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Compare the2022 Nissan AltimaVS 2021 Mazda 6

2022 Nissan Altima
2021 Mazda 6

Safety

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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 Mazda 6 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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Nissan Altima has standard driver and front passenger side knee airbags mounted low on the dashboard. These airbags helps prevent the driver and front passenger from sliding under their seatbelts or the main frontal airbags; this keeps them better positioned during a collision for maximum protection. Knee airbags also help keep the legs from striking the dashboard, preventing knee and leg injuries in the case of a serious frontal collision. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer knee airbags.

The Altima offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Altima and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 is safer than the Mazda 6:

Altima

Mazda 6

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

185

356

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

64 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

157

271

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

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the Altima, with its five-star roll-over rating, is 1.1% less likely to roll over than the Mazda 6, which received a four-star rating.

Warranty

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There are almost 2 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Altima has a standard 120-amp alternator. The Mazda 6’s standard 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima first among midsize cars in their 2021 Initial Quality Study. The Mazda 6 isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2021 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

Engine

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As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Altima 4 cyl. is faster than the Mazda 6 4 cyl.:

Altima

6

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.6 sec

9.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Altima gets better mileage than the Mazda 6:

MPG

Altima

FWD

S 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/39 hwy

SV/SL/SR 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

AWD

SV/SL 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

SR/Platinum 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

Mazda 6

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Altima higher (7 out of 10) than the Mazda 6 (3 to 7). This means the Altima produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Mazda 6 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Altima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Altima stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

Altima

Mazda 6

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Altima SR/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 6 (235/40R19 vs. 225/55R17).

The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature/Carbon Edition’s 45 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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The Altima Platinum handles at .91 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Signature pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Altima Platinum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Mazda 6 Touring (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Mazda 6’s (36.1 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the Nissan Altima amounts to more than styling. The Altima has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the Mazda 6 (.285) 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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Altima Platinum is quieter than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring (40 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Altima has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear hip room and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 6.

Cargo Capacity

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The Altima has a larger trunk than the Mazda 6 (15.4 vs. 14.7 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

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The Altima Platinum’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Mazda 6 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 6 because typical repairs cost much less on the Altima than the Mazda 6, including $224 less for fuel injection, $132 less for a fuel pump and $2 less for front struts.

Recommendations

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Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Altima and the Mazda 6, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Altima was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The Mazda 6 has never been an “All Star.”

The Nissan Altima outsold the Mazda 6 by over six to one during the 2021 model year.

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