Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2009 Acura TL VS 2009 Nissan Altima Near Phoenix, AZ

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2009 Acura TL

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VS

2009 Nissan Altima

Safety Comparison

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the TL deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The TL’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Altima Sedan’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The TL has all wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer all wheel drive.

The TL has standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The VSA then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. A skid prevention system costs extra on the Altima Sedan. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

The Acura TL has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

Both the TL and the Altima Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks and four wheel antilock brakes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the TL is safer then the Altima Sedan:

TL

Altima Sedan

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

36 mm

48 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

31 mm

45 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Seat Design

Pass

Pass

Neck Force Rating

Low

High

Max Neck Shearing Force

3

2712

Max Neck Tension

222

570

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side and rear impact tests, and its standard Vehicle Stability Assist, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the TL as a “Top Pick” a rating only granted to 64 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima Sedan was not a Top Pick.

Warranty Comparison

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The TL comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Altima Sedan’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The TL comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years 50,000 miles. Acura will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Altima Sedan.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TL 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Altima Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Altima Sedan ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

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The engines in the TL have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Altima Sedan have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the TL has a 130 amp alternator. The Altima Sedan’s standard 110 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 17th in initial quality. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 19th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 67 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 29th.

Engine Comparison

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The TL has more powerful engines than the Altima Sedan:

Horsepower

Torque

TL 3.5 SOHC V6

280 HP

254 lbs.-ft.

TL 3.7 SOHC V6

305 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Altima Sedan 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

175 HP

180 lbs.-ft.

Altima Sedan HEV 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

198 HP

199 lbs.-ft.

Altima Sedan 3.5 DOHC V6

270 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura TL 3.7 V6 is faster than the Nissan Altima Sedan V6 (automatics tested):

TL

Altima Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.2 MPH

94.8 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the TL’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Altima Sedan:

TL

Altima Sedan

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13.1 inches

11.5 inches

The TL stops much shorter than the Altima Sedan:

TL

Altima Sedan

80 to 0 MPH

204 feet

242 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the TL has larger tires than the Altima Sedan (245/50R17 vs. 215/60R16).

The TL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Altima Sedan’s standard 60 series tires. The TL SH-AWD®’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Altima Sedan 3.5 SE’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TL has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Altima Sedan. The TL SH-AWD®’s optional 19 inch wheels are larger than the 17 inch wheels on the Altima Sedan 3.5 SE.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The TL has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Altima Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TL is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than on the Altima Sedan.

The TL SH-AWD® handles at .91 G’s, while the Altima Sedan HEV pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The TL SH-AWD® goes through Road & Track’s slalom 8.6 MPH faster than the Altima Sedan HEV (67.4 vs. 58.8 MPH).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The TL has 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom, 2.3 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Altima Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the TL’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Altima Sedan’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

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