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A white 2024 Nissan Altima is shown speeding down a snowy highway.

Which Sedan Should I Get? 2023 Nissan Altima vs 2023 Subaru Legacy

When two vehicles have a legacy of being the perfectly balanced midsize sedan, both have received light refreshes for the current year, how do you choose? When we look at the 2023 Nissan Altima vs 2023 Subaru Legacy, our head hurts a little, because both, at first glance, are really nice-looking modern sedans. What are the differences and similarities between these two sedans, and which is the perfect one?

The 2023 Nissan Altima is striking this year, with a minor facelift that gives it a modern front and grille for an updated appearance The sedan also boasts additional paint colors and a new wheel design. Starting at $25,490, we can see where the money is going. The sedan’s design shows that it’s built to take your mundane drive to the next level. We love the subtle aerodynamic lines and aggressive stance that dare us to explore what’s under the hood.

As for the 2023 Subaru Legacy, its design isn’t as sleek as the Altima, but it still gets the job done. It’s not a bad-looking car, but it also doesn’t pop in the same way the Altima does. The Legacy saw a minor redesign in the front for 2023, with an updated grille plus newly designed headlamps. We love the base price of $24,395. The Legacy looks like a stylish family vehicle that you can count on for plenty of trouble-free driving.

While the Altima and Legacy are very close in price, we feel the Altima has more of a stylish, urban feel to it, while the Legacy looks more like a sporty suburban sedan. These small differences can help drivers begin to decide what they want and what fits them best.

Power, Performance, and Utility

For 2023, the Altima is available with two engine choices. The standard engine is an efficient 2.5L Direct Injection four-cylinder, making 188 horsepower, 180 lb-ft of torque, and getting an impressive combined 32 MPG. Engage the sedan’s Sport Mode for a bit of extra zip. If you’re looking to punch things up, the available first-of-its-kind 2.0L VC-Turbo boasts 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque to create an unforgettable drive that is one part perfectly efficient and one part thrilling, while still getting a combined 29 MPG. Available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive adjusts to the demands of the road, giving you optimal traction and control over slippery or bumpy terrain.

Advanced technology like Active Brake Slip and Hill Start Assist helps protect drivers against accidental slippage on icy roads or when stopped on a hill. Both systems are designed to give drivers more control even when driving conditions are less than optimal.

A blue 2023 Subaru Legacy with a surfboard in the roof rack is shown driving next to a river.

Anyone who is familiar with Subaru knows to expect a boxer engine under the hood. Drivers can choose from two engines in the Legacy as well. The standard 2.5L boxer-4 powertrain delivers 182 horsepower, 176 lb-ft of torque, and a combined fuel economy of 35mph, plus engine start-stop technology. If you want more power, the turbocharged 2.4L engine option gives an increase to 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Whichever option drivers go for they surely won’t be disappointed.

The Legacy also offers standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive that is ready to help tackle snow, mud, rain, and anything else mother nature throws your way. Drivers get increased traction and improved control in case of wheel slippage, adding to a safer drive. The AWD system does double duty, not only giving you the power you need but the stability and balance for a more responsive drive overall. The Altima also offers all-wheel drive, but as an option, not as standard equipment as on the Legacy.

It’s tough to choose between the two sedans, but combining the overall looks and performance, so far we like the Nissan Altima the best. It looks sleek and modern while offering plenty of power and smooth performance. It has a great reputation for miles of hassle-free driving, and its powertrain choices and Sport mode are appealing. While the Legacy might lack a little in the looks department, it makes up for it thanks to Subaru’s iconic boxer engine choices and standard AWD that make it stand out when it comes to a family-friendly sedan.

Comfort, Convenience, and Tech

From the outside, the Nissan Altima’s design is eye-catching and sleek. Viewing the inside shows that the same design principles carry over. A refined interior and streamlined cockpit demonstrate that the Altima was designed around the driver, creating a flawless experience that makes driving feel like second nature. From the well-designed curves of the dashboard to the arches of the supportive seats, we’re really feeling the love for the Altima.

The cabin is airy and sophisticated without feeling stuffy. You can stretch out and relax, and not feel afraid to touch the soft materials that make the Altima feel more like its luxury brand, Infiniti, than a Nissan. It isn’t afraid to add a little class without going over the top. Zero Gravity front seats help keep you supported in all the right places, while a Rear Door Alert is present to remind you of things, or people, you might have left in your back seat.

The flexible interior offers a 60/40 split back seat to make accessing the trunk quick and simple. The trunk provides 15.4 cu ft of space, more than enough for work materials, daily essentials, or luggage. If you find you need more, the Altima has a total of 58.8 cu ft of cargo space with the back seats folded down. If you find it hard to get going in the morning because of the chill, use the Altima’s Remote Engine Start with Intelligent Climate Control to adjust the temperature of the cabin before you get in.

That’s not where the great tech ends. Drivers can access their Altima’s tech using the standard 8-inch touchscreen, or level up to the 12.3-inch screen. The user-friendly tech means drivers get access to desired playlists, navigation, and favorite apps all with a quick touch, scroll or click. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto let drivers seamlessly sync their smartphones to enjoy a personalized driving experience. Thanks to wireless charging, you can pull the plug and enjoy the freedom that wireless charging brings. Simply place your compatible smartphone on the conveniently located pad and let it power up while you drive. The Nissan Wi-Fi hotspot supports up to seven devices, while USB-A and USB-C ports are available to help keep you and your passengers connected.

For an increasingly safe driving experience, drivers can use the Altima’s Streaming Audio Via Bluetooth plus the Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant. These systems combined with advanced voice recognition let you listen to and answer messages without taking your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel.

To show the difference between the 2023 Nissan Altima vs 2023 Subaru Legacy, the black leather interior of the Altima is displayed.

When it comes to the Legacy, we see that the Subaru is comfortable and functional on the inside, if not a little underwhelming. It is not as updated and sleek as the Altima, but the cabin feels pretty roomy. While the standard trim upholstery is cloth, drivers can level up to access leather.

While the seats look supportive and there is plenty of legroom, the trunk is a little bit smaller than the Altima at 15.1 cu ft, which also runs a little behind the midsize sedan class standards. While the seats are capable of folding forward, the middle seat belt limits the use of the sedan’s cargo space. The trunk is more than qualified to handle luggage and groceries, but if you have larger items, it might not be up to the task.

The standard touchscreen is a mere seven inches, smaller than the Altima. Even when drivers choose to upgrade to the larger 11.6-inch screen, it still comes in under the Altima’s largest offering of 12.3 inches. Drivers can sync their smartphones with available Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to bring along their favorite music, and podcasts, plus access apps or navigation. Wireless Bluetooth lets drivers go hands-free, while the sedan’s multiple USB ports make it easy to connect several devices for easy charging.

Which Sedan Is for You?

We feel the Nissan Altima has the best balance. While it does have a little higher price, we see where the money is going. It offers the perfect mix of form, function, and fun. We love the looks, the powertrains, and the interior looks great. Drivers get plenty of flexibility when it comes to seating arrangements and cargo. The tech is intuitive. Overall, the 2023 Nissan Altima is a winner from bumper to bumper. Whether you’re a commuter or a family, there’s a lot to love about the all-new Altima.

We can see why a lot of drivers turn to Subaru, however. The brand has built its reputation as being a no-fuss functional car, and that’s exactly what you get with the Legacy. It’s straightforward and basic, but borders on boring, unfortunately. What it lacks in cargo space, style, and tech, it makes up for with reliable performance. Overall, the Legacy just feels a little less balanced compared to the Altima.

It all comes down to personal preference between these two. While we feel the Nissan Altima is the clear winner, you might feel differently. There’s only one way to know for sure. Visit your local dealer, test drive both of them, and decide for yourself.