The auto industry is expected to follow the trajectory that tech companies live by. Smartphone and computer technology is supposed to one-up itself every single year; each Apple iPhone, for example, claims to do what none of its competitors, or even its own predecessors, could have possibly done. Similarly, auto brands must introduce souped-up, better-than-ever editions of their vehicles, even their best-sellers, as often as possible as they swim against the undertow of irrelevancy and obsolescence. In its own fight to stay ahead of the curve, Nissan gives us the 2021 Nissan Maxima.
Nissan brands the new Maxima as a “high-tech powerhouse,” with “convenience and entertainment, combined.” This is their 4-door sedan after a cyborg transformation, enhanced with superior tech on the go. But at a starting MSRP of $36,990, relatively high for a non-luxury brand, 4-door sedan, does the new Maxima live up to its tech-savvy branding? Or is this just Nissan trying to appeal to a younger, more connected buyer, one that hopefully has more cash to drop on this pricier car? We are digging deeper than Nissan’s keen marketing to tell you what you should actually expect from the new Maxima.
New in 2021
The Maxima is one of Nissan’s top performers, and it’s easy to see why. These snappy sedans are designed with sleek exterior bodies, looks to kill, and solid performance outside the muscle car market. Nissan has always geared their Maxima to stand out from the crowd of boring, commonplace sedans. Ideally, it should be the one unique car you could actually identify in traffic. The newest edition is no different.
General features to expect from the 2021 Nissan Maxima include a V-6 engine that now comes standard in the base model, as well as plenty of driver assist features. The latest Maxima is no longer available in the S and SL luxury trims, replacing them with a well-appointed Platinum edition with a specially designed interior. Meanwhile, the 40th Anniversary Edition trim, celebrating the Maxima’s ascent into middle age, is a unique model that includes a sculpted exterior look that’s even more aggressive than the typical Maxima. It has sporty interior features like red leather upholstery, smoked chrome trims throughout, and all-white gauges.
The 2021 Maxima has the same solid engineering you’ve come to expect from Nissan, too, evidenced in its powerful V-6 engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. It propels from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive minimum of 5.7 seconds. Look, it’s no Porsche or Mercedes-Benz sports car, but for its price range and brand, it delivers hot performance well above what its similarly priced competitors can.
Add to that each trim’s aggressive, high-tech interior options, and it’s clear that Nissan was inspired to take their latest Maxima into a super-robotic future aesthetic. But once again, we’re tempted to question if the latest edition actually lives up to its branding. The new Maxima may look the part of a tech giant’s ride, but what actual built-technology can you expect from the new Maxima?
Safety technology like driver assist features are no longer rarities but demands. Every consumer should expect a 2021 edition of any vehicle to have plenty of safety technology, and most new vehicles do. Just don’t confuse the terms “standard” and “available.” When a vehicle is advertised as having available driver-assist technology, this just means that you’re welcome to pay extra, usually well above the MSRP or sticker price, for upgrading a tech-regressive vehicle to a pricier trim that actually has simple, smart safety features. When safety technology comes “standard,” that means that every single trim package/accessorized version of a vehicle is going to have advanced safety features built-in, guaranteed.
This is one of the areas where the 2021 Nissan Maxima shines, thanks to the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that includes state-of-the-art safety engineering. Incredibly robust safety technology features are built right into its base model. Crash-test ratings recognized the incredibly responsive automated emergency braking system and forward-collision warning systems, which are designed to predict a possible collision and intervene for your safety.
There are hordes of available upgrades, too, like adaptive cruise control that responds to driving conditions in real-time and even helps maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Rain-sensing wipers detect moisture on the front windshield and activate so that you can focus on driving on wet roads, while blind spot, rear cross-traffic, and lane departure warning features all help prevent accidents. Meanwhile, the Intelligent Around View Monitor system gives you a comprehensive 360-degree, bird’s-eye view of your Maxima. Park with confidence, check your surroundings for hazards, and keep an eye out for oncoming traffic.
For even more tech intervention, rear automatic braking sensors can detect hazards while you’re in reverse and may even brake for you if it senses a possible collision. Intelligent Driver Alertness systems can detect drowsy driving patterns and remind you to take a break while also triggering lane assist features. Did you miss a road sign? Traffic Sign Recognition can read speed limit signs for you and let you know if you’re speeding. If you’re shopping for a teenage driver, consider outfitting their infotainment system with high-speed alerts and curfew reminders to keep them safe.
Infotainment and Interior
Inside every 2021 Maxima is an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen device that hosts just about all of the features you need to curate your driving experience. Climate controls, audio playback, smartphone connectivity, vehicle monitoring, automatic emergency service contact when the airbags deploy, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and optional features like navigation and web search can all be accessed from the screen. If you forget your parking space, the infotainment system can send walking directions straight to your smartphone. If you want the best sound quality in your Maxima, upgrade to the 11-speaker Bose audio system that has been fine-tuned for crisp, rich, and immersive acoustics.
The interior cabin has other smart features, too, like available climate-controlled seats that keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Meanwhile, features like heated rear seats and a power rear window sunshade keep all passengers comfortable. One of the most exciting interior features in the 2021 Maxima is its Zero Gravity driver’s seat, which is specially bolstered to keep you safely anchored in place during your drive – no more leaning while turning a sharp corner. Zero Gravity seats are inspired by space travel technology to support the human body naturally, resulting in optimal comfort and reduced driver fatigue, all in a sharp aesthetic that looks cutting-edge. Did we mention the Maxima’s seating memory system, which saves your comfort settings and adjusts the seats, steering wheel, and mirrors automatically for every driver?
For all the 2021 Nissan Maxima’s smart marketing, it does seem to live up to its potential. This is, in fact, a high-tech powerhouse with advanced technology built into the powertrain, cabin, infotainment system, and more. Add to that a vehicle that’s fun to drive and has sportscar looks, and you have a winner. Adding even more to that, the new Maxima starts at a competitive $36,990. The future of driving technology may seem to rest in the hands of incredibly expensive luxury auto brands like Tesla, but Nissan has proven that every driver deserves the latest innovation to power and protect their drive.