A red 2022 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T is shown from the front parked inside a covered bridge during a 2022 Honda Accord vs 2022 Nissan Altima comparison.

Family-Friendly Sedans to Make You Second-Guess Buying an SUV

On roadways filled with SUVs of all shapes and sizes driving by, you may find yourself considering one for your family’s next vehicle. The size, versatility, and capabilities found in SUVs are undeniably appealing to many drivers, especially those in need of ample passenger seating and plenty of room for all the essentials that may be needed for the daily commute or the weekend getaways. Now that many automotive brands like Ford and Buick have eliminated sedans from their lineup altogether, looking for a new sedan may seem discouraging, but it shouldn’t be. There are still many family-friendly sedans available that are even competitive with SUVs, and it’s time you compare two popular midsize sedans, the 2022 Honda Accord vs 2022 Nissan Altima, and contrast them with their rival segment.

Before the SUV craze hit, the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima were consistently popular amongst families due to their enjoyable driving experiences, superior fuel economy, spacious back seats, and generous trunk space for hauling around everything the kids need for school or extra-curricular activities. Although the Accord has been around much longer than the Altima, with its first model introduced for 1977 versus the Altima’s first model in 1993, they both have made a considerable impact on the midsize sedan segment through the years and are even competing against small SUVs today which is why they are the perfect models to demonstrate to you there are still notable sedans out there to make you second-guess buying an SUV.

Versatile Size

Many drivers have switched from cars to SUVs based on size alone. However, unless you’re willing to sacrifice fuel economy for massive interior space, you’ll likely be looking at small SUVs and crossovers that can provide you with the fuel efficiency you need for your daily commutes. If that’s the case, you might also take advantage of the roomy back seats of sedans to give your little ones all the space they need to stay as content for as long as possible.

The 2022 Honda Accord reigns when it comes to passenger volume. Although both sedans seat up to five people, the Accord has 105.6 cubic feet of space for everyone to share versus the Altima’s 100.6 cubic feet. However, both are roomier than the subcompact 2022 Jeep Renegade SUV with its 100 cubic feet. The Altima also beats other models in the subcompact SUV segment that seat five passengers, like the 2022 Chevy Trax and the 2022 Buick Encore.

Where the 2022 Nissan Altima reigns over the above-mentioned small SUVs and even the 2022 Honda Accord is with front legroom. So if you’re looking for the most legroom for yourself, the Altima provides 43.8 inches for the front passengers, which is 1.5 inches more than the Accord and 2 to 3 inches more than the small SUVs in our comparison. Unfortunately, the 2022 Honda Accord bumps the Altima off its pedestal with far better second-row legroom than all of the compared models. When you’re traveling with kids, what makes them happy, will make you happy, and the 40.4 inches they’ll have gives them plenty of room to flail around without annoying you and your front passenger. This is a huge deal compared to the little over 35 inches that the other models, including the Nissan Altima, have to offer.

An orange 2022 Nissan Altima is shown from above rounding a corner.

Road-Hugging Performance

Since most sedans are smaller than SUVs and tend to weigh less, while they lack certain capabilities found in SUVs, they excel with performance. Positioned closer to the ground than any SUV, sedans like the 2022 Honda Accord and 2022 Nissan Altima handle the curves of the road with ease, unlike the top-heavy raised SUV body style. The size and aerodynamic design of sedans contribute to their fuel efficiency as well, helping you save in the long run at the gas pump.

Both the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima are available with several gas-powered engine options for their 2022 models. If you’re looking for fuel economy numbers to put one model above the other, the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid is estimated to get 47 MPG combined to take you even farther between filling up and saving you plenty in fuel costs. The highest rating of the non-hybrid Accords is the 33 MPG combined of the base 1.5L turbocharged engine, while the Altima’s highest rating is estimated at 32 MPG combined for the standard 2.5L. Far behind are the subcompact SUVs. The Jeep Renegade and Chevy Trax are both estimated to get just 27 MPG combined. If you compare the Accord and the Altima with larger SUVs, they’ll outdrive them between stops at the pump with no problems.

Do-It-All Capabilities

While a sedan may be the vehicle of choice for fuel efficiency, a smooth ride, and a driving experience that hugs all the curves along the road, when it comes to needing something to tow a camper or function as a work vehicle, you’re going to want to look for a model with greater capabilities. Commuter-friendly sedans are great for many things, but towing is not one of them. This is one feature SUVs have over sedans and why many people do end up choosing them over the long-time family favorite.

Neither the 2022 Honda Accord nor the 2022 Nissan Altima is rated for towing, but the 2022 Nissan Altima does come in all-wheel drive like most SUVs. Additional traction in inclement weather and on any road surface was one feature many drivers were drawn towards with SUVs, but today, many sedans are available with all-wheel drive. Although the Altima may not be capable of the off-roading that the Jeep Renegade or larger SUVs can handle, you at least get peace of mind while you’re at the wheel, no matter how quickly the road or the weather conditions may change on you.

Another reason many drivers find themselves leaning towards an SUV is the interior cargo space. When you look at the numbers, it does look like even the subcompact SUVs take the lead over sedans like the 2022 Honda Accord and 2022 Nissan Altima. The 2022 Jeep Renegade provides a total of 50.8 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down, while the 2022 Chevy Trax has 48.4 cubic feet to offer. That seems pretty impressive compared to the Accord’s trunk space of 16.7 cubic feet, even if the Accord beats the Altima by 1.3 cubic feet. But what the numbers don’t tell you is that both the 2022 Honda Accord and the 2022 Nissan Altima have 60/40 split-folding rear seats, so the trunk space can expand into the back seat when it’s not occupied by passengers.

Ultimately, you may get just as much interior cargo space with the Accord and Altima and their versatile interiors as you do with small SUVs. When you look at the designated cargo area totals of the subcompact SUVs, they are not that far off of the trunk space offered by sedans. The Jeep Renegade only has 18.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, while the Chevy Trax has 18.7 cubic feet. That’s only around 2 cubic feet more than the generous amount of trunk space found with the 2022 Honda Accord.

A silver 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring is shown from the side parked in a city at night.

Still Interested in an SUV?

On your search for your family’s next vehicle, you will find yourself comparing many different models to help you decide which will be best for you and your family’s needs. What you may not realize is that you need to make sure you compare the models of different types of vehicles as well. Every style may have its differences to set them apart from one another, but they are also very similar to each other.

Midsize sedans have improved through the years to keep up with the demands of drivers and compete with rival classes like the SUV segment. As demonstrated by comparing the 2022 Honda Accord and 2022 Nissan Altima vs subcompact SUVs, sedans have kept to their heritage of roomy interiors and great performance, while improving their cargo space and even adding all-wheel drive as an option to be more appealing and more competitive. If you’ve questioned whether or not an SUV would be best for you and your family, before you drop the sedan altogether, make sure you compare all of your options across each class with each other because they are more alike than you think.