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2021 Nissan Maxima

Nissan Maxima OEM Exterior Primary Photo
OEM Interior Primary
OEM Exterior
OEM Exterior
OEM Interior
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Used Car Price Range
$17,999 - $31,988
$17,999 $31,988
Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2021 SV 4dr Sedan
most popular
Price:   -  From $37,090
2021 SR 4dr Sedan Price:   -  From $42,250
2021 Platinum 4dr Sedan Price:   -  From $42,320
Expert Rating
3.3 (Good)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

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What's New

It’s been 40 years since the Maxima name debuted, and the 40th Anniversary Edition is a limited-edition package for 2021. Highlights include date-embossed semi-aniline leather seats and retro white dials. It’s exclusively available on the priciest of three permanent models in the range, all now with leather seats, navigation, and connected services.

Choosing Your Nissan Maxima

The 2021 Maxima range is simple to navigate, with three trims and a single engine choice.

SV models cost $37,915 including destination, while SR and Platinum are almost identically priced at $43,075 and $43,145 respectively. While the SR is a more sporting model, the Platinum takes the luxury approach, and it’s also the only Maxima with the 40th Anniversary Edition Package available for $2,125.

Engine Choices

Every Maxima is powered by a 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 gas engine, producing 261 pound-feet of torque. This is supplied to the front wheels through a CVT gearbox, returning an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 34 combined.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

Cargo capacity for the five-seater Maxima stands at 14.3 cu ft with the rear seats in place.

Nissan Maxima

Safety Features

There are some advanced safety features on the Maxima, such as vented discs and traffic sign recognition. Standard features include intelligent cruise with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and warnings for rear cross traffic and blind spots.

LED headlights operate automatically across a range that also features six airbags in every cabin. SV models have basic lane keep assist, while higher trims receive more intelligent lane intervention. Every model enjoys rear automatic braking and rear sonar, coupled with front sonar on SR and above.


An eight-inch NissanConnect touchscreen is the centerpiece of every Maxima’s infotainment system, including navigation and WiFi hotspot technology.

There’s smartphone integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, USB-A and USB-C ports, and a CD player. The SV is the only trim making do with an eight-speaker audio system rather than the 11-speaker Bose Premium Audio setup in higher models, which also benefit from active noise cancellation.

Nissan Maxima

SV – From $37,915

The most affordable Maxima comes with sport-bolstered front seats including eight-way power and lumbar support for the driver. These seats are heated and clad in leather to match the steering wheel and shift knob.

A smart key supports push button ignition, and the engine can be started remotely to pre-heat or cool the cabin, with dual-zone climate also present. There are no packages available on SV or SR trims.

SR – From $43,075

Riding on larger 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, the Maxima SR’s sporting credentials are reflected by its rear spoiler and aluminum sport pedals. This is the only Maxima to receive shifters for its CVT gearbox, or sports suspension with stiffer springs and retuned dampers.

There’s also intelligent lane intervention and an around-view monitor with front and rear sonar systems, plus LED fog lights and memory outside mirrors. The cabin receives a dual pane power opening moonroof, adjustable ambient LED lighting, climate controlled front seats clad in Ascot leather, and a heated steering wheel.

Platinum – From $43,145

Platinum misses out on the SR’s mechanical revisions, but it gains a few compensations including a power tilt/telescoping steering column and rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers. There’s maple wood on the dash and Ascot leather around the memory steering wheel, with power rear window sunshades keeping rear passengers cool. Other SR features like the moonroof, ambient cabin lighting, and climate-controlled Ascot leather seats are carried across.

Platinum is the only model to offer the 40th Anniversary Package, as a $2,125 upgrade. It adds date-branded semi-aniline leather seats with diamond-quilted leather inserts and a matching steering wheel, plus bespoke aluminum-alloy wheels and badging. In a pleasingly retro touch, white gauges hark back to Datsuns and Nissans of old; more contemporary flourishes include heated rear seats and quad-tipped exhaust finishers.

Compare Maxima Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The $5,200 gulf between SV and Platinum models is significant, but the latter does gain a lot of features which make the Maxima’s cabin a nicer place to spend time. It’s harder to justify the SR’s attempts at turning Nissan’s flagship sedan into a sporting vehicle, and the stiffer suspension is more likely to irritate than enthrall.

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

  • Gutsy V-6
  • Plentiful features
  • Comfortable ride
  • Older Maximas were sportier
  • Cumbersome CVT
  • Can get very expensive
Expert Rating
3.3 (Good)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

Luxury, Nissan style. Cheap full-size sedans that can hold their own in corners don't exactly grow on trees. Actually, finding a full-size sedan at all has become a challenge. But a few holdouts remain, including the Nissan Maxima.

The Maxima name likely rings a bell, as 2021 marks the fortieth year of the nameplate, Nissan, for its part, is marking the anniversary with a pricey new special edition that comes chock-full of features. But you don't need to shell out $45,000 on the 40th Anniversary trim to get a sporty Maxima - every version has traces of the smart moves and peppy performance that endeared the model to buyers in the first place.

Some might wonder whether the Maxima is full-size at all, especially considering the mid-size Altima measures just as long as its once-bigger brother. To be sure, the only true full-sizers left are the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. Calling the Maxima full-size is more to denote its place at the top of the lineup rather than suggest it measures as long as a Chevy Tahoe.

These days, sheer dimensions matter less than the substance stuffed between the front and rear bumpers. In that regard, the Maxima offers luxury features aplenty for those who don't want to pay for a luxury badge.

Muscular V-6, CVT is a letdown. We'd make less of a stink about the features and value proposition if it were as sporty as its predecessors, but there's no doubt the current Maxima falls on the softer side. Even though it has some decent moves, you can't call it a sport sedan.

The most entertaining Maxima is the SR trim, which gets all the usual upgrades in order to provide a firmer chassis and more tactile response. Stiffer spring rates and upgraded brakes give the driver more confidence on more technical routes. Compared to the other trims, the SR feels more planted, more buttoned-down. It's also more rewarding to drive even when just loafing along.

The SR and Platinum also get 19-inch wheels rather than the 18-inch wheels used on the lower trims. The bigger wheels don't really impact ride quality; all Maximas have a well-dampened suspension that leaves passengers unperturbed even over the worst roads.

All trims have one thing in common a 3.5-liter V-6 making 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. It's a muscular motor, delivering a pleasant wallop of power to the front tires without instigating any torque steer. Give it the spurs and 60 mph shows up in under six seconds.

Pushed up against that engine is a CVT transmission. CVTs have become somewhat common in recent years. Their party trick? No gears - just a belt-and-pulley system that offers an infinite number of ratios. In theory, it should always keep in the engine in the power band, making the most of the Maxima's 300 horsepower at all times,

The reality isn't so rosy. The Maxima's CVT is slow to adjust its ratio, so stepping on the gas doesn't result in anything resembling the satisfying "shift" we've become conditioned to. Instead, the CVT drones along at steady high RPMs while speed increases. It's underwhelming, especially in something as purportedly luxurious as the Maxima.

It's a shame, considering the strong engine and decent chassis. Had Nissan used an eight-speed automatic, the Maxima would be as well-rounded as it aspires to be. For now, it's a nice-driving car hobbled by a transmission that needs more time in the incubator.

Nissan Maxima

More features, higher price. For 2021, Nissan has reshuffled the Maxima trims, eliminating the base S and chrome-oriented SL and leaving the SV trim as the base model. That brings a big price bump when you compare the cheapest versions of this year and last, but it also means a much more comprehensive set of standard features right out of the gate.

Among the included features on the SR: leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and driver lumbar support. That's on top of what was standard last year, like LED lights, remote start, dual-zone climate control, and power front seats. The new base price? A touch under $38,000. That makes it the most expensive player in the segment.

Upper models pile on the goodies, such as heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic roof, quilted semi-aniline leather, real wood trim. If that reads more like a Mercedes spec sheet than a Nissan, you'd be right - a loaded Maxima blurs the line between luxury and mainstream.

Despite the great features, the Maxima's value is murky at best. After all, it can cost up to $45.000, which is a steep ask for a Nissan-badged front-drive sedan. All things considered, we don't see much merit in such an expensive Maxima.

Where's the value? The revised trim structure makes the Maxima the most expensive of its competitive set, as the Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and Toyota Avalon all start at thousands less. Yet even though it's generously equipped right out of the gate, the value proposition of the Maxima is a bit puzzling.

For the sake of comparison, take the Stellantis (formerly FCA) twins, the Charger and 300. Both ride on a rear-drive platform, boast true full-size dimensions, come with an excellent infotainment system, and offer V-8 power - the last point being a very rare treat in any segment these days. Despite their age and mediocre fit and finish, their unique selling points have kept them relevant and popular.

The Avalon is more similar to the Maxima in that it comes standard with front-wheel drive and V-6 power. It starts at about $1,000 less than the Maxima but gets with many of the same features - and not to mention that enviable Toyota reputation for longevity.

Like the Charger and 300, the Avalon also offers all-wheel drive - leaving the Maxima as the only model in the class that's strictly two-wheel drive. It's a bit strange, considering the Altima is now available with all-wheel drive.

Final thoughts. The biggest issue facing the Maxima is its competition. Performance buyers will lean towards the Charger and 300; those who prioritize comfort and value will look toward the more affordable, famously dependable Toyota Avalon. It doesn't leave much room for the Maxima to distinguish itself in its current form.

But that doesn't mean the Maxima is out of the running, as it has the features and comfort prioritized by big car buyers. But a high price and a lack of any notable differentiators handicap it in an era where big cars are no longer the aspirational choices they once were.

Check prices for the 2021 Nissan Maxima »

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.5L V-6 / 300 HP / 261 ft.lbs.
Xtronic 2-spd sequential shift control CVT w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
20 / 30 / 25 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.5L V-6 / 300 HP / 261 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
20 / 30 / 25 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
18.0 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Premium Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
14.3 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
99 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
192.8 "
Exterior Width
73.2 "
Exterior Height
56.5 "
Front Headroom
39.4 "
Rear Headroom
36.7 "
Front Legroom
45.0 "
Rear Legroom
34.2 "
Front Shoulder Room
56.7 "
Rear Shoulder Room
55.7 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,565 Lbs.
Wheel Base
109 "
Turning Radius
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
18.0 " Machined W/painted Accents Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone / Pearlcoat Monotone / Tri-coat Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated
Front Body-colored With Colored Insert
Grille Moldings
Black W/chrome Accents
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
(8-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
(4-way Power)
Front Armrests
(8-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Siriusxm Am/fm/satellite, Clock, Seek-scan
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt Style
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Driver And Passenger
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Driver And Passenger
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Rear Side-impact Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Automatic Emergency Braking (aeb) Forward Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Sensor
Blind Spot Warning (bsw) Blind Spot
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Departure Warning (ldw) Lane Departure
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Automatic Emergency Braking With Pedestrian Detection (p-aeb) Front Pedestrian Detection Prevention
Driver Attention Alert
Intelligent Driver Alertness (i-da) Driver Attention
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
High Beam Assist (hba) Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles

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