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Referred to as a “four-door sports car” by Nissan, the Maxima remains a recommended entry-level luxury sedan. Although the 2021 Nissan Maxima may not be as exhilarating as some other models, it’s still quite entertaining to drive. Signature styling also helps this car to stand out in a very competitive segment. When it comes to overall comfort and safety, the Maxima continues to stand among the class leaders.
What’s New for 2021?
To commemorate the Maxima, a new 40th Anniversary Edition model has been welcomed into the lineup. Nissan has also reduced the Maxima’s lineup to three main trim levels.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Nissan Maxima – The Pros
1. Lively Powertrain
Nissan only offers the new Maxima with one powertrain option. Nevertheless, it proves to be a satisfying performer. Under the hood is a familiar V6 engine, which has won multiple awards over the years for its cutting-edge design. Nissan rates this engine to push out an even 300 horsepower. Automotive reviewers have clocked the Maxima with a respectable 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. There’s definitely enough power on tap for drivers to have a bit of fun.
2. Xtronic Transmission Works Well
The 2021 Nissan Maxima is equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission. It’s far better than the typical CVT. Although Nissan’s Xtronic transmission doesn’t feature traditional gears, it does benefit from “D-Step” simulated gearshift logic. This feature ensures a more engaging driving experience. Nissan's Xtronic transmission also helps optimize fuel economy. The EPA rates the Maxima to return up to 30 mpg on the interstate, which is not bad for a large sedan.
3. Handles Well for Its Size
Although the 2021 Nissan Maxima may not be a high-performance car, most people will be impressed by its athleticism. It feels extremely confident on bending roads. A lowered stance ensures good body control. All versions of the Maxima come equipped with some performance-enhancing technologies. When taking corners, Intelligent Trace Control helps enhance stability. Meanwhile, Active Ride Control helps smooth out bumpy roads. Drivers who desire tighter handling can take advantage of the SR model's track-inspired suspension.
4. Packs A lot of Style
One of the Maxima’s best highlights is its eye-catching exterior design. It has a sleek and muscular body. Many people also like the sedan’s recently updated front fascia, which flaunts a more aggressive V-Motion grille and cool LED headlamps. On the rear, integrated exhaust finishers enhance the car’s sportiness. Expect the new 80th Anniversary Edition to have an especially bold look. An exclusive Ruby Slate Gray Pearl finish with a black roof help set it apart.
5. Above-Average Comfort & Luxury
When it comes to overall comfort, the 2021 Nissan Maxima punches above its price class. Passengers will especially enjoy Nissan’s exclusive Zero Gravity seats. These seats are built to keep your body in an ideal anatomical position, thus ensuring greater comfort. Drivers will also appreciate how quiet the cabin remains at highway speeds. This is a perfect car for travelers. Upper trim levels feel quite luxurious. Diamond-quilted leather upholstery and wood accents help create a premium atmosphere.
6. Well-Equipped Base SV Model
The base SV model is a great choice for drivers who aren’t looking to shell out any extra money. Prices start at less than $37,000. Buyers will receive a good amount of standard equipment. When Old Man Winter approaches, the SV model’s heated seats will warm things up. Traffic sign recognition is a newly added standard feature. It helps drivers to remain aware of the speed limit and other road signs. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and LED exterior lighting are standard as well.
7. Standard Safety Shield 360
Last year, the Maxima recorded some of the best crash scores in the segment. Every new 2021 Nissan Maxima also comes standard with Safety Shield 360. This collection of advanced driving aids will reduce the likelihood of a crash. Nissan’s forward collision warning system is intelligent enough to predict a potential accident two vehicles ahead. Meanwhile, blind-spot monitoring uses sensors to detect unseen cars. Front/rear automatic braking, automatic high beams, and lane departure notification are included as well.
8. Intelligent Around View Monitor
A traditional backup camera comes standard on the Maxima. However, an Intelligent Around View Monitor is on the car’s list of optional equipment. It features four cameras for a 360-degree view. When attempting to park crowded places, drivers will appreciate the enhanced visibility. If the system happens to detect a moving object near the car, a warning will be displayed. While everyone will appreciate the Intelligent Around View Monitor, it’s a must-have feature for city dwellers.
9. Bose Premium Sound System
Drivers who aren’t quite content with the Maxima’s standard stereo should upgrade to the Bose premium audio system. This 11-speaker unit delivers an especially clear sound. Centerpoint2 Surround Technology helps passengers to hear great sound from every angle. Music fans can dial up the volume without fear of causing distortion. Active Noise Cancellation comes along with the system, which helps promote a quieter ride.
10. Rear Door Alert
Rear Door Alert makes the 2021 Nissan Maxima a safer car. It will certainly appeal to drivers who routinely travel with children or pets. If necessary, the system will remind drivers to check the backseat. Aside lowering the risk of kids being left in a hot vehicle, Rear Door Alert also makes valuables less likely to get stolen.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Nissan Maxima – The Cons
1. Does Not Offer All-Wheel Drive
The Maxima has always been a front-wheel-drive car. This is a non-issue for the majority of car shoppers. However, folks who reside in a snow-prone area may need an AWD-equipped vehicle. During a wintry storm, Maxima drivers will be more likely to get stuck.
2. Not a True Four-Door Sports Car
Despite what Nissan may say, the 2021 Nissan Maxima is not a four-door sports car. Some people may desire a more aggressive driving machine. While the Maxima is fun to drive, it doesn’t pack the performance of a European sports sedan. Both the turbocharged Honda Accord and the V6-powered Toyota Camry can accelerate just as quickly as the Maxima.
3. Could Use More Rear Legroom
Most people will find the new Maxima to be a very accommodating family car. Few models in the class provide as much front-seat legroom. However, there’s not as much space in the Maxima’s backseat. Long-legged family members may need more space to unwind. The midsize Nissan Altima actually has a more spacious backseat.
4. Interior Electronics Are Just A Tad Outdated
Every trim level comes equipped with a NissanConnect infotainment system. Testers praise this interface for its simple design. However, it doesn’t currently offer wireless smartphone integration. Drivers must connect their smartphone using a traditional USB cable. Nissan also doesn’t offer the Maxima with a fully digital gauge cluster.
5. Smaller Trunk Limits Cargo Space
The average driver will have no complaints about the Maxima’s trunk. It provides roughly 14.3 cubic feet of storage space. However, other cars in the class have a much larger trunk. For instance, there’s 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the Dodge Charger’s trunk. This extra space could prove to be an asset when traveling.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
2021 Nissan Maxima vs 2021 Toyota Avalon
The Toyota Avalon is a top-rated large sedan. Critics rave about the Avalon’s bulletproof reliability. Build quality is exceptional for the class. Toyota also offers a fun-to-drive Avalon TRD model. It comes equipped with a track-tuned suspension and high-performance exhaust. While the Avalon is a great pick, some drivers may favor the Maxima’s racy exterior styling. Test drivers may also find the Maxima’s front seats to be a more relaxing.
2021 Nissan Maxima vs 2021 Honda Accord
The 2021 Honda Accord is priced lower than the new Maxima. However, it has many great qualities. Families love the Accord’s spacious design. Four-cylinder Accord models also offer superior fuel economy. However, Accord buyers must spend extra for the Accord’s upgraded engine. Nissan also offers the Maxima with a greater number of premium interior materials. Furthermore, only the Maxima gives buyers access to a 360-degree parking camera.
2021 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen designed the Passat to focus on passenger comfort. It provides more rear-seat legroom than the Maxima. The extra space may appeal to bigger families. On the downside, the Passat isn’t as engaging to drive. Some people may also find the Passat’s styling to be a bit on the boring side. This is especially true for the base model.
Before buying a new entry-level luxury sedan, car shoppers should visit their local Nissan dealership to test drive the 2021 Nissan Maxima. This is one sharp-looking family sedan. It’s also quick and nimble enough to keep driving enthusiasts satisfied. While prices have increased for the 2021 model year, buyers will enjoy a greater number of premium features.
While the new Maxima scores well in several categories, some families will need more rear legroom. All-wheel drive also isn’t available, which could turn away folks living in the Snowbelt.
• Why buy a 2020 Nissan Maxima? w/ pros vs cons