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2013 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Mazda 6 vs. 2013 Nissan Altima Comparison Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,112
edited September 2014 in Nissan

Comments

  • agentorangeagentorange Posts: 893
    Those economy numbers for the Altima are stellar. My buddy has an older 4-cyliner as says it returns really good figures on long journeys, especially with the cruise on. However, I have to ask, are you CERTAIN that the Altima was not short filled at some point? Just doing my Devil's advocate thing here. ;)
  • agentorangeagentorange Posts: 893
    Looking again at the test details I wonder if the Honda would benefit from more break in. The other two had 5k+ on the odometer. I also think the Mazda might have performed better if it was on 17 or 18 inch wheels instead of 19s.
  • vflsmitvflsmit Posts: 1
    I just have a question to the editors regarding comparison such as these...

    It seems that the target market is the average mid-size four pot group which can include a lot more choices than the three listed here. I think Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima, Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, and pherhaps a few I can't think of. It seems as if it would be a better article, as in a full picture of what is offered as of now, to include all those cars.

    Is there a reason why some comparison test you guys do that other competing choices are left behind? Just curious.
  • dfelix70dfelix70 Posts: 143
    IL comparisons consistently baffle me. Why compare sedans that have different equipment levels? The Accord's EX-L's mission is luxury, as the "L" indicates. Therefore, its standard tires, as equipped here, are geared towards luxury sedans/coupes. The Altima's tires are geared toward sporty sedans/coupes as are the 6's. Why not use the Accord EX whose standard Michelins are more geared for handling? Or better yet, why not test the Accord Sport which actually has a sport-tuned suspension and better-performing tires?
  • emajoremajor Posts: 332
    The fuel economy of all three on your test loop is impressive, and 40 mpg out of a midsize car is fantastic. And despite your obligatory car-enthusiast tepidity, a 0-60 of under 8 seconds for automatic 4-cylinder family sedans is quick. You don't have to turn in your Car Guy card if you admit that modern 4 cylinders are faster than some of the better V6s from the late 90s. I'm wondering what the point of direct injection is given the performance of this Altima and the Camry 4 cylinder which also lacks it. Doesn't seem to be contributing much. Surprised a Fusion with the 1.6 Ecoboost wasn't included; it is quite new as well and Ford is ballyhooing the power and efficiency of its little turbo. I'm guessing mileage would have lagged behind the others.
  • emajoremajor Posts: 332
    Honda's insipid one-piece folding rear seat could potentially be a deal breaker for me, as much as I love the idea of their manual tranny Sport. For some reason Honda has been stubbornly clinging to this for over a decade, as if botching the utility of a mainstream family sedan were some sort of noble tradition worth preserving. As long as I'm griping, I may as well point out that the exterior styling on this car is one of the laziest efforts I've seen. It's a generic amorphous forgettable blob and it doesn't look any better in person.
  • shatnershatner Posts: 176
    These cars represent by far the best overall value in new cars. Great mpgs, good room, and all the speed a person needs, any more is really just going to get you tickets and let you drive like an a-hole. Heck, these cars are all faster than the 63K Jaguar 4cyl that Edmunds just tested!
    So many people buy cars that they can't really afford and still nobody is really impressed by them. Of course if you are rolling in dough then buy any car that you like, but just because you have the money in your 401k does not mean you can "afford" it.
  • drex2drex2 Posts: 24
    "As long as I'm griping, I may as well point out that the exterior styling on this car is one of the laziest efforts I've seen. It's a generic amorphous forgettable blob and it doesn't look any better in person."

    From my perspective, this is my exact reaction to the Altima. The grill is misshapen and ugly and the lumps over each of the wheels are uninspired and grotesque. I think the funniest comment about it that I read was when one of the mags said that the Altima looked like a Camry that was attacked by bees.

    I also don't get the huge difference in gas mileage here. Every other magazine and website showed the Altima and Accord neck and neck on gas mileage. The mag that I trust the most for gas mileage, Consumer Reports (because their methodology is so exact and consistent), listed overall mileage for the I4 version of these cars as 31 mpg for Altima and 30 mpg for Accord (they haven't published their Mazda 6 review yet). 1 mpg vs. the 5 that Edmunds reports. And it's not just CR... in their comparison, Motor Trend rated the Altima overall mileage at 26.3 vs. the Accord's 25.8. That's .5 (as in POINT 5) mpg difference vs. Edmunds' 5 mpg. Then we have autos.ca, who rated overall mileage for the Altima at 24.5 (second worst in test) and the Accord at 26.7 (best in test).

    Now I know that you're going to see variability between test results, but it's very strange to see 3 or more tests showing Accord with mpg results slightly under to somewhat over Altima. And then there's the elephant in the room, Edmunds' 5 mpg difference. Since such a big deal is being made about the Altima's stellar gas mileage in this test, I thought it was fair to point out that of the major publications that I've referenced, Edmunds' results are significantly off of the norm.
  • jaggreyjaggrey Posts: 0
    I have been waiting for this comparison!! I haven't even read the article yet I'm so excited... lol
  • rem83rem83 Posts: 7
    The gas mileage claims do seem a bit odd. Real world data from fuelly is showing a disparity in the opposite direction - real world 4 cylinder Altimas returning 29.4 (38 cars reporting) while Mazda 6s are returning 31.6 (22 cars reporting) and Accords are returning an even 29 (73 cars reporting)
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    I have started to see quite a lot of the new Altima's on the road. While I think the 6 is the best looking of the 3 (and perhaps the 2nd best in class after the Fusion), the Altima is a very handsome car I would be happy to own. And big time kudos to Nissan for building a car capable of actually achieving the excellent fuel economy claimed on the Monroney Sticker, unlike the Escape 1.6 EcoBoost I drove 1400 miles over the past 4 days that never got within 5 mpg of it's highway rating despite multiple cruise controlled hours on flat highways.
  • bonzjrbonzjr Posts: 44
    All three cars list "regular unleaded" (87 octane) as the required minimum in the specs. You used regular unleaded in the Altima and the 6 per your comparison data. So why was premium unleaded (91 octane, also stated in the comparison data) used in the Accord? You should explain the distinction and rationale in the 'comparison' test. It might lead to a small or meaningless change in the test data and ultimate result (the Accord 'lost' anyway), but the fact is you no longer have an apples-to-apples comparison. And I checked the Honda's owners manual (which Honda makes available in PDF format online) -- there is no distinction made for performance or economy improvements using higher than 87 octane petrol. Or did you simply misstate the octane of the fuel when writing up the test data? Just curious...
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Posts: 606
    I rented a 2013 Altima for two weeks and found two big gripes. First, it's hard to modulate acceleration. At part throttle, the CVT keeps the engine's revs down around 1500rpm, producing very sluggish acceleration. Dig more deeply into the throttle and there's a "rubber band" effect as the engine spools up with lots of noise before the car scoots forward a second later. Second, the fuel economy I got was nowhere close to EPA estimates. Per the trip computer I got 23mpg driving around town and 32mpg on longer highway trips. My calculation at the pump was 26mpg across 600 miles of mixed driving.
  • This seems fishy to me. CR and the EPA have measured the fuel economy of the Accord and Altima within 1mpg of each other. Still impressive for Nissan. I could only imagine what they could have achieved with direct injection.
  • jederinojederino Posts: 0
    Accord's interior has better perceived quality. The exterior is bland, but Accord's reputation will get customers in the door, and the interior will complete the sale. Too bad, because here are two superior options!
  • greenponygreenpony Chicago, ILPosts: 531
    I test drove the same trim level Altima when it first came out last summer. It's the mpg ratings that drew me in. I didn't have a chance to check fuel economy, but I did notice that the rpm's didn't get above 1500 in normal driving. The ride was comfortable. The only other thing I noticed was that the seats were unusually comfortable; the salesman later told me that the seat padding was originally developed for the space program. Regardless, I was impressed enough with the car that I was ready to buy... but my wife wanted an Optima instead. *shrug*
  • drex2drex2 Posts: 24
    Well, if anything, the Optima is much more attractive than the Altima, IMO. :)

    The Accord's CVT works much like your description of the Altima's. The rpm's don't get above 1500 is normal driving, just like the Altima. And in other reviews, the Accord's seats were rated very highly, unlike in this test. They're the most comfortable seats that I've experienced in any car, though I haven't tried the Altima's seats.
  • @Jaggrey: I felt the same as you! I was so excited to see the exact three cars I wanted compared in an Edmunds comparison test. I felt so silly getting excited over such a thing - but, hey, can't front. I did!

    In any case, I'm glad the greatness of
  • drex2drex2 Posts: 24
    "Accord's interior has better perceived quality. The exterior is bland, but Accord's reputation will get customers in the door, and the interior will complete the sale. Too bad, because here are two superior options!"

    Actually, this is the first comparison test that I've read in which the Altima beat the Accord. Other examples: Motor Trend - Accord (2nd of 6), Altima (4th of 6); Car and Driver - Accord (1st of 4), Altima (3rd of 4); Consumer Reports - Affordable family cars - Accord (1st), Altima (8th); Automotive Magazine - Accord (Winner), Altima (eliminated in the first round along with the Camry, Sonata and Optima). So it may be a superior option in the minds of the Edmunds testers and Nissan fans, but many other auto testers seem to disagree. As for Mazda 6, all of the comparisons to Accord so far have been very close, but to date, Mazda 6 has won 2 while Accord has won 1. So these 2 seem to be pretty well matched.
  • @greenpony: I totally agree with you, and you said it perfectly. The Altima's seats are unusually comfortable! That's the first thing I noticed as soon as I sat in it for my test drive and at the NY Auto Show. I've never felt such comfortable seats in
  • dmaloa52dmaloa52 Posts: 1
    Its about time Nissan start getting credit for the Altima, it may not look the best but it sure will surprise you on the road.
  • I'm somewhat disappointed with the SkyActiv in the Mazda 6. In the Mazda 3, it appears the SkyActiv powertrain is really the best in the (compact) class, as per Edmunds' and other reviews.

    But in the Mazda 6, SkyActiv seems to be on the same level or even slightly worse than the competition. I wonder why that is. Some here have stated that the Altima and Accord almost always stay at around 1500 rpm unless under hard acceleration...perhaps that's why?

    All three cars get great fuel economy, so I wouldn't base my decision on that if I were looking to buy a new midsized car. It's just interesting to find SkyActiv not bettering the competition in the 6 like it does in the 3.
  • ctizzlectizzle Posts: 0
    this article woulda had like 100 responses if it was still "Insideline"!!
  • huisjhuisj Posts: 1
    Was the Altima drafting the other two cars on the fuel economy loop? :)
  • sj1417_sj1417_ Posts: 5
    Has there ever been a comparison anywhere, anytime, anyhow, where anyone referred to an Altima as being this much "fun" to drive? I doubt it. As well as the ridiculously high MPG. I guess that's what happens when the manufacturer "provides" Edmunds with the car.

    In any event, this "review" is pretty suspect.
  • Wow... I have been reading IL for a long time and can't remember the last time a Nissan won a comparison test.. I think the 370Z won once or twice when it debuted, but not in any other segment have I seen Nissan at the top. I like it.

    That said, these three are all great vehicles, styling is subjective, but seems to be pretty fair. Of course the mileage seems INCREDIBLY good, maybe too good? On the other hand the perceived quality of the Altima would of been higher if it had leather interior trim. All in all, glad to see the Altima on top, the last generation was great, and obviously this one is fantastic as well.

    Ford fanboys, my money is on when asked to provide a Fusion for the comparison, Ford said thanks but no thanks, knowing they'd get spanked. It wouldn't be the first time it happened.
  • I find it interesting that the Nissan got such incredible mileage against the others in the comparison. It somehow seems in some tests that some cars without direct injection do very well like this Altima and the Camry. Its not as much I doubt that it or Camry give this economy as much as in other comparison perhaps more performance driven have showed the both better drivability and economy with direct injection. I have also not seen a Accord finish below #2 in final results ever. In this trio I favor the Mazda 6 with its style and more driver oriented handling but would live with the Touring trim and save 5k. I wish everyone the best in their shopping..the mid-side family sedan is both diverse and very competitive.
  • greenponygreenpony Chicago, ILPosts: 531
    djefferson: Direct injection's benefit is in allowing more precise metering, better atomization, and a better ability to burn ultra-lean. In theory that should result in a modest fuel economy benefit vs port-injected motors of similar power and displacement. Still, a modern engine's injection system is just one variable among many, many others... it's only part of the equation.
  • Hertz gave us an Altima 2.5 S on a rental two weeks ago that we used for a round trip between the Bay Area and Orange County, about 1000 miles total for the weekend. The overall impression of the three adults along for the ride: yep, that's a car alright. It's hard to think of anything special about our Altima, other than the scratch it came with on the fender that allowed us to tell it apart from the legions of other silver rental Nissans found in SoCal parking lots. If there was anything about the design, ride, handling, steering, power etc. of this car that caused it to rise even slightly above stone cold average, it escaped all of us. Wait, that's not true: the stereo had pretty rocking bass.

    It's pretty sad if this is really the best of what's out there. Oh, and that amazing gas mileage? Not at the standard 80 mph operating velocity on Interstate 5; we barely eked out 25 mpg.
  • zeniffzeniff Posts: 7
    I guess I'm one of those who finds the new Accord a whole lot better looking than the last few generations. I like the looks better than the Altima, which looks a little stodgy.

    But in terms of looks, the 6 takes the cake in a landslide.
  • bb49bb49 Posts: 25
    I have driven all three an my choice would be the Mazda 6 and I applaud Edmunds for being one of the few reviewers to note that the Accord has the most poorly designed trunk/folding seat design that may look good on the spec sheet but really is vastly inferior usage wise to the Mazda and Altima's trunks. The Accords opening when the cost cutting one piece folding seat is down is narrow and is curved at the top corners making the opening even smaller and less useful than the Mazda's larger opening with its much smarter designed split folding seat. The Mazda also has designed housings for the trunk hinges to slide into so that the hinges will not damage any cargo in the trunk. The Accord has exposed hinges which could potentially crush cargo when the trunk is closed. TThe Accord's styling is a poorly executed and totally uninspired combination of copy cat styling from other car makers and the result is a mess that is not pleasing at all. The Accord like all Honda/Acura designs will never win any design awards as Honda needs new design studios. As a long time Honda owner I find the Accord to be a big disappointment as it is not the game changer I expected from a once great car company.
  • adamjfadamjf Posts: 0
    The mileage difference between the altima and the 6 is probably a good part because of the 19 inch wheels. I was reading somewhere (may have been here) where they tested different tire sizes on the exact same car and it can make a significant difference. Slap some smaller wheels on the 6 and it would equal or better that mileage.

    Also interesting is that the observed mileage listed under the specs is better for both the 6 and the Accord. So what is that about?
  • How odd. Usually the least liked car everywhere else wins, and the most liked car everywhere else loses? I'd say the lack of a manual transmission is a deal breaker. While the lack of split folding seats is a tad annoying I'd personally consider that a major point. Granted I don't have kids... As far as styling goes? I still think the Altima remains the most convoluted. I think they wanted something flowing, but fell far short of what Mazda achieved. Accord? Classic vanilla. Moving on... Can we get insideline back?
  • Seems suspicious...either you received some freak of nature Altima or you miscalculated the gas mileage because the EPA, Consumer Reports, and Fuelly.com all report much more realistic figures.
  • My Mazda 6 I-Sport A.T. is getting 37 MPG with mixed driving and only 1200 miles on the ODO. (?)
  • nissmazlovernissmazlover Posts: 162
    Many are up in arms about the Altima's stellar fuel economy showing here on Edmunds' comparison test. And, they're stating that this is the ONLY automotive test and/or comparison that shows the Altima getting such high fuel economy ratings. Well, here's what Consumer Reports says about the subject:

    "The Driving Experience Powertrain: The most impressive part of the Altima is how well the two available engines balance performance and fuel economy. Most Altimas will come with a 2.5-liter, 182-hp four-cylinder that combines better-than-average acceleration with excellent fuel economy. Our tests measured 31 mpg overall and an amazing 44 mpg on the highway -- impressive for a non-hybrid, non-diesel family sedan. These numbers even eclipse the fuel economy of many smaller sedans. Most buyers will have little reason to opt for the more powerful 270-hp V6, but those who do choose it will find very quick acceleration and a very good 24 mpg overall. Both engines run on regular fuel."

    So, there you have it. Edmunds was able to achieve 39.7mpg in the Altima with mixed driving (mostly highway), and Consumer Reports was able to achieve an even HIGHER 44mpg highway, which gives credibility to Edmunds' 39.7mpg and which is outright amazing for a non-hybrid/non-diesel engine. Give kudos where kudos are deserved. ;)
  • kennytkennyt Posts: 1
    We have been looking for a new Sedan as well, and have test drove all 3 of them. The Mazda was the most Fun to drive. The Accord made us yawn, and the Nissan did nothing for us. I guess it's all what's important to you, and in So Cal, we're looking for the fun factor.
  • grinningrinnin Posts: 13
    No mention of it, but I believe the Mazda is still offered with a manual transmission. Seals the deal for me, the Mazda it is.
  • tqking619tqking619 Posts: 2
    Nassmazlover, I think most comments aren't discounting the Altima's ability to get good gas mileage but rather that it gets so much better gas mileage than the 6 and Accord.

    To use your own example of Consumer Reports (which has a standardized course which it runs every vehicle through), the 6 gets 32 mpg overall (22 city/44 hwy) while the Altima gets 31 overall (21 city/44 hwy).
  • This comparison could have been more thorough, for example, the Altima, incredibly, does not offer power passenger seats on any trim! Only the Accord and the Mazda offer Memory seats. Only the Mazda offers Xenon lights with auto Leveling, only the Altima has tire pressure monitors that show each individual tire, etc
  • carpluscarplus Posts: 1
    Hmm.. So far in my 2013 V6 Accord I've been averaging 27 MPG. Yielded over 33MPG in a Santa Barbara - LA loop that sounds consistent with what was described in the comparison.

    Wonder what the letdown with the 4 Cylinders is.
  • Users on both Fuelly.com and fueleconomy.gov reported higher gas mileage on the Mazda 6 than on the Altima. I find the 5mpg advantage hard to believe. I am going to say this Altima is a ringer from Nissan.
  • I like that the Nissan Altima is the winner here because this only happens to be the 2013 version and the new improved 2014 has a revised CVT for better fuel efficiency and better performance. It also is making leaps and bounds with their NissanConnect Navigation by adding more apps that are going to be accessible through use of a smartphone, droid or apple.
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