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2020 Nissan Maxima Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Nissan Maxima Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: S vs SV, SL vs SR, Platinum & Platinum Reserve
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 Nissan Maxima Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Large sedans are not as popular as they once were. Those who need more than a compact car tend to jump straight up to crossovers. That said, certain models have been around for decades and show no signs of going away anytime soon. The Nissan Maxima is a good example of these vehicles. Nissan markets the vehicle as a four-door sports car.

This sedan has room to comfortably seat five people. It has 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is considered small for this segment of the market. Helping to make up for this short-coming is a variety of well-placed cubbies that are great for putting smaller items.

The 2020 model of the Maxima is part of the eighth generation of this vehicle. This generation first made an appearance in 2015. For this year, a wide range of safety features become standard on all trims. This may help the Maxima attract families away from the SUV market.

When considering the 2020 Maxima, there are six different trim levels to take a look at. All of them have the same engine and drivetrain, as well as similar safety features. This guide aims to breakdown what actually is different between the trim levels to help you determine if you should upgrade from the entry-level S.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Maxima S vs SV Trims. What is the difference?

The only engine you will find for the 2020 Maxima is a 3.5L V6 that produces 300-horespower and 261 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard and no trim levels offer the option of upgrading to all-wheel-drive. The Maxima will give you an estimated 20 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway, which is respectable for a vehicle of this size.

All versions of the Maxima give you what they call the "integrated dynamics-control module." This gives you active ride control, which is designed to help the vehicle travel smoothly over bumps. It adds a feature known as intelligent trace control, which is designed to help with cornering. This advanced feature monitors conditions and can apply brakes to each individual wheel as needed. The final feature is known as intelligent engine brake. Using the CVT, this system is designed to keep the Maxima from stopping short and sending your belongings flying.

For the S level, you get 18" aluminum-alloy wheels. Standard for the S are LED headlights featuring LED signature daytime running lights. These headlights are auto on and off. Moving around the vehicle, the taillamps also have an integrated LED signature. They are also quad-tipped exhaust finishers.

Inside of the cabin of the S, you get dual-zone automatic climate control. There are several nice features on this entry-level trim that are typically not seen until upper trims on other vehicles. These include a push-button ignition and auto-dimming rearview mirror. It also gives you remote engine start with intelligent climate control. This feature is advanced enough to respond to the weather outside and help get your cabin comfortable before you step foot inside.

The inside of the S is comfortable with its eight-way adjustable driver's seat and four-way adjustable front passenger seat. The seats are made from cloth. In the back, you will find the 60/40 split-folding rear seat. There is leather on both the shift knob and the steering wheel. The interior trim for the S has a "satin chrome" theme. Both sides of the vehicle feature illuminated vanity mirrors with sun visor extenders.

Moving onto the infotainment system, you get an 8" screen running NissanConnect. This works with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other tech features include Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio system, and hands-free text messaging assistant. You get one USB port and one USB-C port. All of your music can be controlled with eye-catching illuminated steering-wheel-mounted controls.

The S trim, like all the other versions of the Maxima, gives you an advanced drive assist display. It is a 7" display right on the dash that tells you important information about how your vehicle is performing. It can also give you the next move for your current navigation and inform you if any safety alerts are triggered. The goal is to help minimize the amount of time your focus is off the road.

All of the Maxima models, to include the S, have what is known as acoustic laminated glass. This is found on both the windshield and the front windows. It is designed to cut down on wind noise, something that bothers some people, although many people simply tune it out after a few minutes. It can make it easier to have a conversation or listen to your music when cruising down the highway, however.

The long list of standard safety features is one thing that the Maxima has had going for it for quite a while. For the S, you get intelligent forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking using pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview monitor, high beam assist, lane departure warning, rear sonar, and intelligent driver alertness. This last feature will let you know if it senses a change in your steering patterns and can recommend taking a break. You also get a tire pressure monitoring system that displays all four tires' psi on your advanced drive-assist display.

Stepping up to the SV gives you several nice touches for your Maxima. On the outside, you will now find heated side mirrors with built-in turn signals. Inside the cabin, the driver's seat gains lumbar adjustment. You also get heated seats that are leather-appointed.

Going up to the SV gives you navigation, a pretty rare find for the second trim level of a vehicle. You also get HD radio capability. The cruise control gets upgraded to intelligent cruise control, giving your Maxima the ability to maintain a set distance between it and the vehicle ahead. You also get traffic sign recognition, which has the ability to read and display posted speed limits and other important information.

Although it may seem like there are not many changes between the two trims, the few features that the SV adds are important ones, making it a worthwhile upgrade.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Maxima SV vs SL Trims.  What is the difference?

One significant change for the SL is the inclusion of a standard dual-panel panoramic moonroof with the handy one-touch open/close feature. You also get adjustable ambient lighting. The front passenger seat gets a power lifting feature. The steering wheel is heated for the SL trim and above.

The sound system gets a pretty significant upgrade for the SL trim. It is a BOSE system that features 11 speakers and what is known as Centerpoint surround technology. You can hear your music better than ever thanks to the active noise cancellation adding by this trim. This model also gives you one more USB and one more USB-C port.

Moving on to safety, the SL adds front sonar to the rear sonar system. Although there are a few changes between these trims, there may not be enough to justify the price jump.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Maxima SL vs SR.  What is the difference?

The SR is a sportier version of the 2020 Nissan Maxima. It sits on 19" gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels. This trim will give you LED fog lights as well as a rear spoiler. The outside mirrors are fancier, with a reverse tilt-down feature. The driver's side mirror also gets an auto-dimming ability.

Seats get an upgrade for the SR as well. The driver's seat gets manual thigh support. You also gain the memory ability for the driver's seat and outside mirror settings. The seats are what Nissan calls "climate controlled," which simply means they are ventilated as well as heated. The seat material uses premium Ascot-leather and stands out with its diamond-quilted inserts. Your steering wheel gets a similar upgrade.

Safety gets an upgrade for the SR. It gives you intelligent lane departure intervention and an intelligent around view monitor. You get an aluminum sports pedal as well as column-mounted shifters on the steering wheel for the SR. These shifters are designed to always be easily reachable, even when cornering. The suspension is also sports-tuned with performance dampers, a larger front stabilizer bar, and stiffer springs.

Overall, the SR is a fun version of the Maxima that also adds some luxury to the sedan.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Maxima SR vs Platinum Trims. What is the difference?

Going with the Platinum trim level gives you even more luxury. It rides on 19" machine-finished wheels and also gives you the option of upgrading to 19" "Dark Hyper Silver" ones. This trim level does lose the rear spoiler you find on the SR one.

On the inside of the Platinum, you will find a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. The windshield wipers are rain-sensing. You also get a handy rear-window power shade. Your memory settings also include the steering wheel position when going with the Platinum trim level.

Your rear seats have the option of being heated with this trim. The interior theme of this trim changes to "satin birdseye maple wood." For this trim, the infotainment system adds NissanConnect services with a trial subscription. These services allow you to send navigation information, send texts without taking your hands off the wheel, get vehicle maintenance reports, remotely lock the car, and much more.

The Platinum trim is priced only a hundred dollars or so above the SR trim. Deciding between these two trims depends solely on what features are more desirable for you.

Compare the 2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum vs Platinum Reserve Trims.  What is the difference?

The very top of the trim line is the Platinum Reserve model. It adds the previously optional heated rear seats as standard equipment. This trim also gets the optional " Dark Hyper Silver" 19" wheels. Inside, the interior theme is "satin bronze." You also get charcoal headliners.

Those are the only differences between the Platinum and Platinum Reserve. The jump up will cost you about a thousand dollars. While the features alone might not justify the price, some people may find it worth it just to own the "ultimate" Maxima.

Which Trim to Choose?

When it comes to the Maxima, there really is no bad choice. Since they share the same power and drivetrains, there is no real difference in performance between these levels. The one exception may be the SR trim, with its sports-tuned suspension.

The entry-level S has a great infotainment system and a long list of advanced driver's aids. Moving up just one trim, however, to the SV, gives you navigation, something many people find handy. Both the SR and the Platinum add many nice features as well. Skip the SL trim, which only really gives you a few more speakers, and the Platinum Reserve trim, which is overpriced for what it brings to the table.

The SV trim, with its leather and safety upgrades, is a good buy for the majority of consumers.

Used 2020 Nissan Maxima:
Previous Nissan Maxima Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Nissan Maxima Trim Levels