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 Dodge Charger doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Altima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Charger doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Altima Platinum has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Charger only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or 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 Charger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Altima and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.
The Altima’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Charger runs out after 60,000 miles.
For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Altima have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Charger.
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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 19th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 13 places higher in reliability than Dodge.
On the EPA test cycle the Altima FWD turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Charger RWD with its standard V6 (25 city/34 hwy vs. 19 city/30 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Altima’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Charger doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Charger R/T Scat Pack/Daytona 392 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Altima 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 Charger SXT’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 Charger doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Charger’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The Altima SR/SV/SL/Platinum’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Charger AWD’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).
The Nissan Altima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 950 pounds less than the Dodge Charger.
The Altima is 5.5 inches shorter than the Charger SXT, making the Altima easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The design of the Nissan Altima amounts to more than styling. The Altima has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Charger (.304 to .335) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Altima get better fuel mileage.
The front grille of the Altima uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Charger doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Altima SL/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Charger doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Altima has .6 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear headroom than the Charger.
The Nissan Altima outsold the Dodge Charger by almost three to one during 2017.