2023 Subaru Legacy Vs Nissan Altima: A Comparison

Subaru Legacy Vs Nissan Altima

Table of Contents

When searching for the perfect midsize sedan, it’s essential to find a vehicle that strikes the right balance between style, performance, and practicality. The Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima are two such contenders, each offering its own unique set of features and characteristics that cater to a wide range of drivers. 

In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the strengths and weaknesses of both vehicles, highlighting their similarities and differences to help you make the most informed decision on which sedan best suits your needs and preferences.

Exterior Design

The Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima each boast distinct exterior designs that set them apart from other vehicles in their class. The Legacy features Subaru’s signature hexagonal grille, paired with sharp LED headlights that give it a bold and modern look. In contrast, the Altima features Nissan’s “V-motion” grille design, along with a sleek, aerodynamic profile that is both elegant and sporty.

Interior Design

Inside the cabin, both the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima offer comfortable and well-designed interiors. The Legacy provides a refined and minimalist layout, with high-quality materials throughout, and a straightforward infotainment system that is both user-friendly and visually appealing. The Altima, on the other hand, focuses on offering a more luxurious feel, with available wood and metallic accents, as well as a sporty, driver-centric cockpit.

Seating

Both sedans comfortably accommodate up to five passengers. The Subaru Legacy is renowned for its roomy interior and generous headroom, making it an ideal choice for taller drivers and passengers. The Nissan Altima also provides ample space, particularly in the rear seats, which offer plenty of legroom. Both vehicles come standard with cloth upholstery, though leather seating is available as an upgrade for those seeking a more premium experience.

Storage

In terms of storage, the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima are both practical choices for families and individuals alike. The Legacy boasts a spacious 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Altima comes in slightly larger with 15.4 cubic feet. Both sedans provide 60/40 split-folding rear seats, which allow for increased cargo capacity when needed.

Performance

Under the hood, the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima each offer their own unique performance attributes. The Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, delivering 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The Altima, meanwhile, is equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, with front-wheel drive as standard.

Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to fuel efficiency, both the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima are strong contenders. The Legacy offers an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, while the Altima is slightly more efficient, with 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Both vehicles have optional engines that provide additional power while sacrificing some fuel efficiency.

Safety

Both the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima are committed to providing drivers with a safe and secure experience on the road. The Legacy comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of advanced driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and pre-collision braking. 

The Altima offers Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which includes features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Both vehicles have been awarded high safety ratings from organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Trim Levels

The Subaru Legacy is available in six different trim levels: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT. The Base trim comes well-equipped with features such as a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and EyeSight driver-assistance technology. As you progress through the trim levels, you’ll find added features such as an upgraded 11.6-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, a Harman Kardon audio system, and a turbocharged engine available in the Limited XT and Touring XT trims.

The Nissan Altima is offered in five distinct trim levels: S, SV, SR, SL, and Platinum. The base S trim includes features like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, push-button start, and the Safety Shield 360 suite. As you move up through the trims, additional features such as an 8-inch touchscreen, a Bose premium audio system, leather-appointed seats, and a VC-Turbo engine option for the SR trim become available.

Pricing

The Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima are competitively priced within the midsize sedan market. The base model of the Legacy starts at around $23,000, while the top-tier Touring XT trim can reach up to $36,000. The Nissan Altima’s base S trim starts slightly higher at around $25,000, with the range-topping Platinum trim coming in at approximately $35,000.

Key Differences

Performance: 

The standard engines in the Legacy and Altima offer similar horsepower and torque, with the Legacy’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine delivering 182 horsepower and the Altima’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 188 horsepower. However, the Altima’s available VC-Turbo engine adds a performance edge, generating 248 horsepower, while the Legacy’s turbocharged engine available in the Limited XT and Touring XT trims produces 260 horsepower.

Fuel Efficiency: 

The Nissan Altima holds a slight advantage in fuel efficiency, with EPA-estimated ratings of 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. The Subaru Legacy comes in close, offering 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. The difference in fuel efficiency may be more pronounced for drivers with longer commutes or who prioritize fuel savings.

Drivetrain: 

One of the most significant differences between the two sedans is the drivetrain. The Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive across all trims, providing added traction and stability in various road and weather conditions. The Nissan Altima is equipped with front-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive available only on select trims.

Final Thoughts

After comparing the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima across various aspects, it’s clear that both vehicles have a lot to offer in the competitive midsize sedan market. The Legacy’s standard all-wheel drive and spacious interior make it a great choice for those who prioritize safety, comfort, and versatility. On the other hand, the Altima’s fuel efficiency, sporty design, and available VC-Turbo engine may appeal to drivers seeking a more performance-oriented and stylish option.

Ultimately, the choice between the Subaru Legacy and Nissan Altima depends on your individual priorities and preferences. By thoroughly evaluating the features and benefits of each vehicle, you can confidently select the sedan that aligns best with your unique requirements and expectations.

Features Breakdown

Subaru Legacy:

  • Exterior Design
    • Hexagonal grille
    • Sharp LED headlights
    • Modern, rugged appearance
  • Interior Design
    • Minimalist layout
    • High-quality materials
    • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Seating and Space
    • Comfortable seating for five
    • Generous headroom and legroom
    • Standard cloth upholstery (leather available)
  • Storage
    • 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space
    • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Performance
    • Standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
    • 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque
    • Available turbocharged engine with 260 horsepower
  • Fuel Efficiency
    • EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway
  • Safety
    • Standard EyeSight driver-assistance technology
    • High safety ratings from NHTSA and IIHS
  • Trim Levels
    • Six trims: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT
  • Pricing
    • Starting at around $23,000 for Base, up to $36,000 for Touring XT

Nissan Altima:

  • Exterior Design
    • V-motion grille
    • Sleek, aerodynamic profile
    • Sporty and elegant appearance
  • Interior Design
    • Luxurious feel with available accents
    • Driver-centric cockpit
    • Larger infotainment screen in higher trims
  • Seating and Space
    • Comfortable seating for five
    • Ample rear legroom
    • Standard cloth upholstery (leather available)
  • Storage
    • 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space
    • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Performance
    • Standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
    • 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque
    • Available VC-Turbo engine with 248 horsepower
  • Fuel Efficiency
    • EPA-estimated 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway
  • Safety
    • Standard Nissan Safety Shield 360
    • High safety ratings from NHTSA and IIHS
  • Trim Levels
    • Five trims: S, SV, SR, SL, and Platinum
  • Pricing
    • Starting at around $25,000 for S, up to $35,000 for Platinum

About Marcus The Car Guy

I've been in car sales and finance for over 20 years, working at the highest volume dealerships in the nation including Fletcher Jones, DCH and more. Want to pick my brain on finding cars, negotiating cars, and structuring car deals?

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