Childre Nissan Compares 2002 Nissan Altima VS 2002 Toyota Camry Near Dublin, GA

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2002 Nissan Altima

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2002 Toyota Camry

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Altima have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Camry doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Compared to metal, the Altima’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Camry has a metal gas tank.

Both the Altima and the Camry have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, Isofix Child Safety Seat Latches, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, available front seat side-impact airbags, head airbags and four wheel antilock brakes.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Altima’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Camry 3.0 DOHC V6’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Camry’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Engine Comparison

The Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 18 more horsepower (175 vs. 157) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (180 vs. 162) than the Camry’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Altima 3.5 SE’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 48 more horsepower (240 vs. 192) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (246 vs. 209) than the Camry’s optional 3.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Altima 3.5 SE 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Toyota Camry 4 cyl. (manual transmissions tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.8 MPH

85.6 MPH

As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Altima 4 cyl. is faster than the Toyota Camry 4 cyl. (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

9 sec

9.8 sec

As tested in Consumer Reports the Altima 3.5 SE 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Toyota Camry 3.0 (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Altima has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camry (20 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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


Camry LE


Front Rotors

11.7 inches

10.8 inches

11.65 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

9” drums

10.6 inches

The Nissan Altima has standard four wheel disc brakes for better stopping power. Rear drums are standard on the Camry. Drums can heat up and make stops longer.

The Altima with optional antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Camry with antilock brakes:



60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

146 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Altima 3.5 SE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Camry SE/XLE’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Altima has standard 16 inch wheels. Smaller 15 inch wheels are standard on the Camry LE. The Altima 3.5 SE’s 17 inch wheels are larger than the 16 inch wheels on the Camry SE/XLE.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Camry (110.2 vs. 107.1 inches).

The Altima 3.5 SE handles at .81 G’s, while the Camry SE pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Altima 3.5 SE goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 2.9 MPH faster than the Camry LE (62.9 vs. 59.99 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Altima has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Camry uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Altima has 1.5 inches more front headroom and 2.3 inches more front legroom than the Camry.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Altima easier. The Altima’s trunk lift-over height is 27 inches, while the Camry’s liftover is 28.5 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Altima offers an optional automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Camry LE/SE doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

To improve comfort and visibility, the Altima offers optional pull-out visor extensions that block glare better. The Camry LE/SE doesn’t offer any similar feature.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the Altima offers optional steering wheel controls for the radio. The Camry doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Altima is less expensive to operate than the Camry because it costs $255 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the Camry, including $12 less for a water pump, $1 less for front brake pads, $4 less for a starter, $64 less for fuel injection, $50 less for a fuel pump, $102 less for front struts and $268 less for a power steering pump.

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