fusion. The performance of these vehicles encompasses not only how well these vehicles perform on the road but also how well they manage fuel economy.

    The 2021 Altima

    For the 2021 Nissan Altima, it comes in six different trims, with two powertrain options. Both engines are four cylinders, one being a 2.5-liter direct injection engine that produces up to 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 2.0-liter that generates up to 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Both the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines are matched up with a continuously variable transmission, which moderates the right gear ratios to match the rev limits of the engine. This helps the vehicle maintain stable speeds while also reducing the amount of fuel consumption needed to propel the vehicle forward.

    In turn, the Nissan Altima is capable of some commendable fuel economy ranges depending on the trim. The Nissan Altima SR VC-Turbo trim delivers the worst fuel economy ratings out of the six trims, maxing out at 34 miles per gallon on the highway in the front-wheel drive configuration and 25 miles per gallon in the city. The Platinum trim manages 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway in an all-wheel drive configuration, while the SV, SR, and SL trims achieve up to 27 miles per gallon in the city and up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway with front-wheel drive configurations. The S trim manages the best fuel economy rating of 28 miles per gallon in the city and up to 39 miles per gallon on the highway.

    The 2020 Fusion

    The 2020 Ford Fusion is equipped with multiple powertrains as well, spread across eight trims. This includes a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with auto start/stop technology that comes standard on the SE and SEL trims, producing 181 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost gas-powered engine is standard on the Titanium trim, featuring 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. 

    Alternatively, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 175 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Last but not least is a 2.0-liter I-VCT four-cylinder Atkinson hybrid engine and electric motor is available for the 2020 Fusion Hybrid trims, which generates a combined 188 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. That's right; the Ford Fusion has a huge leg up on the Nissan Altima with its available hybrid options. 

    The EcoBoost engines and the 2.5-liter engine come paired with 6-speed automatic transmissions. Certain trims also feature mounted paddle shifters with Ford's SelectShift option. The 2.0-liter Atkinson hybrid powertrain is paired with an electronic continuously variable automatic transmission, also known as an eCVT, to help bolster fuel economy and get the most out of the gas mileage.

    The results are very easily recognizable with the Ford Fusion, with the 2.5-liter capable of managing 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The EcoBoost engines top out at 23 miles per gallon in the city and up to 34 miles per gallon on the highway, while the Atkinson hybrid setup delivers an impressive 43 miles per gallon in the city and up to 41 miles per gallon on the highway, clearly topping out over the 2021 Nissan Altima. Not only does the 2020 Fusion provide more powertrain options, but it also offers much better fuel economy ratings.

  • Interior

    The black interior of a 2020 Ford Fusion is shown.

    For sedans, next to fuel economy and longevity, interior features are probably the next most important item on the list. Many family sedans are defined by how comfortable they are to ride in, what kind of interior convenience amenities they provide, and their technology. After all, families are probably going to spend a lot of time in their car, so it needs to be comfortable. 

    A Look Inside the Nissan Altima

    The 2021 Nissan Altima features a number of nifty interior qualities, from variable intermittent speed-sensitive windshield wipers and illuminated vanity mirrors to remote engine start with intelligent climate control. Other features include power windows, power door locks with auto-locking, as well as a rear door alert, air conditioning with available dual-zone climate control, and an in-cabin microfilter. Some other notable interior features include a tilt and telescoping steering column, 8-way power adjustable driver seat, and available heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and optional carbon-fiber interior trimming.

    Other standard amenities include a robust infotainment suite with Bluetooth hands-free phone support, AM/FM audio system, Android Auto and Apple Carplay support, Siri Eyes Free driving compatibility via voice recognition software, multiple USB ports along with SiriusXM Satellite Radio with wireless audio streaming capabilities. The NissanConnect 8-inch touchscreen display is standard on most trims, while the S trim comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen display. Upper trims come with the premium NissanConnect Services as well as the Nissan Door-To-Door Navigation system for GPS mapping.

    A Look Inside the Ford Fusion

    The 2020 Ford Fusion matches the Altima feature-for-feature with the MyKey push-button start on all trims, and the remote start intelligent access is available on the upper trims. Base trims come with a 6-way manual driver seat and a 4-way manual front passenger seat, while the higher-level trims feature a 10-way power driver seat with lumbar support and an available 6-way power front passenger seat. Dual-zone electronic climate control is also available, along with cabin particulate air filters coming standard across all trims. AM/FM stereo is also standard along with MP3 streaming support, while SiriusXM Satellite Radio is available for select trims. Multiple 4.2-inch configurable LCD touchscreens come standard with digital cluster information support.

    To help make driving easier to manage from the cabin more convenient, the Ford SYNC system and FordPass Connect are made customary. The FordPass allows you to utilize a smart device to stay connected with your Ford Fusion, even when you're not in or near your vehicle. You can utilize the app for remote door lock/unlocks, remote start/stop, and remote scheduling. You can check the Fusion's mileage and fuel level from the smart device app and can connect up to 10 devices to the FordPass app to maintain and monitor the Fusion, bringing vehicular connectivity to the next level. There's also steering with available mounted shift paddles, power locks, auto-dimming rear mirror, compass, and available EcoSelect options for improved fuel efficiency.

  • Safety

    A black 2020 Ford Fusion is parked on pavers in front of town houses.

    Beyond infotainment and performance, a lot of sedan owners – especially with families – need to know that the sedan is safe. It's definitely a good thing to know that both the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima rank high when it comes to safety features. If you need a sedan you can trust, both of these models are great. 

    Safety in the Altima

    On the 2021 Nissan Altima side, it comes with seat belt pretensioners, a LATCH system, as well as multi-mounted airbags for the driver and front passenger side. For driver assistance, the Altima also comes with many features to watch you back. You will get rear cross traffic alerts, rear automatic braking with aided rear sonar system for object detection, and rear view monitoring with Intelligent Around View sensors to monitor what's happening around the vehicle.

    Other safety features in the 2021 Altima include intelligent lane departure warnings, blind spot warnings, ProPilot assistance to ensure the vehicle doesn't drift out of the lane or off the road, forward collision warnings, and cruise control. While dynamic stability and traction control systems help round out the Altima's features, it still comes up short in the areas where the 2020 Ford Fusion has the Co-Pilot360 suite, as well as remote security access and 4G-supported vehicle monitoring.

    Safety in the Fusion

    The 2020 Ford Fusion is powered by the Ford Co-Pilot360 technology, which comes equipped across all trims. Ford Co-Pilot360 features adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go systems, hill start assistance, lane-keeping sensors, pre-collision brake assistance with pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alerts, and the Blind Spot Information System, which offers alerts and warnings of vehicles or objects in the blind spot of the Fusion. There's even an automatic SOS post-crash system that contacts emergency services in case of an accident.

    Multiple airbag systems come standard, from dual front airbags for the driver and passenger side to driver and passenger knee airbags, and even first and second-row side curtain airbags. The lower anchor and tethers anchors are present, along with child safety locks, and both front and rear seat belt pretensioners. The edge goes to the 2020 Ford Fusion when compared to the 2021 Nissan Altima in terms of safety. 

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