2020 Nissan Altima vs. 2020 Subaru Legacy: Which AWD Mid-Size Sedan Is Best?
Nissan has challenged Subaru’s all-wheel-drive dominance in the family-sedan segment, so we set out to choose a winner.
By JOEY CAPPARELLA
NOV 5, 2019
All-wheel drive is Subaru’s thing. The “Symmetrical AWD” badges emblazoned on nearly all Subarus and the brand's accompanying marketing that constantly proclaims the advantages of four-wheel traction have made that abundantly clear to consumers. While it’s hardly a Subaru-exclusive feature, no other automaker has so effectively cornered the conversation on why you need AWD in your next vehicle (Spoiler alert: You don’t).
All-wheel drive is a legitimate differentiator for the Subaru Legacy, however. It’s the only affordable mid-size sedan that has consistently offered four driven wheels. Yet, it was recently joined by the Nissan Altima, as the new-for-2019 sixth-generation model added an all-wheel-drive option that costs $1350 extra. Now that the Legacy isn’t the only AWD mid-size sedan, we set out to see if it’s still the best. (Certain trim levels of the Ford Fusion also offer AWD, but the Fusion is not long for this world, so we left it out.)
Both the Altima and the Legacy were recently redesigned. The longer, lower, and wider Nissan is boldly styled, with an aggressive nose and sharp creases along its sides. Our SR test car’s attractive 19-inch wheels and Sunset Drift Chromaflair orange paint only served to further accentuate its athletic proportions. The Subaru looks comparably dowdy, with a tall greenhouse and an awkwardly styled front end, and the half-hearted Sport trim level's black wheels and small lip spoiler don’t help.
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