2020 Nissan Altima Vs. 2020 Kia Optima

There’s a lot of competition in the midsize car class these days. The bright side of this for consumers is that it’s resulted in a lot of high-quality automobiles. The downside is that it can be hard for buyers to choose among everything that’s out there.

Two solid machines that have arisen from the glut of modern zoomers are the Nissan Altima and Kia Optima. Both models see no major changes for 2020. The Altima is noted for its spacious, comfortable interior, strong engine options, solid fuel economy, and smooth ride. The Optima, for its part, also enjoys a gentle ride and upscale cabin.

So what are some key differences between the 2020 Nissan Altima and 2020 Kia Optima (besides the first two letters of their names)? Find out below!

2020 Nissan Altima


2020 Kia Optima

$24,100 Starting MSRP $23,390
182 to 236 hp Horsepower 178 to 245 hp
2.5-liter four-cylinder Standard Engine 2.4-liter four-cylinder
2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Optional Engine(s) 1.6-liter four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbo-four
28 city / 39 highway Base Fuel Economy 24 city / 32 highway
25 city / 34 highway Optional Fuel Economy 27 city / 37 highway. 21 city / 30 highway, respectively
Available All-Wheel Drive Not Available


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The 2020 Nissan Altima and 2020 Kia Optima are both quality vehicles. While the 2020 Optima does have a lower starting price and higher potential horsepower (thanks to its three engine options), the 2020 Altima is the ideal choice for those who prioritize fuel economy. 

The base fuel economy of the 2020 Altima is particularly impressive in its superiority to the base economy of the 2020 Optima, while the fuel economy on the top-tier engine for the latter is particularly paltry for the class.

The 2020 Nissan Altima also succeeds in offering available all-wheel drive, while the 2020 Kia Optima does not.

Engine Options and Power

The 2020 Nissan Altima enjoys two capable engine options: the standard provision is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that churns out 188 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while the SR and Platinum trims allow buyers to opt for a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that manages to pump out 248 hp and 273 pound-feet.

Both engines come paired to the automaker’s delightfully smooth XTRONIC continuously variable automatic transmission. This CVT is particularly noteworthy for not having any engine drone, which is a rarity. The base trim of the 2020 Kia Optima does not come with a CVT; instead drivers get saddled with a 6-speed automatic.

Who should buy the 2020 Nissan Altima?

The 2020 Nissan Altima is a good choice for those in search of a solid commuter or family vehicle. Users will enjoy its roomy cabin, comfortable seats, and gentle ride. The fuel economy estimates are also a great attribute.

Interested in this model?
Man looks behind himself in a 2020 Nissan Altima
Interior control panel in a 2020 Nissan Altima
Man approaches a parked red 2020 Nissan Altima