Childre Nissan Compares 2017 Nissan Altima VS 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Near Warner Robins, GA

Responsive image

2017 Nissan Altima

Responsive image

2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Safety Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Altima Sedan as “Superior.” The Jetta scores only 2 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Both the Altima Sedan and the Jetta have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Altima Sedan is safer than the Volkswagen Jetta:


Altima Sedan



5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

216 lbs.

342 lbs.

Neck Compression

59 lbs.

87 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

32/46 lbs.

734/639 lbs.




4 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

113 lbs.

213 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

114 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Altima Sedan is safer than the Volkswagen Jetta:


Altima Sedan



Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

58 G’s

58 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

18 inches




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

711 lbs.

720 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 64 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Altima Sedan’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Jetta 1.4T 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the Jetta’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Altima Sedan has a standard 550-amp battery. The Jetta’s 540-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima Sedan second among midsize cars in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The Jetta isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 13th.

Engine Comparison

The Altima Sedan has more powerful engines than the Jetta:




Altima Sedan 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

179 HP

177 lbs.-ft.

Altima Sedan 3.5 DOHC V6

270 HP

251 lbs.-ft.

Jetta 1.4T 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

150 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

Jetta 1.8T SEL 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

170 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

Jetta GLI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

210 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Altima Sedan is faster than the Volkswagen Jetta (automatics tested):


Altima Sedan 2.5

Altima Sedan 3.5

Jetta 1.4T

Jetta 1.8T SEL

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

5.9 sec

9.4 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

14.2 sec

16.9 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.2 MPH

101.7 MPH

82.8 MPH

89.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Jetta requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Altima Sedan has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Jetta (18 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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


Altima Sedan


Front Rotors

11.7 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

10 inches

The Altima Sedan stops much shorter than the Jetta:


Altima Sedan



80 to 0 MPH

245 feet

257 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

147 feet

Road and Track

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Altima Sedan has larger standard tires than the Jetta (215/60R16 vs. 205/55R16). The Altima Sedan 2.5 SR/3.5’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Jetta (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R17).

The Altima Sedan has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Jetta doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima Sedan’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the Jetta (109.3 inches vs. 104.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Altima Sedan is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Jetta.

The Altima Sedan 2.5 SL handles at .85 G’s, while the Jetta 1.4T SE pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Altima Sedan 3.5 SL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Jetta 1.4T SE (27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima Sedan 2.5/2.5 S’ turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the Jetta’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Altima Sedan V6 has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount and conventional liquid-filled engine mounts (standard liquid front mount on other versions of the Altima Sedan). A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Jetta uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Altima Sedan 2.5 SV is quieter than the Jetta (69 vs. 71 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Altima Sedan is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the Jetta is rated a Compact.

The Altima Sedan has 7.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Jetta (101.9 vs. 94.1).

The Altima Sedan has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 3.8 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Jetta.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Altima Sedan easier. The Altima Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the Jetta’s liftover is 28.2 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Altima offers cargo security. The Jetta’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Altima Sedan offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Jetta doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the front windows are left down on the Altima Sedan the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Jetta can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Altima Sedan’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Jetta’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Altima Sedan’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Jetta’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

On extremely cold Winter days, the Altima Sedan’s optional (except Base/S/SR) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Jetta doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the Altima Sedan and the Jetta offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Altima Sedan offers optional rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Jetta doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Jetta because typical repairs cost much less on the Altima Sedan than the Jetta, including $385 less for a water pump, $313 less for an alternator, $13 less for front brake pads, $298 less for a starter, $78 less for fuel injection, $86 less for a fuel pump, $109 less for front struts and $75 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima Sedan second among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Jetta isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Nissan Altima Sedan outsold the Volkswagen Jetta by almost two to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.