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A white 2020 Ford Fusion is driving on a blurred city street after winning the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Nissan Altima comparison.

Midsize Sedans: Ford Fusion vs Nissan Altima

If you are in the market for a midsize sedan, then you have probably considered comparing the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Nissan Altima. These two cars are among the most popular midsize sedans available, and they offer excellent value for your money as well as surprisingly good performance in their top configurations. However, while both of these vehicles have earned their reputation, the 2020 Fusion offers incredible integration of technology, a higher performance all-wheel drive option for bad weather driving, and two different hybrid powertrains for the environmentally conscious. And best of all, the Fusion’s high-tech options like FordPass Connect or the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite with adaptive cruise control are not restricted to just the most expensive models, but are available on even the base trim of the car. When combined with its already lower starting price, this makes the 2020 Ford Fusion the clear winner over the 2020 Nissan Altima.

Two Cars, Seven Engines

A red 2020 Nissan Altima is driving on a city street at night.

The base engine in the 2020 Nissan Altima is a 2.5L that can produce 188 horsepower. This is already a more than acceptable powerplant when compared to those in your average compact sedan or crossover SUV, but in its two VC-Turbo trims, this is replaced by a 2.0L turbocharged engine that yields 248 horsepower. Although this engine will not transform an Altima into a real sports car, it will provide better acceleration than many older muscle cars. Both engines are equipped with a fuel-saving continuously variable transmission that will help the car achieve a combined fuel economy of either 32 miles per gallon with the base engine or 29 miles per gallon with the top engine. And if you live in a snowy climate, then the Altima can be had with all-wheel drive. However, this configuration is only available with the base 2.5L engine and will drop fuel economy down to 30 miles per gallon.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Ford Fusion offers three different gasoline engines as well as two different hybrid configurations. The base engine is also a 2.5L but produces 175 horsepower and a lower combined fuel economy of just 24 miles per gallon. The upgraded gasoline options are a 1.5L turbocharged engine with 181 horsepower that is rated for 27 miles per gallon and a 2.0L turbocharged engine with 245 horsepower that is rated for 25 miles per gallon. All three options are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and paddle shifters are standard on the top 2.0L engine. And in the exact opposite of the Altima, the Fusion’s all-wheel drive configuration is only available with its top engine. This means that if you do not want to sacrifice performance while still being able to deal with bad weather, the Ford Fusion is the clear choice.

Ford’s Hybrid Options

The two-hybrid powertrain options on the Fusion both consist of a highly-efficient 2.0L Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine combined with an 88-kilowatt electric motor. However, one is a traditional hybrid system that relies on its engine to charge its batteries, while the other is a plug-in hybrid that can be charged from an outside source and run on batteries alone for short distances. Both hybrids are rated for a combined fuel economy of 42 miles per gallon, and the plug-in hybrid has a range of 26 miles on battery power. So while the Nissan Altima is more efficient than the Ford Fusion’s gasoline options, if you are looking for maximum fuel savings, then one of the Fusion Hybrids is hands down the best choice. And if you have a particularly short daily commute, then the plug-in hybrid may allow you to avoid burning any gasoline at all.

A black 2020 Ford Fusion Plug-in Hybrid is charging outside a white house.

Features & Design

While the 2020 Ford Fusion and the 2020 Nissan Altima can both be remarkably comfortable cars when fully equipped, the Fusion offers a wider selection of features at lower trim levels. For instance, even the base trim of the Ford Fusion comes standard with an auto-dimming rearview mirror and is available with an automatic dual-zone climate control system while the base trim of the Nissan Altima is only sold with manual heat and air conditioning. And while all trims of the Altima do have standard eight-way power-adjustable seats where the base trims of the Fusion come standard with manually-adjustable seats, all but the lowest trim of the Fusion can be optioned with heated ten-way power-adjustable seats with lumbar support. Further, the top trims of the Ford come with vented seats that are not available on any trim of the Nissan.

The general interior design of the 2020 Ford Fusion also stands out for its clean and cohesive modern look and feel. Unlike in the more traditional Nissan Altima, the center console of the Fusion has been streamlined by replacing the gear shift lever with a compact turn dial. Additionally, the two-gauge analog instrument cluster has been eliminated in favor of a single central speedometer flanked by a pair of full-color digital screens. The infotainment screen on the Fusion is also smoothly integrated into the dashboard above a single compact panel of hard button controls for both infotainment and climate control. Meanwhile, the Nissan Altima’s infotainment system places the screen on top of the dashboard with the infotainment and climate control buttons widely separated by the central air vents.

Infotainment & Technology

However, both the 2020 Ford Fusion and 2020 Nissan Altima sport a capable infotainment system built around an 8” touchscreen. However, the Fusion’s infotainment offers a few advantages over that of the Altima. First, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa as well as the normal Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not only does this allow you to use familiar Alexa voice commands, but it also permits you to shop on Amazon from your vehicle and even have Amazon packages delivered directly to your car. Second, the 2020 Ford Fusion offers an excellent twelve-speaker Sony sound system while the 2020 Nissan Altima tops out at a nine-speaker Bose setup.

Third, the Fusion offers an available built-in navigation system with voice commands on all trims while the Altima only offers a similar system on its highest trims. But perhaps the most important advantage the Fusion has is its FordPass Connect system. Standard on all trims, this convenient feature allows you to use your phone to monitor and even control your car. This can range from simply checking your car’s location, fuel levels, or scheduled maintenance, to commands such as locking and unlocking the doors or even remotely starting your car.

When it comes to the available advanced driver assistance systems available on the two cars, the Ford Fusion again has the advantage with its Ford Co-Pilot360 technology. This is not to say that the Nissan Altima is in any way deficient in this area, as both vehicles are remarkably well equipped with standard automatic emergency braking, blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts, and lane departure warning on all trims. However, the Fusion goes above and beyond with even its base trim coming standard with advanced features such as rain-sensing wipers, SOS post-crash alert, and pedestrian detection. Further, the optional equipment of the Fusion base trim includes an adaptive cruise control system, while a similar technology is reserved for only the highest trims of the Nissan Altima. Altogether, these systems truly set the 2020 Ford Fusion apart as one of the best-equipped vehicles in its class and put it ahead of even the well-equipped Nissan Altima.