• Jan 8th 2008 at 2:31PM
  • 69
click above for more images of the 2008 Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima narrowly beat out the Honda Accord for the coveted Consumer Reports Top-Ranked, Mid-priced Sedan, which is revealed in the February 2008 issue. The V6 Accord lost to the V6-powered Altima by a scant one-point, followed by the Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat.

Consumer Reports tested a number of family sedans for its February issue, ranging from the base four-cylinder models and up to the range-topping V6s. The selected vehicles, which also included the Ford Taurus, Dodge Avenger, Kia Amanti and Subaru Legacy, were broken down into three categories: "Affordable," "Mid-priced" and "Large" family sedans.

The four-cylinder Altima took the top spot in the "Affordable" category, leading by six points over the Accord, with the Kia Optima EX and Passat 2.0T coming in third and fourth, respectively.

Consumer Reports is quick to point out that the Accord, which has won the publications Top Pick for five years, outperformed the majority of the players, but in the end, the Altima proved to be the best value overall.

[Source: Consumer Reports]




Very narrow, one-point difference in scores separates Altima and Accord in CR's ratings of competitive midpriced sedan category

YONKERS, NY - The newly-redesigned Honda Accord V6 lost its standing as Consumer Reports' top-rated midpriced sedan following testing of seven sedans for the February 2008 issue. The V6-powered Nissan Altima is now ranked first in CR's ratings of midpriced sedans, followed closely by the Accord, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat in that order. A very narrow one-point difference in scores separates the Accord and Altima.

The Honda Accord, redesigned for 2008, has long been among Consumer Reports' top-rated family
sedans. Consumer Reports has named the Accord a Top Pick in its closely-watched Annual April Auto Issue every year for the past five years. The new Top Picks for 2008 will be announced in the April 2008 issue.

For the February issue, Consumer Reports tested a mix of six family sedans from three categories-
"Affordable Family Sedans," "Midpriced Family Sedans," and "Large Sedans." CR tested the Accord in EX-L V6 and four-cylinder LX-P trim levels. It also tested the new Ford Taurus (formerly known as the Five Hundred), Dodge Avenger, Kia Amanti, and Subaru Legacy. The magazine had rated the four-cylinder and V6-powered Altimas as part of an earlier test group; results from those tests were reported in the March 2007 issue.

The V6 Accord easily outperformed all the other vehicles in this test group-and achieved an
"Excellent" overall road test score. But its score of 88 points was one point less than the previous generation Accord. That one-point difference allowed the previously-tested Altima 3.5 SE (V6) to slip past the Accord and take the top spot in the rankings of 15 Midpriced Sedans. The Camry XLE and Passat 2.0T rank third and fourth respectively in that category.

The four-cylinder Altima also claimed the top spot in CR's ranking of 15 Affordable Family sedans, with a much wider, six-point margin over the Accord. The Kia Optima EX and Toyota Camry LE are ranked third and fourth in that category.

"The 2008 Accord is longer, wider and more powerful than the old model it replaces-and it remains
an excellent, well-rounded sedan," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. "But it's not as quick and doesn't get the fuel economy of either the previous generation Accord or the Altima in either the V6 or four-cylinder trim lines."

The 2008 V6 Accord delivered 21 mpg in Consumer Reports' own fuel economy tests, down two mpg from the previous generation's 23 mpg. The V6 Altima delivers 23 mpg in CR's tests.

Prices range from $22,795 for the Accord LX to $30,130 for the Amanti, though CR paid less than
$25,000 after discounts for the Kia. Consumer Reports buys all of its test vehicles from dealers to ensure that it doesn't wind up with specially-prepared vehicles. Its staffers negotiate anonymously for the best possible price, just as consumers would do.

Four of the six vehicles in this month's test group are Recommended by Consumer Reports. Because of a sterling reliability history for past Accords and for Honda overall, CR predicts better than average reliability for the 2008 Accord and is recommending it. Above average reliability also allows CR to recommend the Legacy. CR is predicting average reliability for the Taurus based on the record of the Ford Five Hundred, which is virtually the same car. The Amanti's reliability has been worse than average, so it cannot be Recommended. Reliability for the Avenger is unknown and it scored too low in CR's tests for it to be Recommended.

Consumer Reports only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least
average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Car Reliability Survey of its more than seven million print and web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Full tests and ratings of the test group appear in the February issue of Consumer Reports, which goes
on sale January 8. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org. The new Accord has a generously-sized backseat and both four- and six-cylinder versions are more powerful than before. Electronic stability control is now standard in all trim levels and crash-test results impressive. The Accord EX-L ($28,695 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 3.5-liter, 268-hp V6 engine that delivers smooth and lively performance. It's mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that shifts quickly and smoothly. Braking is very good overall.

The renamed and freshened Ford Five Hundred is equipped with a more powerful engine that makes the vehicle quicker and more responsive-though not as fuel efficient. The Taurus offers a comfortable ride, ample interior room, easy access, and a huge trunk. It remains a solid, if unexciting contender in the segment. The Taurus Limited ($28,985 MSRP as tested) is now equipped with a 3.5-liter, 263-hp, V6 that delivers good performance but isn't among the more refined powerplants in this class. The six-speed automatic is smooth and responsive. Braking is very good overall.

Kia's Amanti offers a well-appointed, spacious cabin and a quiet, comfortable ride. It was freshened for 2007 with a new engine and has a revised suspension to improve ride and handling. Fuel economy is not a strong suit. The Amanti ($30,130 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 3.8-liter, 264-hp, V6 engine that delivers strong performance. It's mated to a responsive five-speed automatic. Braking is good.

With impressive agility, decent fuel economy, standard all-wheel-drive and an affordable base, the
Subaru Legacy has a lot going for it. But the interior is snug, which limits its appeal as a family car, and its handling was tricky in emergency avoidance maneuver tests. The 2.5i Special Edition Legacy tested by CR ($22,835 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 2.5-liter, 170-hp, four-cylinder engine that provides adequate acceleration but is not as responsive as most other four-cylinder engines in this class. The four-speed automatic shifts smoothly. Braking is very good.

Like its near-twin the Chrysler Sebring, the Dodge Avenger ranks at the bottom of its class. The car
feels cheap and underdeveloped. It has a stiff ride, suspension noise, lack of agility, tight quarters, uncomfortable seats, and substandard interior fit and finish. The Avenger R/T ($27,350 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 engine that delivers lively performance and is smoother than the 2.7-liter V6 that CR tested in the Sebring. But it is not as refined as many other V6 engines. It's mated to a very good six-speed automatic transmission. Braking on the Avenger is good overall.

Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to
Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645. Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hay everyone...BUY AMERICAN! Keep the car company profits in the states!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Did they not include GM vehicles in the test?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why bother. No matter how good GM makes vehicles, they will find something wrong and will rate them badly. But, they will automatically rate a Camry a great car. That's how Camrys got so popular. Today, the Camry quality is going downhill but they are still selling like hotcakes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      After the debacle with automatically recommending brand-new Toyotas based on past history while refusing to recommend brand new vehicles from most other brands, I thought CR was gonna stop with that practice.

      Guess I was wrong...
        • 7 Years Ago
        It was not a debacle by any stretch. Toyotas are no longer automatically recommended because of the demonstrated reliability problems.

        Subaru and Honda still have excellent reliability records, and their vehicles are still recommended after testing.

        Go read what CR said about it. It's very straightforward.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I need a car with 4-wheel drive to use in a hilly area during winter ice storms. What do you recommend?
      Pete C
      • 7 Years Ago
      I test drove an Altima, 07 Mazda 6, a few others and bought the 6. I was driving a 2000 V6 Nissan Maxima. The Mazda 6 drove much sportier than anything else I tried, the interior is nicer and it has the best looks by far. The 4 in the Mazda isnt as powerful as some others.

      For resale value you probably cant beat a Honda however.
      • 7 Years Ago
      hmmm...they didn't get their hands on a malibu?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Malibu will outscore it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        and the Nissan will out live it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Keep dreaming.
      • 7 Years Ago
      CR is the most biased thing I've ever read. It's getting better, finally saying that Toyota's reliability has fallen and such, but it has a long way to go. I like the Altima, it's a nice car. But in terms of SUVs on a different front, the Acadia is HANDS DOWN a better car than both the Pilot and the Highlander. I've driven all three of these cars. No, I'm not a "fanboy"; we own a Highlander. and don't like it much. It really isn't very good. The only good thing is the backseat, which is huge.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Do you even know what the word "biased" means? That word is misused so often in these stories you all need to go back to school.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Of course. Didn't I just say "we own a Highlander"? Thus, I was being unbiased. CR ranks the Highlander second or first among mid-sizers, whereas it should be around the lower-middle pack.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just recently purchased a 2008 Accord. It has a lot of umph (speed) & I have sure had a lot of heads turning & second glances.It's a sporty car, with lot's of room inside, big trunk space & ssoo quite inside, when driving down the highway.The Altima, isn't too bad looking, either!.
      • 7 Years Ago
      OK, the japanese have made us car makers shape up, but are we still owned by the japanese? I think not. When I drive the road and see the great looking new vehicles from GM, and Ford, and research them, who are these motor magazine people.? I heard owned by foreign countries' business and I am beginning to believe it. The negative for this country in autos and then people wonder why our toys are the way they are.
      • 7 Years Ago
      CR takes a lot of objective measurements, and then subjectively weights them to come up with an overall score.

      They give a lot of weight to fuel economy, and the CVT (and weighing 250 pounds less) gives the Altima a major boost.

      Any car in the upper tier of the score range is a pretty good car with no glaring flaws. But calling an 88 better than an 87 is a stretch. They're differently good cars.

      The question is, what do you want your car to be good at?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Good point, but most of the top cars in this class are pretty good at everything (fast, roomy, comfortable, decent ride/handling). Accord appears to me to be the choice if sheer size is important. Altima is the svelte rocket with good fuel economy and a huge trunk. Camry is the 'safe' bet, especially if you prefer to commute or run errands rather than 'drive'. Legacy is the all-wheel-drive choice. Fusion is the I-prefer-to-buy-American-when-I-can choice. Malibu/Aura does everything well, but isn't exceptional. They're all probably good choices.
        • 7 Years Ago
        CR does not judge cars subjectively. A while back they reported that the Corvette was a gas guzzler. Most people know that a Corvette for what it is, a sport car, is extremely good on gas. Now, instead of CR bad mouthing the Corvette for it's gas mileage, it should have praise it for it's excellent gas mileage. This is just one example of what they do. If you want to put your trust in them, go ahead. But I don't!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hah. CR calls the Taurus "boring," and then recommends the generic plasticky Altima overall. VW Passat? Are you kidding? Reliability? Costs of ownership? Hello?

      Where were the Fusion, Aura, and Malibu in this comparison?
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Fusion rates very well--CR prefers it to Aura. Last time I checked, I think they had it rated fourth or so, behind only the Accord and Passat and above the Camry.

        I think people (where people=GM Fans) need to realize that the Malibu and Aura aren't as good as the marketing machine makes them out to be. They're not bad cars, but they're not the game changers that GM's astroturfing campaign says they are.

        I haven't seen a Malibu yet. I have driven both the Aura and Fusion and, at each trim level, the Fusion is better as a daily driver. Yes, the Aura is faster and probably puts up better numbers but the Fusion is more entertaining to drive, rides better and fits people better. Unless GM has fixed the fundamental issues from the Aura in the Malibu, I can't see it outscoring the Fusion, much less the Accord (or now the Altima).

        The Fusion's review (and stellar reliability ratings) from CR should be proof-positive that:
        * They're not Japanese fanboys.
        * They don't award the win to the most appliance-like ride (which would be the Camry or Optima). Aside from the 6, the Fusion is probably the only fun-to-drive car in this class.
        * That GM fans really have drunk the kool-aid.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Fusion and Aura were already tested in '05 and '06, respectively. CR rated both "very good," but in today's family-car class that's a mid-pack finish.

        The Malibu, for all the hype surrounding it, inherits many of the weaknesses CR noted in the Aura and G6--tight rear head- and shoulder room (with hard-plastic front seatbacks), subpar fuel economy, a shallow trunk, and some torque steer and tramlining with the 3.6 V6. The new Malibu is a solid car with good IP materials, but it's not the "game changer" the press is getting so breathless about. I'm sure CR will say as much when they test one.
    • Load More Comments