Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2021 Nissan Maxima is shown from the front driving at night.

Just How Well Do You Know the Nissan Maxima?

A lot of people who don’t really follow Nissan models very well or keep up with what’s going on with the brand probably look at the 2021 Nissan Maxima and just see a four-door sedan. That’s easy enough since, from the outside, that’s pretty much what it looks like. More serious Nissan fans, however, know that the Maxima has so much more to offer – including amazing luxury, great technology, and some of the best safety systems on the road. But how well do you really know the Maxima?

I’m talking about performance. Do you know just how powerful and impressive the Maxima really is when it comes to tearing up the road and leaving other four-door models in its not-so-proverbial dust? Today, I’m going to take you through the performance features of this beauty, and you’ll see how powerful and impressive this model really is. Because the Maxima is so much more than just a family sedan – it’s a four-door beast.

An Engine Built to Thrill

Any time I’m interested in the kind of performance a vehicle has to offer, like the 2021 Nissan Maxima, the first thing I look at is the engine. It’s not the only thing I look at, of course, but I always feel like it’s a great place to start. The engine is the beating heart of the vehicle, you know, so getting a good look at it and going from there just makes sense.

And this just so happens to be an area where the Maxima really shines: it has a 3.5L DOHC V6 engine that delivers 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque. Compare that to something like the Chevy Malibu, which typically comes with a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine offering just 160 hp. These are both four-door sedans, but it’s clear that Nissan approached the Maxima as being much more than just another family vehicle.

I’ll admit, this doesn’t blow away something like a Corvette or Mustang, but it’s not supposed to. Those are sports cars designed purely for performance – if you have friends who need to pile into the back seat, they’re going to be a lot happier that you chose the Maxima compared to a coupe. And that’s the genius of the Nissan Maxima – it has plenty of room and great luxury features inside, with this powerful, beastly engine howling into the night as you zoom across city streets and highways. It’s really something special, and this impressive engine is right at the heart of it.

The interior of a 2021 Nissan Maxima shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

A Quick, Responsive Transmission

The engine’s not the only thing giving the 2021 Nissan Maxima such sporty and impressive performance, as there’s also a very nice transmission packed into this thing. I’ll admit that it’s easy to get solely focused on the engine when considering performance. I, like anyone else, can really hone in on the specs and numbers like horsepower and displacement, and it’s easy to forget that numerous systems come together to create your driving experience.

You get a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in the Nissan Maxima, which features a valve timing control system that is designed to really optimize performance. This does a few things, including giving the Maxima really impressive fuel economy to go with all of its power. But it ensures a smooth and responsive driving experience that gives you excellent acceleration as RPMs increase and the engine roars to life.

In their testing, Car and Driver found that the 2021 Maxima could go from 0 to 60 in just 5.8 seconds, leaving a lot of its rivals behind. That’s no surprise, considering how powerful and responsive this vehicle is, and it all comes together to really make it a tremendous amount of fun to drive. And remember: this is a sedan with a sporty design, so it handles well, responds to your commands, and still gives you plenty of room inside.

The Sport-Focused SR Trim

So far, I’ve been talking about general stuff that every 2021 Nissan Maxima model has to offer, which is pretty impressive. But if you’re really looking for the best performance out of the Maxima, then the SR trim is definitely the way to go. This isn’t the highest trim available, but it’s the one that has been designed with sporty performance at the forefront.

For example, the SR features paddle shifters on the steering wheel that you won’t find in the other trims. This gives you improved control over the vehicle and really lets you get the most out of the responsive CVT that it comes with. I’ll admit that it’s not absolutely essential for enjoying what the Maxima has to offer – but for the best performance, it’s the way to go.

The SR also features a few other things that you won’t find on the other models. In particular, you get a sport-tuned suspension with the SR rather than the standard suspension that the other models of the Maxima feature. This includes retuned dampers, stiffer springs, and a larger front stabilizer bar that ensures optimal performance when you’re trying to get the most out of everything the Maxima can deliver.

With the standard Nissan Maxima, you get 18-inch wheels, but the SR trim features 19-inch wheels for even better overall performance. It’s worth noting, however, that other high trims, like the Platinum, also have these larger wheels for you to enjoy. So if you want a great overall experience while still enjoying the power that the Maxima has to offer, you’re not limited to only the SR trim – it just has the most performance-focused features.

A close up shows the wheel on a grey 2021 Nissan Maxima.

Performance Meets Function

This is what the 2021 Nissan Maxima is really all about: great performance with a lot of other fantastic features to go along with it. At the end of the day, there are plenty of sports cars out there that you can consider if going fast is the only thing that really matters to you. But the Maxima gives you that “total package” experience that few other cars can even come close to. For example, looking at the SR trim I mentioned earlier, it has great performance and paddle shifters, but you also get premium Ascot leather-appointed seats with dynamic diamond-quilted Alcantara inserts. So the seats are incredibly comfortable, look amazing, and remind you that you’re in something that’s so much more than just a sports car.

That’s the real beauty of the Maxima: fantastic power and performance with great functionality and comfort that brings it all together. Every trim offers an 8-way power driver’s seat, and power lumbar support is available, something you typically find only in higher trims with a lot of other models. There’s an available memory setting for the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and outside mirrors, along with available climate-controlled front seats that include heating and cooling.

All throughout the Maxima, you keep finding this marriage of style, function, and performance that elevates it to another level. The SR trim has a sport-tuned suspension, as I said, but it also has aluminum sport pedals, unique interior details, and more. While you get a Bose premium audio system with 11 speakers in the SR, it also has active noise cancellation plus active sound enhancement for a superior overall experience to go along with all of that power. That’s what really exemplifies the Maxima: performance that can be easily overlooked combined with a refined style and sophistication that you can’t possibly miss.

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