2020 Nissan Altima Vs. 2020 Kia Optima

By Justin Cupler | July 16th, 2020

Midsize sedans are no longer the slow sleds they were years ago. Today, models like the 2020 Nissan Altima and 2020 Kia Optima offer surprising performance and superior drivability. Which of these sleek and sporty sedans is the better option for your Saginaw area family? Continue reading to find out.

Exterior

In 2019, Nissan launched the all-new Altima, bringing in a longer, lower hood and a wider, lower, and bolder V-motion grille. The roofline boasts a sleek swoopiness, a C-pillar that flows deep into the rear shoulders for a coupelike look, and a floating setup. Around back, the Altima boasts wraparound taillights and dual circular tailpipes.

 

 

The Altima takes on a sportier approach in its SR trim with a dark-chrome V-motion grille, black accents, and 19-inch wheels.

 

In 2016, the Optima went through a full redesign that was more of an evolution than a revolution. Generally, this would result in a dated look, but the Optima was already a great-looking sedan and just needed a little massaging to improve it. This sedan boasts a sleek and smooth look that appears shaped by the wind.

 

Like the Altima, the Optima has a sportier model in its SX 2.0T model that includes gloss-black 18-inch wheels, gloss-black mirrors with LED turn signals, gloss-black side-sill moldings, a gloss-black honeycomb grille, gloss-black rear spoiler, red brake calipers, and a chrome “Turbo” fender garnish

 

 

In terms of sizing, the 2020 Altima is nearly 2 inches longer and 0.3 inches narrower. This longer body may make it difficult to park in tight spaces.

 

The 2020 Nissan Altima’s standard exterior features include 16-inch steel wheels with bolt-on hubcaps, active grille shutters, auto-on/off halogen projector headlights, body-color power mirrors, chrome V-motion grille, chrome door handles, and a body-color rear diffuser.

 

The 2020 Kia Optima’s standard features are more robust and include 16-inch alloy wheels, projector-beam headlights, LED daytime running lights, front escort light system, automatic-on/off headlights, an LED high-mounted stop light, power mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, bright-chrome window trim, body-color door handles with chrome accents, a matte-gray mesh grille, and a chrome fender garnish.

 

Measurement 2020 Nissan Altima 2020 Kia Optima
Length (in.) 192.9 191.1
Width (in.) 72.9 73.2
Height (in.) 56.7 to 57.4 57.7
Wheelbase (in.) 111.2 110.4
Ground Clearance (in.) N/A 5.3
Curb weight (lbs.) 3,208 to 3,438 3,230 to 3,558

 

Advantage: 2020 Nissan Altima

  •       Sportier base looks
  •       Bold grille

Advantage: 2020 Kia Optima

  •       Sleek looks
  •       More standard features

Interior

Inside, the 2020 Nissan Altima boasts a clean look with limited HVAC knobs and buttons, a floating infotainment screen, and a wide dash applique. Add to that a flat-bottom steering wheel and a wide center console. Moving into higher trims, buyers are treated to supple leather upholstery, a premium audio system, updated infotainment system, and more.

 

The 2020 Optima’s cabin is far more traditional with its dash-integrated touchscreen infotainment system. Buyers who upgrade to the SX 2.0T model will get a touch of sportiness with its flat-bottom steering wheel, black-and-read leather seating, and red contrast stitching.

 

 

As for standard features, the 2020 Altima comes standard with power door locks with automatic locking, keyless unlock and ignition, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, an eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, carbon-fiber-look interior trim, an 8-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, Siri Eyes Free, hands-free text messaging, Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming, a six-speaker AM/FM audio system, Two USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and SiriusXM® satellite radio.

 

 

The 2020 Kia Optima’s standard equipment matches nearly all these features, but it lacks the standard power driver’s seat.

 

When looking for a roomy sedan, the Nissan Altima and Kia Optima are great options. The Optima offers slightly more front headroom and lots more front legroom. In the rear seats, these sedans are nearly identical, and the same goes for their respective trunk space.

 

Measurement 2020 Nissan Altima 2020 Kia Optima
Front headroom (in.) 39.2 (w/o sunroof)/38 (w/ sunroof) 39.8
Front legroom (in.) 43.8 45.5
Front shoulder room (in.) 58.2 58.1
Front hip room (in.) N/A 56
Rear headroom (in.) 36.9 (w/o sunroof)/36.7 (w/ sunroof) 37.8
Rear legroom (in.) 35.2 35.6
Rear shoulder room (in.) 57.1 56.4
Rear hip room (in.) N/A 56
Cargo room (cu. Ft.) 15.4 15.9

 

Advantage: 2020 Nissan Altima

  •       Sporty flat-bottom steering wheel
  •       Clean dashboard design
  •       Loads of standard features

Advantage: 2020 Kia Optima

  •       Traditional-looking cabin
  •       Great value
  •       Significantly more front-seat room

Performance

Family sedans have moved to a point where they now offer surprising performance but also still offer thrifty base models. The 2020 Altima comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with up to 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a continuously variable transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. This results in an 8.4-second 0-to-60 time and up to 39 mpg highway.

 

 

The 2020 Kia Optima’s base 2.4-liter engine offers 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque that pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine ships power to the front wheels for a 7.5-second 0-to-60 time. This engine delivers up to 35 mpg highway.

 

 

Optionally, buyers can add a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the SR and Platinum trims that delivers 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a CVT and ships power to the front wheels for a stellar 5.9-second 0-to-60 time. This powertrain is pretty thrifty too with up to 34 mpg highway.

 

The Kia Optima has a pair of optional turbocharged engines. One is the more eco-focused 1.6-liter four-cylinder that injects 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque for a 7.5-second 0-to-60 time. This engine pairs to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and they combine to deliver up to 37 mpg highway.

 

The 2020 Optima’s range-topping engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot that delivers 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination delivers a 6.7-second 0-to-60 time and up to 30 mpg highway, losing big time in performance and economy to the turbo Altima.

 

2020 Nissan Altima 2020 Kia Optima
Standard engine 2.5-liter 4-cyl 2.4-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 188 hp (FWD)/182 hp (AWD) at 6,000 rpm 185 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft (FWD)/178 lb-ft (AWD) at 3,600 rpm 178 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm
Transmission CVT 6-spd automatic
Driveline FWD (std)/AWD (opt) FWD
0-60 time 8.4 seconds 7.5 seconds
MPG City S, SV, SL: 28 (FWD)/26 (AWD)

 

SR, Platinum: 27 (FWD)/25 (AWD)

25 (LX)/24 (S, Special Edition)
MPG Highway S, SV, SL: 39 (FWD)/36 (AWD)

 

SR, Platinum: 37 (FWD)/35 (AWD)

35 (LX)/32 (S, Special Edition)
MPG Combined S, SV, SL: 32 (FWD)/30 (AWD)

 

SR, Platinum: 31 (FWD)/29 (AWD)

29 (LX)/27 (S, Special Edition)
Optional engine 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl 1.6-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower 248 hp at 5,600 rpm 178 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque 273 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm 195 lb-ft at 1,500-4,500 rpm
Transmission CVT 7-spd dual-clutch
Driveline FWD FWD
0-60 time 5.9 seconds 7.5 seconds
MPG City 25 27
MPG Highway 34 37
MPG Combined 29 31
Optional engine N/A 2.0-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower N/A 245 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque N/A 260 lb-ft at 1,350-4,000 rpm
Transmission N/A 6-spd automatic
Driveline N/A FWD
0-60 time N/A 6.7 seconds
MPG City N/A 21
MPG Highway N/A 30
MPG Combined N/A 24

 

Advantage: 2020 Nissan Altima

  •       Huge fuel economy across the lineup
  •       Superior top-level performance
  •       Available all-wheel drive

Advantage: 2020 Kia Optima

  •       Quicker base model
  •       Thrifty 1.6 turbo in the middle

Pricing and Features

The 2020 Nissan Altima includes seven trim levels – S, SR, SV, SL, Platinum, SR VC-Turbo, Platinum VC-Turbo – and their starting prices range from $24,100 to $35,180.

There are six trim levels making up the 2020 Optima lineup: LX 2.4, S 2.4, SE 2.4, EX 1.6T, EX Premium 1.6T, and SX 2.0T. Their starting prices range from $23,190 to $31,990.

2020 Nissan Altima Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $24,100

  •       2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Xtronic CVT
  •       Brake assist
  •       Electric power steering
  •       Active ride control
  •       16-inch steel wheels with bolt-on hubcaps
  •       Active grille shutters
  •       Auto-on/off headlights
  •       Halogen projector headlights
  •       Body-color power mirrors
  •       Chrome V-motion grille
  •       Chrome door handles
  •       Body-color rear diffuser
  •       Air conditioning
  •       Cruise control
  •       Power door locks with automatic locking
  •       Keyless unlock and ignition
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Illuminated vanity mirrors
  •       Eight-way power driver’s seat
  •       60/40 split-folding rear seats
  •       Cloth upholstery
  •       Carbon-fiber-look interior trim
  •       Driver-information center
  •       8-inch touchscreen display
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Android Auto™
  •       Siri Eyes Free
  •       Hands-free text messaging
  •       Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming
  •       Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Auxiliary audio input jack
  •       Two USB Type-A ports
  •       Two USB Type-C ports
  •       SiriusXM® satellite radio
  •       Vehicle security system
  •       Forward-collision warning
  •       Automatic emergency braking
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Driver alertness monitor
  •       Hill-start assist
  •       Rear-door alert

SR: $25,700

  •       All S features, plus
  •       Paddle shifters
  •       Sport-tuned suspension
  •       19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  •       LED headlights with signature lighting
  •       Dark chrome V-motion grille
  •       Body-color door handles
  •       Black outside mirrors
  •       Charcoal rear diffuser
  •       Dual chrome exhaust finishers
  •       Sport cloth seat trim
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Leather-wrapped shift knob
  •       Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert
  •       Rear sonar
  •       Rear automatic braking
  •       High-beam assist

SV: $27,880

  •       All SR features, plus
  •       Electronic parking brake
  •       17-inch alloy wheels
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Acoustic-laminated glass
  •       Chrome door handles
  •       Body-color mirrors
  •       Body-color rear diffuser
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Rear passenger air vents
  •       Passenger’s side one-touch-up/down power window
  •       Remote ignition with intelligent climate control
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       HomeLink universal home remote
  •       Driver’s seat power lumbar support
  •       Standard cloth seating
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Heated steering wheel
  •       Piano-black interior trim
  •       ProPilot Assist
  •       Lane-keep assist
  •       Automatic brake hold

SR VC-Turbo: $29,750

  •       All SR features, plus
  •       2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  •       Heated outside mirrors
  •       Power moonroof
  •       Driver’s seat power lumbar
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Active noise cancellation

SL: $30,240

  •       All SV features, plus
  •       Traffic-sign recognition
  •       Four-way power passenger’s seat
  •       Leather-appointed seats
  •       Wood-tone trim
  •       Navigation
  •       SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link®
  •       NissanConnect® services powered by SiriusXM®
  •       Nissan Voice Recognition
  •       Bose® premium six-speaker audio system
  •       HD Radio™

Platinum: $32,180

  •       All SL features, plus
  •       19-inch aluminum wheels
  •       Memory system for mirrors
  •       Interior ambient lighting
  •       Memory for driver’s seat
  •       360-degree camera

Platinum VC-Turbo: $35,180

  •       All Platinum features, plus
  •       2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  •       Active noise cancellation

2020 Kia Optima Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX 2.4: $23,190

  •       2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  •       Six-speed automatic transmission
  •       Eco/Sport drive modes
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       Electric power steering
  •       16-inch alloy wheels
  •       Projector-beam headlights
  •       LED daytime running lights
  •       Front escort light system
  •       Automatic-on/off headlights
  •       LED high-mounted stop light
  •       Power, heated, black-base mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  •       Bright-chrome window trim
  •       Body-color door handles with chrome accents
  •       Matte-gray mesh grille
  •       Chrome fender garnish
  •       Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  •       Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  •       3.5-inch black-and-white driver-information center
  •       Ambient temperature display
  •       Digital clock
  •       Overhead console with sunglasses holder
  •       Front console with two power ports, a USB port, and auxiliary input
  •       Silver metallic inside door handles
  •       Metal paint power window switch and center console trim
  •       Door scuff plates
  •       Black cloth seating
  •       Six-way manual driver’s seat with two-way lumbar
  •       Six-way manual passenger’s seat
  •       60/40 split-folding rear seats
  •       Air conditioning
  •       Cruise control
  •       Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system
  •       8-inch color touchscreen
  •       Android Auto™
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Bluetooth® connectivity
  •       Power front and rear windows
  •       Power door locks
  •       Remote keyless entry
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Blind-spot monitoring
  •       Rear cross-traffic alert
  •       Reverse parking sensors
  •       Forward-collision warning
  •       Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  •       Lane-departure warning
  •       Lane-keep assist
  •       Driver-attention monitor
  •       Automatic high-beam headlights

S 2.4: $24,690

  •       All LX 2.4 features, plus
  •       Machine-finished 18-inch alloy wheels
  •       Projector fog lights
  •       LED taillights
  •       Gloss-black side-sill molding
  •       Gloss-black mesh grille
  •       Chrome dual-exhaust tips
  •       Body-color rear spoiler
  •       Black cloth-and-leatherette-trimmed seats
  •       10-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support
  •       Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  •       Smart key with keyless unlock, ignition, and trunk opening
  •       Power front windows with auto-up/down

Special Edition 2.4: $26,190

  •       All S features, plus
  •       18-inch gloss-black wheels
  •       Gloss-black outside mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators
  •       Gloss-black door pillar and frame cover
  •       Panoramic sunroof
  •       LED interior lighting
  •       Black leather seating
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Heated steering wheel

EX 1.6T: $26,990

  •       All S 2.4 features, plus
  •       1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  •       Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  •       17-inch unique-finish machined-alloy wheels
  •       Acoustic front-door windows
  •       Gloss-black door pillar and frame cover
  •       Gloss-black side-sill moldings
  •       Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  •       Front door mood lighting
  •       Satin-chrome inside door handles
  •       Wood-grain power window bezel and console trim
  •       Electronic parking brake
  •       Heated front seats
  •       Leather-wrapped shift knob
  •       Dual-zone automatic climate control
  •       Rear air-conditioning vents
  •       Automatic de-fog system
  •       UVO Link infotainment system
  •       SiriusXM® satellite radio
  •       Front and rear USB charging ports
  •       Wireless charging
  •       Adaptive cruise control with stop and go

EX Premium 1.6T: $29,990

  •       All EX 1.6T features, plus
  •       Panoramic sunroof
  •       Ambient lighting
  •       Overhead LED lighting
  •       12-way power driver’s seat with four-way lumbar
  •       10-way power passenger’s seat with two-way lumbar
  •       Two-position memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors
  •       Ventilated front seats
  •       Heated steering wheel
  •       Navigation
  •       HD Radio
  •       Harman Kardon® QuantumLogic® premium surround-sound system with 10 speakers

SX 2.0T: $31,990

  •       All EX Premium 1.6T features, plus
  •       2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  •       Six-speed automatic transmission
  •       18-inch gloss-black alloy wheels
  •       Temporary spare tire
  •       LED headlights with auto leveling
  •       LED fog lights
  •       Gloss-black mirrors with LED turn signals
  •       Gloss-black side-sill moldings
  •       Gloss-black honeycomb grille
  •       Gloss-black rear spoiler
  •       Red brake calipers
  •       Chrome “Turbo” fender garnish
  •       4.3-inch color driver-information center
  •       Satin-chrome interior accents
  •       Gloss-black power window switch bezels
  •       Metal hairline center console trim
  •       Black-and-red leather seating
  •       Flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching and “SX” emblem
  •       Low-beam assist

Who Should Buy the 2020 Nissan Altima

For buyers looking for a legit sporty look with the performance to match, the 2020 Nissan Altima delivers with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. On the flip-side, buyers seeking optimal fuel economy will find this in the 39-mpg-highway Altima with the 2.5-liter engine. Also, the Altima is one of the few in its class offering all-wheel drive.

 

Who Should Buy the 2020 Kia Optima

Buyers who want a sleek look with minimal drama will prefer the 2020 Kia Optima. Its looks are far from dramatic but still stunning. Also, buyers who want to combine a peppy turbocharged engine and great fuel economy can have this delicate balance with the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

 

Is the 2020 Nissan Altima the best option for your family? Head down to Garber Nissan today to test drive one of our in-stock Altima models and see what it can offer your Bradenton area family. Whether you need a sedan to drop the kids off at school in Saginaw or to commute to Freeland, the 2020 Nissan Altima is the sedan for you. Check out all our in-stock Altima models via our online inventory page, choose a few you like, and schedule up a test drive.