Nissan Altima Takes Two Top Spots In Consumer Reports' Sedan Showdown

Because of a drop of nearly 10% in fuel economy in this year’s Honda Accord over the previous one, it lost its title as a “Top Pick” for midpriced family sedans in the Consumer Reports Auto Issue this year. The new winner is the Nissan Altima 3.5 SE (V6), which was reviewed by the magazine nearly a year ago. Both the Altima and the previous Accord got 23 mpg, while the new, 2nd-place 2008 V6 Accord gets only 21 mpg.

Not that the Accord is a bad buy—other than fuel economy, the new Accord “easily outperformed all the other vehicles in this test group—and achieved an “Excellent” overall road test score.” (We don’t know if they’re including last year’s Altima test as part of the group.)

The Altima also came out on top in the budget-priced category:

The four-cylinder Altima also claimed the top spot in CR’s ranking of 15 Affordable Family sedans, with a much wider, six-point margin over the Accord [four-cylinder LX-P]. The Kia Optima EX and Toyota Camry LE are ranked third and fourth in that category.

“Nissan Altima Inches Past Honda Accord to Become Consumer Reports’ Top-Ranked, Midpriced…” [Reuters] (press release)
(Kitten approval team photo by abcrumley)

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  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    21 MPG? What kind of leadfeet do they have working at Consumer Reports?

    …holy shit, Road and Track got 16.

  2. TechnoDestructo says:

    Whoops…that was the coupe.

  3. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I’ll take the Accord. The new design is much better than the previous one. And Honda cars are generally more reliable than Nissan cars.

  4. Neurotic1 says:

    That’s the last generation in the pic by the way which had some quality issues. The one in the article is the latest generation that first appeared for the ’07 model year. I guess it can be a pretty good buy if one keeps the options list short, otherwise you’re up in the low G35 territory.

  5. Imhotep says:

    What a complete outrage that they’re feeding the public cars with fuel economy so abysmally low! And Honda is getting worse!?! Nobody should be giving these ass-monkeys their $, but as long as people continue to eat it up, they’ll continue to sell this crap.
    Boycott all sub 30mpg vehicles.

  6. b612markt says:

    I would encourage anyone to give a thought to the Hyundai Sonata I4 or V6. Compare them head-to-head to Camry, Accord, Altima or anything else and you’ll have good reason to check out the Hyundai.

  7. 8abhive says:

    Why is that car running over the giant kittens?

  8. dmolavi says:

    @8abhive: it’s Nissan’s latest ploy: Buy this car or these kittens will get it.

  9. beavis88 says:

    Well for fuck’s sake, these cars have 270bhp monsters under the hood – 21-23mpg doesn’t sound all that bad! Go buy the 4 cylinder instead – we’ve got a 4 cylinder Accord from a couple years back that generally gets 34-35mpg on the highway. Still has 160bhp, too, which is plenty in a car that size for everything but drag racing with my neighbors’ idiot kids. If anybody in this country gave a shit about fuel economy, we’d be driving cars (with reasonable power) getting 40-50mpg. Instead we’re talking about compact sedans pushing 300bhp…DUH!

  10. badgeman46 says:

    @Imhotep: Thats actualy good mileage, considiering the amount of horsepower these cars have. Plus, If I had my way, I’d get rid of all of these MPG standards. Thats right. A less than 5 mph crash on my Corolla cost SIX THOUSAND dollars to repair. Its worth Eight thousand. It is all a result of making ultra light deathtraps that happen to be good on mileage.

  11. char says:

    @badgeman46: We’ve actually been going the other way Badgeman, cars today have far better crash test ratings than anything from 20 years ago, but get worse gas mileage. The Civic CRX from the 80′s got 50mpg on the highway, more than the prius today, but was truly being wrapped in aluminum foil. Safety vs. gas mileage is a tradeoff we’ll have to make.

    In the meantime, I do know where your coming from. My 94 Grand marquis was rearended two years ago by a modern civic.

    Civic = totaled
    Marquis = cracked bumper and bent muffler.

  12. Chairman-Meow says:

    So what you are trying to tell us is that not only does this car get good gas mileage but is very effective at running over kittens by the boatload ?

  13. kpfeif says:

    Fine. Boycot the Accord. Buy the Civic instead. That’s the great thing about Honda – they offer everything. The diesel they’re working on in Japan is supposedly getting 80mpg. They also have hybrids, and their fuel cell car is in advanced prototype (though very very very expensive) phase.

    B612MARKT – that’s great for the consumer. I’ve heard that Hyundai make some great cars. It’s a lesson that American car companies never got. Japan made jokes for cars, put all of their profits into R&D, now they lead the world. Hyundai is doing the same thing.

  14. JustaConsumer says:

    Nissans are not nearly as dependable as Hondas. Consumer Reports can come up with some pretty bizarre results. Every time I buy something they rank as “best” it breaks. When I buy something that gets a low rating it lasts forever and works great. I have no clue how they come up with their ratings.

  15. gniterobot says:

    I just bought an 06 Altima with 12k. CR listed it as a BB for used cars.

    I like the drive and size, I am hoping CR is right about reliability, cus I skipped on the Yota and Hondas.

  16. coaster.n3rd says:

    Buy a Malibu instead. better than all of those vehicles in almost every aspect.

    Anywho… Keep in mind, that 2007 EPA estimates are different from 2008. They reworked the way they estimate these things.

  17. coaster.n3rd says:

    @gniterobot:

    The 2.5 S model of the Altima had engine fire problems last year. Yota’s reputation for quality is pretty bad now. Should have looked at the Accord or Malibu. Both are fantastic.

  18. Mr. Gunn says:

    Speedbump kitties. It takes several because their bones are still soft.

  19. Geekybiker says:

    See, this is why I hate CR. They make choices based on weird things. They admit the Accord is a better car in all ways but a minor difference in fuel economy and the Accord loses.

    As for the loss of fuel economy, the 2008 models are rated with the new EPA fuel standards. Pretty much all honda models took a dive across the board because of that. Even identical models unchanged (mechanically) from 2007.

    Good for Nissan, but I’ll still chalk this one up to a flawed CR review system.

  20. Heyref says:

    @dmolavi:
    Morbo loves kittens.

  21. brandiniman says:

    CR is horrible, Car and Driver gives a much better picture of what the feel of the car is and everyday use quirks and the like. I just bought a used Mazda 6i and I love the crap out of it.

  22. LibidinousSlut says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: I’m driving a 1989 Nissan Stanza that’s never had a serious mechanical problem. (It’s only been owned by my family), and my roommate drives a 91 altima…if this is unreliable I’ll take it.

  23. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @b612markt: Yep I have a 07 Sonata I bought in the summer of 06. No problems great ride and no issues. This is my 3rd Hyundai and I haven’t had a mechanical issue yet.

  24. inspiron says:

    in 1908, ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO ford came up with a car called the “model T” It got 25 miles per gallon.

    Why does the 1987 grand marquis weigh 300lbs LESS than the 2007 model (the platform has not changed since 1979)

    1985 Mercury lynx could achieve 40-50 mpg
    1981 Honda accord could achieve 45-55 mpg

    use of lighter weight high strength steel, plastics, greater use of aluminum and fiber glass do not seem to have outmatched the increased number of government mandated safety systems, air bags and emissions systems and the consumers wanting for powerful cars with all kinds of nanny features and electronic gizmos.

    Everything has a price!

  25. hossfly says:

    BY JUSTACONSUMER AT 10:13 AM Nissans are not nearly as dependable as Hondas.
    I think different: got to askmehelpdesk.com and see how many hits are for Honda vs Nissan……
    By the way, yes i own a ’89 Nissan which i still drive and it has 251,000 miles and still going strong…

  26. Buran says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I’ve noticed that too. Car magazines will go on and on about how we need to get environmentally responsible … and then you read reviews full of editors focusing on performance, comfort, gizmos, etc. etc., and never any mention of “how we drove in such a way to save fuel with this vehicle”.

    That and they continuously glorify SUVs and large cars that aren’t absolutely necessary.

  27. Buran says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Sorry, I’ll stick with automakers whose reputation for design and reliability aren’t at the bottom of the landfill.

  28. GearheadGeek says:

    @Buran: actually GM’s quality/reliability numbers have been improving significantly in recent years, and their recent design work is pretty good. I’m not a huge domestic fan (I drive a Subaru Legacy GT Wagon) but I must say that the Aura and Malibu represent huge improvements for GM. If either were available as a wagon they might make my list of interest, but that’s just because I’m a wagon bigot. ;)

  29. GearheadGeek says:

    @Buran: Also, you’re a GTI driver, right? That’s a bit of a glass house on the reliability front, but it gets great points for design. I’d probably be driving one if it hadn’t taken VW 2 years to bring the Mk.V cars to the US, and longer still to finally offer 5-door GTIs. My Subaru has proven more reliable (and faster!) than any of my VWs ever were.

  30. kingoftheroad40 says:

    I bought a 2005 Toyota pickup for 21k a year latter the same dealer i got it from said it was only worth 13k it had 20k miles .
    i got the Honda odyssey from the Honda dealer they gave me 18k for the yota and i thought dodge had the worst resale .
    i see just as many Honda’s Nissan’s and yotas on the road as i do ford and gm it is all how you take care of a car.

  31. JayXJ says:

    Can’t argue with this too much. I rented one while my car was in the shop for about a week last year. Good pick up for a 4 banger and a nice amount of interior room. I’ve also had really good luck from Nissan in the past.

  32. asscore says:

    I like how they didnt test it against any cars that are worth a shit. Wouldn’t an Audi A4, Volkswagen Jetta/Passat, and bmw 3 series all qualify as “midpriced family sedans”?

  33. GearheadGeek says:

    @asscore: Base MSRP on an A4 or 3-series is nearly as much as a maxed-out Accord, Altima or Camry. Personally I think I’d prefer the A4, but they’re not really competitive cars. Size range yes, mid-priced no. The Jetta is spot-on, but it’s a niche car and CR hates VWs. Then again they used to preach about how no one needed a V6 and everyone should buy the wimpiest 4cyl available, maybe they were afraid people would stop listening to them.

  34. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The kittens are cute!

    There’s just more profit to be made on loaded V-6 Accords (loaded with all the toys) than there is on stripped down models with 4-bangers. The automakers only care about mileage if you do..if you’ll buy it, they’ll sell it to you, whether it gets 10 MPG or 40 MPG.

    Does anyone else remember when the Accord was a well-built and uber-reliable economy car and not a 4-door road-going luxury liner?

  35. Buran says:

    @GearheadGeek: As am I – I have a 5-door VW GTI. Amazingly practical and efficient (the 2.0T DSG is quite nice and I don’t drive like a leadfoot). I’m annoyed the Dodge Magnum wagon is going away while the 300 sedan is staying around. I’m annoyed that more vehicles aren’t available as wagons. Like the Accord. We used to get a wagon version. The TSX (Accord in Europe) is available as a wagon — elsewhere.

  36. Buran says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: Our family only last year got rid of our 1988 Accord LX-i (now EX) and then only because the engine block cracked and the engine caught fire.

  37. Buran says:

    @GearheadGeek: Whoops, didn’t see this. I have had NO problems with any of the 3 VWs I’ve owned, but I don’t mod them (well, engine/drivetrain anyway) and I take good care of my cars, do all maintenance, and don’t abuse them. I’ve never had a major problem with anything I’ve owned actually.

    Also, it’s ALWAYS taken VW 2 years to bring over whatever comes out in Europe, but now that the Golf/Rabbit/GTI is made in Europe for the US market we may get it at the same time at last.

    I’m getting lousy mileage at the moment compared to what I usually get. I’m not sure yet if it’s the cold weather or the winter mix gas. I think it’s the weather, though — we had a warm spell a few days ago and I seem to recall seeing higher mileage numbers too.

    Subarus are good. I have a friend who has one. I just really like VW’s usability, looks, and practicality.

  38. GearheadGeek says:

    @Buran: I owned an ’88 Golf GT from 1989 into 1997 and didn’t have any problems except normal “older high-mileage car” issues, and one mysterious exploding rear glass event. In 1997 I bought a Jetta GLX (the VR6 MK.III) and kept it until I moved to Italy in 2000. I had coil-pack problems that I eventually got fixed because I’m a mechanic’s son and an absolute stubborn bastard about warranties. When I returned to the states in 2001, I bought a 1.8T GTI that I drove until I bought the Subaru in 2005. I had coil-pack issues with the GTI, had the window lifts fixed before the glass fell into the doors a) because the 2-doors were a bit less susceptible and b) because I kept up with the issues others were having (VWVortex) and pushed my dealer to fix that. There were some other little weirdnesses that they could never fix… like the cold-start stumble every time the weather went from warm to cold while the car was turned off, and the fact that if I opened the driver’s door before turning off the key, the alarm would not set until I opened and closed the rear hatch.

    None of the 3 VWs had its initial battery last much past 2 years (that’s about 40k miles for me.) None of them required a replacement of the aftermarket battery I bought, though (which says VW puts shit batteries in.)

    I had EXCELLENT luck with my VWs overall, and I would’ve considered a 5-door Mk.V GTI when I was last in the market, which had been on sale in Europe for 8 months or so at that point. I did test the A3 on the same day that I drove the Legacy GT, and frankly the A3 didn’t compare well, so I might’ve gone Subaru anyway.

    Still, I realize that my experience wasn’t representative, and that LOTS of people had worse experiences with their dealers (including the dealers I was using.) I attribute that to being stubborn enough and knowledgeable enough to force them to do what’s right. I still stand by my statement that VW gets high marks for design, but has not shown itself to be a high-reliability marque over the last 15 years. I’m glad you’re having good luck with the Mk.V, I may have to go back to VW/Audi someday when I need to replace my Legacy since Subaru doesn’t think they need to offer a proper wagon for now.

  39. Buran says:

    @char: Cars crumple to save the lives of the people in them. You’re driving an outdated (no kidding, the GM is really long in the tooth) death machine that will just ram right through anyone it hits.

  40. Buran says:

    @GearheadGeek: I had 2.0s (non T) and no problems; the coil pack problems were a recall defect, as was the window regulator. I didn’t have coil packs but I did have the window fall, which was fixed for free under warranty with new metal parts instead of the plastic ones used previously. Never had that problem again. Those who had coil packs replaced with updated parts also never had the problem again. I never had the cold-start stumble but I had the alarm weirdness too (and found the same fix, even though I’m also on vwvortex I discovered the answer on my own). You just got the common MkIV gremlins that were eventually exorcised for good around 2002-3. I replaced my batteries too, no big deal; just a one-time investment for a good one and no worries ever again. You shouldn’t have had to spend anything to have the recall issues fixed; I hope you didn’t pay?

    I haven’t heard any major consistent complaints about the MkV yet since it came out in 05.

    I think VW is mostly suffering from the unfairly-bad reputation it got for the above-mentioned problems which were all fixed for free under recall yet still used as a justification to point fingers and scream “JUNK!!!!” by people who don’t realize that it’s not so bad to drop the car off in the shop, oh, twice over 6+ years, and not have to pay, than it is to deal with some makes that seem to have chronic, consistent problems (most people I know who have domestics regret the choice, although a few models, mostly newer ones, do have good reputations, yes), yet people keep going back to those makes for some reason.

    And the fit, finish, and refinement of the new car over the last one is pretty good. I got the last year before the dual zone climate control went away and with me being from MO and my bf from FL, it’ll get a lot of use once we’re living together. I’d still recommend the current version (yg17 has one of those, and is happy with it) even though the climate controls got simplified; not everyone will have a real need for the dualzone.

  41. Buran says:

    @Geekybiker: True on the new rating system. I just want to interject that it’s nice to see attention finally paid to fuel economy; see my gripe above about the usual car-mag “you can tell we’re not paying for our own gas, the company does” priorities.

  42. Buran says:

    @kingoftheroad40: Depreciation is always the worst during the first year. It’s why, if you don’t have your heart set on a custom-built car (as I did) or the model you want is not available in earlier years (as was also the case for me) and you believe it will be hard to find due to high demand (yup, that too), or otherwise can find what you want, a one- to three-year old used car is a good financial bet.

  43. markio says:

    Comsumer Reports…lol!! They are a joke of a magazine. Do they really even drive the cars, or just go with the highest bidder? They bash my car on there, and I disagree with about everything that they said. I have the “botton of the list” Avenger, and I love the heated comfy seats, it hugs the road like a champ, and it sure looks purdy. (and a lifetime powertrain warranty, and lifetime b to b that I bought) I guess I will just have to accept the fact that I buy junk and have no idea what I am doing when I test drive.

    [www.avengerforumz.com]

    If you want to see her.