Buyer's Guide

2021 Nissan Maxima
Select a Different Model (3 Available): Platinum Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 20 / 30 mpg
Horsepower 300@6,400
Torque 261@4,400
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2021 Nissan Maxima MODEL OVERVIEW


  • High-quality interior
  • Strong V-6 engine
  • Standard driver-assist features


  • Less interior space than rivals
  • Odd steering response
  • Mushy brakes

Now in its eighth generation, the Nissan Maxima retains the "four-door sports car" marketing message that's been around since the late 1980s. It is Nissan's largest sedan, positioned above the Versa, Sentra, and Altima.

Nissan introduced the current model for the 2016 model year and a 40th Anniversary Edition is the only update for 2021, other than a simplified trim lineup. It competes as one of the few remaining full-size sedans against cars including the Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon, and Kia Cadenza.

What's New

  • 40th Anniversary Edition
  • Base S and midgrade SL trim no longer available

What We Think

There is plenty to like about the Nissan Maxima. The interior feels modern and high-quality, the adaptive cruise control is great on a road trip, and the standard V-6 is smooth and powerful. Its IIHS 2020 Top Safety Pick+ designation means the Maxima is very safe. Fuel economy is decent, too, but full-size sedan buyers after mpgs would be better suited to an Avalon Hybrid.

Nissan's "four-door sports car" claims are a little optimistic. In a recent test, the Maxima exhibited minor understeer and odd steering with a strange amount of resistance in Sport mode. The brakes lack an initial bite, too. We also found the steering gets overly heavy at parking lot speeds and strangely vague on the highway. The Maxima is also smaller in the rear seat and trunk than its direct competitors.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Every Maxima features a 3.5-liter non-turbo V-6 under the hood that works with a CVT automatic to drive the front wheels. The standard six-cylinder develops 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 20/30 mpg city/highway, and our latest test shows it can run from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, although a 2016 test car did the same in 5.8 seconds.


The Maxima is a very safe car, as evidenced by the 2020 Top Safety Pick+ award it earned for its strong performance in IIHS safety testing. Its only minor flaw is an Acceptable (second-highest) rating for the standard LED headlights. NHTSA hasn't released complete ratings for the 2021 Maxima yet, but the 2020 model earned a five-star overall safety rating.

Every Maxima also includes Nissan's Safety Shield 360 collection of driver-assist active safety features. Automatic emergency braking front and rear, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high-beams are standard on all models. Adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist are included on higher trims.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

The Maxima seats five with an astounding 45.0 inches of legroom up front and 34.2 inches in the rear. Front legroom is best in segment, but rear seat legroom trails the Charger, 300, and Avalon by at least 5.9 inches. Cargo volume measures 14.3 cubic feet, trailing those same competitors by 2.8-3.2 cubic feet.


With this year's departure of the base Maxima S, all variants now include an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Satellite radio compatibility is also standard. The base audio system is an eight-speaker setup, but SR and Platinum include an 11-speaker Bose premium system.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: V6 3.5 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Xtronic Continuously Variable Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Platinum Sedan
Premium Passenger Car
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Maintenance Warranty Months
Corrosion Warranty Months
Powertrain Warranty Miles
Full Warranty Miles
Powertrain Warranty Months
Full Warranty Months
Roadside Assistance Miles
Maintenance Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Nissan announces a Customer Conquest offer towards the purchase or lease of an eligible Nissan to qualifying customers that trade in a Honda vehicle. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$2575 Nissan announces a NMAC Lease Cash offer on select models when financed with NMAC. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021
$0 0% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 48, 60 Months - Nissan announces special APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$1500 Nissan announces an APR Cash offer on select models when financed with NMAC. 07-06-2021
$1500 Nissan announces a Customer Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021