Nissan Altima: Which Should I Buy, 2020 or 2021?

Blue 2021 Nissan Altima 2021 Nissan Altima | Manufacturer image

Most significant changes: All-wheel drive no longer available on the base model; turbo engine only available on SR trim

Price change: No change for base S model; small increases or decreases for other trims

On sale: Now

Which should you buy, 2020 or 2021? 2020 if you’re interested in a base model with AWD or wider availability of the turbocharged engine 

Nissan’s Altima mid-size sedan was redesigned for 2019 and saw small upgrades for 2020. For 2021, the Altima again sees minor changes; the most significant is a trim level shuffle along with a new Driver Assist Package that’s available on base S models. The base trim’s pricing carries over; some trims see small increases. 

Related: Accord Vs. Altima Vs. Camry: Which Is the Best Mid-Size Sedan?

Shop the 2020 Nissan Altima near you

2020 Nissan Altima 2.5 S
88,218 mi.
Fair Deal
2020 Nissan Altima SR FWD
33,032 mi.
Good Deal | $117 under

The 2021 Altima again starts at $25,225 for the front-wheel drive base S model (all prices include destination). All-wheel drive is unavailable on the base trim this year, a change from 2020. Also, for 2021, the SR trim is the only one available with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; all other trims use the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder. (For 2020,  the turbo was also available on the Platinum trim.)

The Altima’s trim levels also get shuffled for 2021: The SR trim is now above the SV trim, bringing the lineup order of S, SV, SR, SL and Platinum. Nissan says this change matches the automaker’s other sedan trim levels. 

While base model pricing stays the same, other trims see small changes. The Platinum model, for example, is only available with AWD for 2021 and sees a $350 price increase. On the other side, the front-drive SL model sees a price decrease of $250 compared with 2020

Other changes for 2021 include equipment availability. A new premium package with some comfort and convenience features is available for the SR and SV trims; the SV Premium Package adds a moonroof, heated front seats and lane keep assist. Also, a new Driver Assist Package is available on the base S trim for 2021. 

After its model-year 2019 redesign, the Altima snagged second place in’s Mid-Size Sedan Challenge, ahead of the Toyota Camry but behind the Honda Accord. Model-year 2021’s changes are unlikely to move the needle. 

The 2021 Nissan Altima is on sale now.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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