Childre Nissan Compares 2018 Nissan Altima VS 2018 Kia Optima Near Gray, GA

Responsive image

2018 Nissan Altima

Responsive image

2018 Kia Optima

Safety Comparison

The Altima 3.5 SL has standard NissanConnect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Altima and the Optima 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors 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 is safer than the Kia Optima:







5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

216 lbs.

218 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

32/46 lbs.

114/300 lbs.




4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

113 lbs.

192 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

101 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, results indicate that the Nissan Altima is safer than the Kia Optima:





Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

58 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

677 lbs.

933 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

The Altima’s 5-year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 38 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

The Altima has more powerful engines than the Optima:



Altima 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

179 HP

Altima 3.5 DOHC V6

270 HP

Optima LX 1.6T 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

Optima 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

As tested in Motor Trend the Altima 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. is faster than the Optima LX 1.6T 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.:




Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

15.8 sec

As tested in Consumer Reports the Altima 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Kia Optima 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.2 sec

4.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101.5 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Altima gets better fuel mileage than the Optima:







2.5 4 cyl./Auto

27 city/38 hwy

25 city/36 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto


2.5 4 cyl./Auto

26 city/37 hwy

24 city/34 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto


3.5 V6/Auto

22 city/32 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Altima stops shorter than the Optima:





70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Altima has larger standard tires than the Optima (215/60R16 vs. 205/65R16).

The Altima 2.5 S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires.

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 Optima doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Altima 2.5 SL handles at .84 G’s, while the Optima LX 1.6T pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Altima 3.5 SL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Optima LX 1.6T (27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

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 Optima doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Altima has .2 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the Optima.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Altima easier. The Altima’s trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the Optima’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

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

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Optima doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Altima 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 Optima doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Altima’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Optima’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

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 Optima 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 Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

The Altima has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Optima LX doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the Optima because typical repairs cost less on the Altima than the Optima, including $16 less for a water pump and $22 less for front brake pads.

Recommendations Comparison

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 Optima was rated third.

The Nissan Altima outsold the Kia Optima by over two to one during 2017.

© 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.