Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Hyundai SONATA VS 2018 Nissan Altima Near Washington, NC

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2018 Hyundai SONATA

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2018 Hyundai SONATA

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2018 Nissan Altima

Safety Comparison

The Sonata SEL/Limited’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Altima doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Sonata and the Altima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Sonata is safer than the Nissan Altima:







5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Stress

164 lbs.

216 lbs.

Neck Compression

49 lbs.

59 lbs.




5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

51 lbs.

62 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

31/73 lbs.

537/329 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Hyundai Sonata is safer than the Nissan Altima:





Front Seat


5 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

184 G’s

Hip Force

408 lbs.

493 lbs.


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

17 inches

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

42 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 20 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty Comparison

The Sonata comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Altima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Altima. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Altima ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Sonata’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Altima’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sonata has a standard 608-amp battery. The Altima’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 6 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine Comparison

The Sonata 2.0T’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 251) than the Altima 3.5’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Sonata Eco is faster than the Altima 2.5:




Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

7.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.4 MPH

88.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Sonata 2.0T gets better fuel mileage than the Altima 3.5 (23 city/32 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Sonata’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Altima:



Sonata 2.0T


Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.7 inches

The Sonata stops much shorter than the Altima:





70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

188 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Sonata has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Altima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Altima (110.4 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Altima.

The Sonata Sport 2.0T handles at .81 G’s, while the Altima 2.5 SV pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sonata Sport 2.0T executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Altima 2.5 SV (27.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sonata’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Altima’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Hyundai Sonata amounts to more than styling. The Sonata has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Altima (.265 to .288) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Sonata is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the Altima is rated a Mid-size.

The Sonata has 4.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Altima (106.1 vs. 101.9).

The Sonata has .4 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more front hip room, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Altima.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Sonata has a larger trunk than the Altima (16.3 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Altima doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

When two different drivers share the Sonata Limited, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Altima doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Sonata Limited/Sport 2.0T’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Altima doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Sonata and the Altima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonata is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Altima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sonata’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Altima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Sonata Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Altima doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Sonata Limited offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Altima doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Altima doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Sonata owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sonata will cost $880 less than the Altima over a five-year period.

The Sonata will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Sonata will retain 43.1% to 49.46% of its original price after five years, while the Altima only retains 34.31% to 42.74%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sonata is less expensive to operate than the Altima because it costs $63 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sonata than the Altima, including $88 less for a starter, $149 less for fuel injection, $122 less for a fuel pump, $31 less for front struts and $462 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Sonata will be $1083 to $2348 less than for the Nissan Altima.

Recommendations Comparison

The Hyundai Sonata has won recognition from these important consumer publications:




Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



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