Chevy Cruze vs. Nissan Altima

So I was able to test drive both a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and a 2007 Nissan Altima

and I’m here to post a little on my findings. Nothing scientific here, just some general observations about the two vehicles.

Chevy Cruze

Very fun car to drive. No shake and quiet cabin when up to freeway speed. I was very impressed by the little thing and there was a lot of power left over to go faster … but I was just interested in how it felt and sounded at the speed you would travel between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The interior is quite nice with some nice touches. Really no major complaints about the car.

The front is quite spacious (for me) and I could easily see myself driving the 6+ hours to Milwaukee from our home.

Major downside? Rear seat room for infant car seats. The issue arises from the fact that you need to be able to face the car seat backwards and when you have the Cruze’s seat all the way back (sitting in front), you just could not do that comfortably without having the car seat sitting against the back of the front seat in front of it.

Deal breaker.

Sad too because the car is really fun to drive. If I could choose, I would look closely at the ECO version since it is rated at 42mpg, which is great with gas near or at $4/gallon where we are.

Nissan Altima

I’ve driven Altimas before and have always like them. This one was no different. Very spacious interior, which I still marvel at because the car feels so sporty to drive for a mid-sized sedan.

I’m not sure where Nissan found the engine for the Altima, but the 4cyl engine can somehow get up to speed (and then some) and you don’t even notice it. It is so smooth that you lose track of how fast you are going and the car never feels out of control at the same time.

Push button start is a fun thing to have (not even something I would specifically look for, but fun) and it has the one thing that I am looking for: aux input on the stereo. The interior is nice, but as it is a used car it is hard to judge it based on the years of service it has already had.

The back seat is more than capable of handling an infant car seat facing the rear, which is great. I’m not sure how they do it, but you have more than enough room. I’ve traveled a number of times in my in-law’s Altima (in the back seat) and have never had problem with leg room at all, which is nice.

Great car. Love it.

Closing Thoughts

If I would be choosing a car for myself, I would go with the Cruze (or look at the new Focus … looks good). However, you are going to have to pry my 1996 Toyota Corolla out from under me before I would betray that car again. So, as far as a family vehicle goes, the Altima wins based on just the amount of space available alone.

However, don’t think the Altima is boring by any means. If you are looking for a mid-sized sedan (especially used), do yourself a favor and give one a spin. They are fun to drive along with being practical. The best of both worlds, if I may.