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.
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.
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.
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.
|$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|