2021 Nissan Maxima marks 40 years as a driver’s sedan Featured

Posted On Friday, 29 January 2021 00:12 Written by
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The Nissan Maxima is marking its 40th anniversary with an impressive special edition trim level. The Nissan Maxima is marking its 40th anniversary with an impressive special edition trim level. Photo courtesy of Nissan

Reaching the 40-year mark is a major achievement for any vehicle, and the Nissan Maxima reaches that ripe old age in 2021, leading the way as the Nissan brand’s flagship sedan.

Currently on its eight edition, the last major upgrade to the Maxima came in 2015, but for 2021 there is a limited-production 40th Anniversary Edition with some attractive design additions.

Even after all this time, and despite tough competition, the Maxima remains an attractive full-size sedan with a level of sportiness rarely found in the segment.

I recently tested a 2021 40th Anniversary Nissan Maxima and I’m back with a full report.


The sleek exterior design of the Maxima is especially sharp for the segment.  In particular the 40th anniversary edition looks great, featuring a sharp Ruby Slate Gray Pearl exterior color, black roof, 19-inch gloss black alloy wheels, black exterior finishers and black exhaust finisher.

Other exterior features include an auto-dimming driver side outside mirror, heated outside mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, LED automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and a dual-panel panoramic moonroof.

Inside is where the design of the Maxima truly shines above all competitors. The intricate seating is extremely comfortable and well-made, and can be legitimately called a luxury-level design. That's impressive since Nissan is not a luxury vehicle company. 

The interior of the 40th anniversary edition includes red semi-aniline leather appointed seats with 40th anniversary logo, red contrast stitching, and charcoal headliner. Heated seats are even offered in the rear, in addition to the usual front-seat heat.

While the Maxima is billed as a full-size sedan, size is somewhat of an issue as it is on the smaller end of the full-size range. That means the rear seat has less legroom than some of the competition. Trunk space is also a bit underwhelming. Rear seats to fold 60/40 to increase storage space and options for cargo.


Standard V6 power is a hallmark of the Maxima, and the 2021 version is no exception. The 2021 Maxima features a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, which is paired with an automatic transmission that offers a manual shift mode.

Official numbers are 300 horsepower and 261 lb.-ft. of torque, which are strong for the segment. All Maxima vehicles are FWD, with no AWD option.

You get a drive mode selector to choose between Normal and Sport, and you’ll truly enjoy driving the Maxima, especially in Sport mode. The integrated Dynamics control module includes Active Ride Control, intelligent Trace control, and intelligent engine brake.

intelligent cruise control helps you manage the ride smoothly, and the Maxima gets moving quickly — Zero to 60 mph will take you less than 6 seconds. So prepare for a bit of a jolt if you’re gunning it.

The Maxima’s engine can be a bit noisy at times, But it is not overly distracting. With tremendous handling capability, the power to get moving fast, and a truly sporty nature, the 2021 Maxima outperforms most vehicles in this class and is truly a driver’s sedan.


First, let’s talk tech.

The visual design of the NissanConnect infotainment system is less modern and a bit more dated than rival systems, but I really didn't care because it worked so well. On the voice command side of things, it offers impressive tutorials on screen to tell you what to say so you can master commands quickly. The system also understands the driver's voice commands very well.

As far as the touch setup for commands, everything is laid out in an orderly way in the center console and on the steering wheel. There is little to no reason for confusion, regardless of your level of tech-savviness.

The NissanConnect setup includes features such as Wi-Fi hotspot availability; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility; 8-inch color touchscreen display; Nissan door-to-door navigation; Bluetooth hands-free phone system; Streaming audio on phone via Bluetooth; Siri Eyes Free; hands-free text messaging assistant and Sirius XM radio with traffic and travel link.

The Maxima’s audio comes from an impressive Bose sound system with 11 speakers which sounds tremendous in any genre of music. The vehicle has two front and two rear USB ports.

The Maxima is also loaded in the safety department. It has 5-star government safety ratings for frontal crash and rollover (no side crash or overall ratings were provided).

The very helpful Intelligent AroundView monitor is excellent for tight parking situations.

Other safety features include:

  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Rear automatic braking
  • LATCH system for child seats
  • Intelligent forward collision warning
  • Blind spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Traffic sign recognition

The Maxima also features a four-wheel anti-lock braking system, vehicle dynamic control with traction control system, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, tire pressure monitoring system and easy fill tire alert. There’s even a driver alertness system to help detect driver fatigue.

The official fuel mileage numbers on the Maxima are 20 city/30 highway/24 combined. In my experience behind the wheel, my number was lower and reached only 16 mpg, though I was definitely not maximizing fuel mileage during my drive time.

Overall though, even the official number is not great for the segment, due to its fast, powerful, sporty nature. A worthy tradeoff in my view, but just know gas will cost you a bit more. 

The 2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary I tested was priced at a hefty $45,850; base price starts about $37K. The four trim levels are SV, SR, Platinum and 40th Anniversary editions. These numbers are on the same level as competitors such as the Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza and Volkswagen Arteon. 


The 2021 Nissan Maxima offers one of the most satisfying experiences you will get out of a nonluxury sedan. It’s sporty, quick, has a top-notch interior design, and is loaded with strong tech and safety features. It’s a bit on the higher end costwise, but worth a test drive for those still in the sedan market. 


AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Nissan Maxima   
  • Price as tested: $45,850 (starts at $37K)  
  • Best feature: Lots of get-up-and-go; High-end interior  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Sedan buyers seeking a high-class, performance-focused vehicle 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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