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2022 Nissan Altima vs 2022 Subaru Legacy

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  • 2022 Nissan Altima

    A red 2022 Nissan Altima is shown facing left.

    Starting at

    $24,750 [a]

    2022 Subaru Legacy

    A white 2022 Subaru Legacy is shown facing right.

    Starting at


    28/39Fuel Economy (city/hwy mpg)27/35
    15.4Max Cargo (cu.ft.)15.1
    43.8Front Legroom (in)42.8

    When it comes to the long list of consumer goods that have been manufactured over the years, it seems the four-door sedan has a staying power unlike any other. The vehicle that comes to mind when the word “car” is mentioned to the average person is more than likely a sedan. There’s a reason for that. While the SUV is currently enjoying an unsurpassed boom in popularity and has become the ideal vehicle for the family-oriented, the four-door sedan has always been the standard go-to for most everyone. Tried, tested, and true, you won’t have to look very far to take notice of a few throughout the course of a busy day, and much like trucks, there are rivalries in the sedan world, like that between the 2022 Nissan Altima vs 2022 Subaru Legacy.

    As with any companies that produce and market goods for the average consumer, there exists a healthy spirit of competition, as each one attempts to offer the very best product on the market for a cost that’s affordable. While the subject of a favorite sedan is subjective and subject to personal preference, today, we’ll be looking at two companies that are offering up a quality sedan. Nissan and Subaru have been in the sedan-making game for a long time, and both companies have produced very successful vehicles for the segment. However, which one of these two sedans should be the next one you add to your garage? Let's find out.

  • Performance

    A red 2022 Nissan Altima is shown parked in a hotel lobby area.

    The very first observation that one makes about the Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy is that their specifications are actually quite similar. Both are adequately priced, equipped with a 2.5L 4-cylinder and an available engine that’s turbocharged for the performance-oriented, and both are equipped with CVTs (continuously variable transmissions). This is no surprise, as both of these sedans occupy the same segment, but it does make choosing between them more of a matter of taste and preference rather than due to a massive disparity in performance.

    So, Which Sedan Has the Best Performance Features for You?

    As with many of the vehicles in their fleet, Subaru equips the Legacy with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Subaru has cornered the market with its technological efficiency found in their drivetrains. Known for having the ability to transfer power to all four wheels in a smooth and refined process, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a driver who’s disappointed with the manufacturer’s efforts to improve performance and handling in any weather conditions.

    Similarly, Nissan also has an advanced all-wheel drive system–Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. This system monitors road conditions and will distribute power accordingly. In ideal conditions, the system will have your Altima operating more as a front-wheel drive vehicle to help improve fuel efficiency. However, when the journey becomes rough or slippery, it starts delivering power to all wheels to help you keep control. This system really gives you the best performance with increased fuel economy where possible and advanced traction and responsiveness when you need it.

    Nissan also has front-wheel drive models if that is what you prefer, as opposed to Subaru, which makes it mandatory across the board. The world is large, and the benefits of all-wheel drive to a driver here in Tennessee aren’t the same for one who live in New England and must deal with a tumultuous snowfall every year. Having more options open offers a product to a wider range of buyers.

    Despite this noticeable difference in the drivetrain offerings, both vehicles are equipped very similarly to one another. However, when you look at the base engine offerings, the Altima beats out the Legacy in terms of fuel economy. The Subaru Legacy gets an average of 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, the front-wheel drive Altima gets around 28 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. Even with the all-wheel drive Altima, you will still see ratings of around 26 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway. On paper, these differences might not appear to be all that significant, but with gas prices just as unpredictable as everything else, every mile counts.

  • Safety

    A close up of the headlight on a silver 2022 Nissan Altima is shown.

    When you’re looking at any vehicle, regardless of if it’s something you would drive or not, there’s nothing more important than taking a close look at the safety features and driver assistance packages that are contained therein. Safety isn’t the job of one or many, but all. We all must do our part and look out for one another. Driving is a privilege and not a right, and as a result, we have an important obligation to adhere to safety. Speaking of, both the Altima and the Legacy have a considerable amount of features that ensure the safety of their drivers, passengers, and the other cars and pedestrians that they share the road with.

    Safety Features of the Legacy

    For the Subaru Legacy, the same amount of attention that the manufacturer placed towards developing an effective drivetrain was applied to the vehicle’s safety. In testing done by the NHTSA, the 2022 Legacy received a 5-star overall safety rating and has a variety of standard safety features. The Legacy includes standard adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning with sway alert, and lane keep assist. However, blind spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System are only accessible on the higher trim levels.

    Safety Features of the Altima

    Nissan has always upheld a reputation as a company that manufactures safe vehicles. The Altima is one of many in a long line of offerings that make safety as standard as possible and don’t treat the necessities that offer peace of mind with a hefty price tag. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, blind spot warning, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert. Quite possibly, the largest advantage that Altima holds in terms of available safety features is its unique and groundbreaking Intelligent Driver Alertness. By monitoring steering patterns from the driver, this smart technology takes note when there’s a change in your steering patterns that are a sign you might be getting drowsy and need a break.

  • Interior

    The black and grey interior of a 2022 Nissan Altima is shown during a 2022 Nissan Altima vs 2022 Subaru Legacy comparison.

    Comfort Considerations of the Altima

    Chances are if you are buying a sedan, you want a vehicle for your everyday commute. As such, that vehicle should have a comfortable and functional interior that you will want to spend time in. As far as being comfortable while you’re on the road, the Altima puts stock in giving its drivers ample legroom to ensure space for those on the taller side of the spectrum. 43.8 inches of legroom outclasses not only the Legacy but competing models from Honda and Toyota as well. Your legs won’t be the only thing that’s super comfortable, as Altima graces the interior with zero-gravity seats. Standard in-cabin microfilters will allow the quality of air to remain uncompromised, which is another offering that Altima has across all trim levels.

    Comfort Considerations of the Legacy

    The Subaru Legacy does have a plethora of creature comforts that are bound to bring contentment to any commute. The only downside is that to get most of them, purchasing a high-end trim level is required. None of the trim levels, except for the very top, are available with a CD player, and the introductory Legacy has sparse accommodations, to put it bluntly. A stereo with only four speakers and an infotainment center that’s scaled down to a 7-inch screen for the introductory trim alone is what one can expect. While this certainly promotes the incentive to “pay more, get more,” it leaves those with average income with very little to upgrade to. Aside from offering some better-quality material for the interior and an available moonroof, there’s very little to separate the different trim levels comfort-wise.

    While the Altima’s interior material also varies among trim levels, each one is comfortable and promotes lumbar support to coincide with its substantial driver and passenger space. Comfort is always subjective, and some drivers prefer some features over others. However, the Altima makes it more accessible on the lower trims, something that the Legacy missed the window on.

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