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2021 Nissan Maxima Performance


#4 out of 6 in Large Cars

MSRP
$36,990
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Nissan Maxima Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.1

The 2021 Nissan Maxima has a potent engine, solid fuel economy estimates, and a smooth ride. However, some class rivals offer better steering feedback and more agile handling.

  • "The Maxima is one of the quicker full-size sedans, and its V-6 engine sounds good when it's pushed hard. The 3.5-liter V-6 makes 300 horsepower and moves the Maxima along with purpose. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), however, detracts from the Maxima's sports-sedan mission." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Maxima isn't quite the 'four-door sports car' that Nissan claims. It's not even really a sport sedan. But it is a sporty midsize sedan, with above-average handling and strong acceleration from a V6 engine." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "The new Maxima rides comfortably if a bit firmly, responds promptly, and grips the road well enough for a four-door that, ahem, is no longer trying to be a sports car. And goodness knows the big V-6 has passing power to spare. But the fun factor is largely missing." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)

The Maxima has ample horsepower and fairly quick acceleration. Most critics think the CVT makes good use of the available power and operates similar to a conventional automatic transmission.

  • "With good fuel-economy ratings, as well as above-average results in our real-world testing, the Maxima's powertrain proves itself adept at blending performance and efficiency." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Maxima’s V6 has plenty of punch for accelerating from standstill (hitting 60 mph in under six seconds, according to Nissan) along with enough thrust for passing on the freeway. The transmission does a good job of mitigating the common downsides of CVTs." -- Autotrader
  • "There's only one engine choice available for the Nissan Maxima, but it's a good one: a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 connected to an Xtronic CVT. It manages decent fuel economy, all while delivering smooth and quiet power to the front wheels. CVTs have come a long way, and Nissan's D-Step shift logic mimics the operation of a traditional automatic by letting the revs rise and fall when at full throttle." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)

MPG Estimates

The Maxima has average fuel economy for the large car class. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

The Nissan Maxima delivers a comfort-focused ride with good composure around corners. Poor steering feedback holds back its sports-car aspirations though. All models come with front-wheel drive.

  • "The Maxima’s suspension delivers a comfortable ride and admirable cornering abilities, but the steering can feel vague at times, being somewhat numb in the feedback department." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "The ride is firm and controlled, and the suspension does well at absorbing bumps and road imperfections. (A firmer sport suspension is available for drivers willing to trade ride comfort for sharper handling.) Overall, the Maxima rides better than most midsize family sedans and more like an entry-level luxury car." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "… the Maxima is more of a pleasant family car than a sport sedan, and it sure isn't a 4-door sports car." -- Autotrader (2020)
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Nissan Maxima

MSRP: $36,990 - $42,220

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