An orange 2021 Nissan Altima is shown from a high angle during a 2021 Nissan Altima vs 2021 Toyota Camry comparison.

A Superhero Smackdown: The Nissan Altima vs Toyota Camry

Rivalries are the spice of life. Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Sylvester Stallone. Bugs Bunny vs Daffy Duck. Godzilla vs King Kong. Batman vs Iron Man. The list goes on. Nearly every relevant pop cultural icon can be paired up to, measured against, and compared to its nearest rival. We do it all the time with heroes and villains, comic books and movies, as well as with popular nameplates in the auto industry. But what if we transmuted certain rivalries like the 2021 Nissan Altima vs 2021 Toyota Camry into the realm of super-powered heroes? What would that be like, and what sort of abilities would each vehicle have?

It may seem like an odd comparison, but there’s no rule book that says we can’t have a little fun with the idea of two popular car models going head-to-head with some fictional powers based on real-life attributes just like we might see happen if we existed in another part of the Multiverse. So, let’s imagine that we are on a different version of earth or in a different timeline, where the Altima and Camry don spandex and superpowers, as we attempt to translate their features into something fans of the genre might recognize.

Defining the Roles…

Let’s imagine that high-performance sports cars might be equivalent to speedsters like The Flash, hatchbacks and subcompacts might be the equivalent of Spider-Man, and heavy-duty vehicles like the Hummer or 3500 series from GMC or Ram might be the equivalent of characters like Juggernaut or Colossus. We could also assume that rugged and highly durable vehicles like the Wrangler would be on the line of someone like Wolverine, and high-tech EVs like Tesla would be equivalent to Iron Man.

What category then does that put midsize sedans? Well, they’re smart, savvy, middle-of-the-road vehicles that accommodate a little bit of everything from comfortable interior space to high-tech infotainment to reliable safety and good gas mileage; they’re like the all-around kind of hero, similar to Batman or Captain America.

So where does that leave the Altima and Camry? Well, it means we have to define their roles, what sort of powers they would have, and how they would go about being superheroes. Translating features into superpowers is pretty easy, considering that fuel economy and safety would make up for endurance and durability, and infotainment and capacity would account for technology and strength. So let’s see how these two vehicle heroes measure up and which one has the advantage in this showdown.

A white 2021 Toyota Camry XSE is shown from the side.

Round 1: Weight

Midsize sedans aren’t known for being heavy vehicles, nor for being the most powerful on the road. So as heroes, they would be in the mid-tier categories, just about at peak human strength, or maybe a little above that. Their weight ratings would also determine how well they could move around based on handling. In the case of the Camry and Altima, the Altima has a gross vehicle weight rating slightly lower than the Camry, with the Altima topping out at 3,463 pounds and the Camry topping out at 3,565 pounds.

This gives a slight advantage to the Altima when moving about, even if only barely, but a slight advantage is still better than no advantage. Having a minor advantage means that when it comes to dodging blows, the Altima would have a little less weight to move around compared to the Camry, a 100-pound difference, in fact. This slight lack of weight can mean speedier reactions and smoother handling.

Round 2: Power

Weight also makes an impact when it comes to power. The Camry offers more overall horsepower with its 3.5-liter V6, which outputs up to 301 horsepower. The Altima, meanwhile, comes up short in the horsepower department, even with the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo inline 4-cylinder, which maxes out at 248 horsepower. However, if we look at horsepower as an equivalent to how quickly a hero can throw a punch, then we need to look at torque as how hard those punches land, and that is where the Altima has an advantage.

The Altima produces up to 273 pound-feet of torque with its 2.0L turbo engine through a continuously variable transmission, so there are no limits or preset gear ratios for utilizing the torque, whereas the Camry tops out at 267 pound-feet of torque with its stronger engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. So how does this give the advantage to the Altima? Imagine two heroes fighting. While the quick one may be able to land a lot of blows quickly, it only takes one or two heavy punches to take them down.

In a showdown where the Altima has less weight and more torque, the Altima can top out its 273 pound-feet of torque at 4000 RPM compared to the Camry, maximizing its 248 pound-feet of torque at 4700 RPM. In this case, the lighter hero with the more solid punches will win the fight. Think of it like the early fights between Captain America and the Winter Soldier. While Cap had the necessary speed to get in some early punches, the Winter Soldier has the reaction times and the strength to successfully end the fights quickly.

Round 3: Strength

It’s easy to confuse strength with power. The difference is that strength can relate to capacities, whereas power can be about force. In this way, we could translate a superhero’s strength into the capacity-related capabilities of midsize sedans. Where heavy-duty pickup trucks would have strength on the line of the Incredible Hulk or Superman due to their towing and payload capabilities, midsize sedans are a little less overpowered, but they are still great when it comes to saving the day.

In the cargo capacity department, the Altima and Camry are basically neck-in-neck in how much they can carry. However, there’s almost a 3-inch difference in passenger volume, with the Altima providing 100.8 cubic feet and the Camry providing 98.8 cubic feet. This is like one superhero being able to rescue five people and a beagle, while the other can rescue a total of five people and a corgi. The differences are quite minimal, so in a battle of rescuing people and items, both would nearly tie, but the Altima has an ever-so-slight edge over the Camry in the people carrying department. You could still count on both to be reliable heroes to rescue multiple people at a time.

A blue 2021 Nissan Altima is shown from the front driving on a city street.

Round 4: Endurance

But what good is strength without endurance? In this way, you would have to rate endurance by how far the vehicles could travel. Both tie in the entry-level trim fuel economy department, which would measure how far they could travel or how long they could battle as heroes before getting tired. However, when you compare the all-wheel drive models, the Altima gains the upper footing over the Camry. The Altima manages 25 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway in all-wheel drive for the Platinum trim, while the Camry manages 22 MPG in the city and 33 MPG for the XLE V6. The numbers also drop further with the Camry’s TRD trim down to 31 MPG on the highway.

So if these two were fighting throughout the day, the more powerful version of the Camry would give out quicker than the Altima, even if it’s just by a couple of miles. As you know, a couple of miles can make or break the difference between reaching your destination and coming up short. So in the endurance department, the Altima edges out the win.

Your Superhero Winner: The Nissan Altima

It’s not an easy fight, and it’s not won by leagues, but the 2021 Nissan Altima vs 2021 Toyota Camry sees the Altima coming out on top in a superhero battle for the ages by literal inches in some cases. Ultimately while the Camry hits harder and offers more overall power, the Altima can outlast the Camry with quicker hits and longer-lasting endurance. If this were a fight, the Camry would do a ton of damage when landing a hit, and both would be able to rescue multiple people (and corgis) at a time, but after a while, you could imagine the Camry slowly giving out over time. Eventually, the Camry would collapse from exhaustion, and the Altima would be able to edge over the finish line with passengers and corgi in hand after dealing the final blow.

What are your thoughts about the match-up, and which heroes do you think fit the Altima and Camry? Which one of these heroes do you want keeping you safe and secure on a day-to-day basis?