For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Altima have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Buick LaCrosse doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Altima SV/SL/Platinum has standard Rear Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Altima Platinum has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The LaCrosse only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Altima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Altima and the LaCrosse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 16th, below the industry average.
The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 268) than the LaCrosse’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the Altima FWD turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the LaCrosse FWD V6 (25 city/34 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).
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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the LaCrosse’s (36.1 feet vs. 38 feet). The Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the LaCrosse’s (37.4 feet vs. 38 feet).
The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 400 pounds less than the Buick LaCrosse.
The Altima is 4.6 inches shorter than the LaCrosse, making the Altima easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Altima has .8 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the LaCrosse.
The Altima has a larger trunk than the LaCrosse (15.4 vs. 15 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
If the windows are left open on the Altima the driver can close them all 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 LaCrosse can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
Intelligent Key standard on the Altima allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.
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 LaCrosse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Altima SV/SL/Platinum detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Nissan Altima outsold the Buick LaCrosse by almost thirteen to one during 2017.