The Altima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Altima and the Regal Sportback 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Altima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima third among midsize cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 13th.
The Altima 3.5’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (270 vs. 250) than the Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Altima 2.5 gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Sportback FWD 9-speed Auto turbo 4 cyl. (27 city/38 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Regal Sportback with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Altima has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Regal Sportback (18 vs. 16.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Altima 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better maneuverability, the Altima’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37.4 feet vs. 39 feet). The Altima’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37.4 feet vs. 41 feet).
The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 800 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.
The front grille of the Altima 2.5 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Altima has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 2.9 inches more front legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.
With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Altima offers cargo security. The Regal Sportback’s hatchback body style and non-lockable folding seat defeat cargo security.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
If the front windows are left open on the Altima the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Regal Sportback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Altima’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 Regal Sportback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima first among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three.
The Nissan Altima outsold the Buick Regal by over 22 to one during 2017.