2011 Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
vs. 2012 Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR

2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR

10.0

starting from

$29,190

Reasons to buy the Nissan Altima 3.5 SR

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Has continuously-variable transmission
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Sporty performance
12.3 lb/hp
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Average power
270 HP @ 6,000 RPM
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Power seats
Standard
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

9.3

starting from

$24,865

Reasons to buy the Volkswagen Jetta TDI

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Fantastic highway fuel efficiency
42 mpg
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Average number of gears
6
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Turbocharged engine improves performance
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Good city fuel efficiency
30 mpg
Luxury Features 8.0 vs 10.0
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Winner: Altima 3.5 SR
[details]
  • Almost the same
  • Almost the same
Cost 10.0 vs 9.8
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Winner: Jetta TDI
[details]
  • Gets 50% more miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg vs 20 mpg
  • The best price we've seen is $4,325 cheaper (more than 10% less), $24,865 vs $29,190
Crash Test Ratings 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Poor protection, 10% to 20% chance of rolling over during emergency lane change
  • Poor protection, 6% to 10% chance of serious chest injuries in a crash
  • Poor protection, 10% to 20% chance of serious head or chest injuries in a crash
Safety Features 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Child door locks come standard
Performance 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
Practicality 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Both can go pretty far on the highway on a single tank, however the Jetta TDI in particular gets exceptional range
  • Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
  • Both offer an upgrade to a navigation system
Entertainment System 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
Road Tests 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
Overall 9.3 vs 10.0

Luxury Features

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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moon roof Standard vs Standard Both come standard with sun roofs
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power seats Not Available vs Standard Conveniently adjust your seat with the Altima 3.5 SR's power seats; not available on the Jetta TDI
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keyless entry Standard vs Standard Both have keyless entry
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leather Not Available vs Optional Have your choice of leather or cloth seats on the Altima 3.5 SR

Cost

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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MSRP $24,865 vs $29,190 Both are priced reasonably
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In-city gas mileage 30 mpg vs 20 mpg The Jetta TDI has great city mileage and the Altima 3.5 SR is pretty reasonable
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basic warranty miles 36,000 mile vs 36,000 mile Shorter basic warranty
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basic warranty years 3 year vs 3 year Shorter-lasting basic warranty

Crash Test Ratings

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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Rollover resistance 4 stars vs 4 stars Poor protection, 10% to 20% chance of rolling over during emergency lane change
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Front driver crash test 4 stars vs 4 stars Poor protection, 10% to 20% chance of serious head or chest injuries in a crash
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Driver side crash test 4 stars vs 4 stars Poor protection, 6% to 10% chance of serious chest injuries in a crash

Safety Features

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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antilock brakes Standard vs Standard Both come standard with ABS brakes
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Stability control system Yes vs Unknown
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Airbags 5 vs 5 OK number of airbags
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Rear brakes Unknown vs Disc
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child door locks Standard vs Standard Child door locks come standard
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Roadside assistance system None vs None

Performance

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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Horsepower 140 HP @ 4,000 RPM vs 270 HP @ 6,000 RPM The Altima 3.5 SR is of average power, but the Jetta TDI is underpowered
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Number of gears 6 vs Continuously variable The Jetta TDI has an OK number of gears, while the Altima 3.5 SR has very few
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Transmission Semi-automatic transmission vs Automatic transmission The Jetta TDI's semi-automatic transmission is a rare find for this class of vehicle
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paddle shifters Not Available vs Unknown
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Air compressor Turbocharger vs None The Jetta TDI's Turbocharger lets it maximize power output, quite rare for this class of vehicle
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Power-to-weight ratio 22.9 lb/hp vs 12.3 lb/hp The Altima 3.5 SR is a sporty car, but the Jetta TDI is sluggish
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Drivetrain type front-wheel drive vs front-wheel drive Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
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Curb-to-curb turning radius 36.4 ft vs Unknown

Practicality

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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Passengers 5 vs 5 Average number of seats
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Highway driving range 609 miles vs 540 miles Both can go pretty far on the highway on a single tank, however the Jetta TDI in particular gets exceptional range
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Cargo space 15.5 ft3 vs 8.2 ft3 The Jetta TDI has OK cargo room, while the Altima 3.5 SR has very little
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front seats 48.7 ft3 vs 49.3 ft3 Very cramped front seats
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folding rear seats Standard vs Standard Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
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power outlets Standard vs Standard Both have power outlets
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roof rails Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers roof rails
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navigation system Optional vs Optional Both offer an upgrade to a navigation system
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Cupholders 4 vs Unknown
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front air conditioning Standard vs Standard A/C for hot summer days comes standard

Entertainment System

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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Number of speakers 6 vs Unknown
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Has speed sensitive volume No vs Unknown
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CD player Standard vs Standard CD player comes standard
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premium radio Standard vs Optional Have your pick of music from around the world with the Jetta TDI's satellite radio; in the Altima 3.5 SR, too, but it'll cost
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Has auxiliary audio input Yes vs Unknown
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Has subwoofer No vs Unknown
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entertainment system Not Available vs Optional It'll cost you to get an entertainment system on the Altima 3.5 SR; but it's not available at all on the Jetta TDI

Road Tests

Volkswagen
Jetta TDI
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR Nissan
Altima 3.5 SR
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0-60 mph 8.3 seconds vs 6.5 seconds The Altima 3.5 SR has a good 0-60 time, but the Jetta TDI is just average
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Braking distance at 60mph 113 ft vs 128 ft The Jetta TDI has above average braking ability for this class of vehicle, but the Altima 3.5 SR is just OK
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1/4 mile 16.2 s @ 86 mph vs 14.9 s @ 100 mph The Altima 3.5 SR's 1/4 mile time is zippy, but the Jetta TDI's is just OK
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Lateral acceleration 0.82 g vs 0.81 g The Jetta TDI has OK cornering abilities compared to the below average Altima 3.5 SR
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Top speed 130 mph vs Unknown

Other Vehicles to Consider

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2012 Audi A3 Premium Jetta TDI vs A3 Premium
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2011 Volkswagen Golf Jetta TDI vs Golf
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2011 Toyota Camry SE Jetta TDI vs Camry SE
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2011 Honda Accord EX-L Jetta TDI vs Accord EX-L
2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion Jetta TDI vs Tiguan SE 4Motion
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2011 Nissan Maxima SV Altima 3.5 SR vs Maxima SV
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2011 Nissan Rogue SV Altima 3.5 SR vs Rogue SV
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2011 Mitsubishi Galant ES Altima 3.5 SR vs Galant ES
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2011 Toyota Corolla Altima 3.5 SR vs Corolla
2012 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2012 Chevrolet Cruze LT Altima 3.5 SR vs Cruze LT

Comments Which car would you recommend, and why?

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