In this week’s Saturday Showdown, we’re pitting two excellent midsize sedans against one another. The Ford Fusion, redesigned in 2013, butts grilles with the Nissan Altima, also redesigned in 2013. The two cars vie for the same buyers, but do so with very different focal points.

Fast VS Facts

Contenders: 2014 Ford Fusion 2014 Nissan Altima
City/Hwy MPG:  23/36  27/38
Base Price: $21,970 $24,180
Strong Point:  Stylish exterior  Great seating
Weakness: Average interior Pricey tech options
Showdown Score:  17  18

Daily Use Ergonomics

Fusion: 4 | Altima: 5

In everyday use, most midsize sedans have roughly the same strengths and weaknesses. They are all good for up to four passengers without fuss, have large trunks, and competitive interior ergonomics and options. So standing out in this crowd is not just a matter of having one great thing, you have to hit several things well and excel in a couple on top of that.

Our contenders do these things. The Ford Fusion is a beautiful car and it handles tasks such as shuttling family and doing so comfortably very well. The Altima, however, has the advantage of Zero Gravity seating (as standard) and a few small details such as easier child safety seat installation to put it a step above.

Family Friendliness

Fusion: 4 | Altima: 5

2014 Nissan Altima - white building - AOA1200pxAs mentioned above, the Altima offers better child safety seat arrangements while both cars offer a huge amount of trunk space and good interior ergonomics. Both can seat up to five people and both feature wide-opening rear doors and a low step-in height with a relatively low door sill for easier entry and egress.

Ride Comfort

Fusion: 4 | Altima: 5

In ride comfort, both the Fusion and the Altima are quiet, comfortable, road-absorbing rides with a good presence about town and on the highway. The Altima, again, has Zero Gravity seating, which offers excellent comfort for short stints or the long haul. Both have good leg, shoulder, and headroom.

Powertrain Options

Fusion: 5 | Altima: 3

ford-fusion-10_600x0wHere we tilt towards the Fusin markedly. The Ford concept of Power of Choice is a strong suit for the company and the Fusion is one of the showcase cars for that philosophy. There are several three- and four-cylinder engine options as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid (called the Energi) for the Fusion. All of these adding up to a lot of powertrain choices with which the Altima cannot compete.

Final Assessments

The Fusion is a beautiful car with a lovely, contemporary, and stand-out look that is pleasing to almost every eye. On the other hand, in daily use, the Altima clearly outshines in most respects, though the Power of Choice in options for the Fusion’s powerplant may tip the scales for some buyers.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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