2020 Nissan Maxima

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2020 Nissan Maxima Review: More Than Just A Sofa On Wheels

by Aiden Eksteen

The full-size sedan segment may not be the most exciting one, but the 2020 Nissan Maxima strives to change that perception with its sporty styling, potent powertrain, and capable handling dynamics. Even though the pursuit of athleticism results in compromises in ride quality, the Maxima is still a great all-round package, blending comfort and dynamism with an impressive compendium of features and advanced technologies, incredibly comfortable seating, and exceptional safety, making it not only a great driver's car but an ideal family sedan as well. A familiar but burly 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the front-wheel-drivetrain of all six Maxima models via a CVT automatic, with peak outputs of 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. Nissan punts the Maxima as a four-door sports-car (4D-SC) that offers greater performance and a sportier aesthetic than the average full-size sedan, but with rear-wheel-drive rivals like the Dodge Charger in the full-size arena, can the Maxima really lay claim to being a genuine sports sedan? Against the likes of the Kia K900 and Toyota Avalon, it just might...

Read in this review:

6.8
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2020 Nissan Maxima Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Maxima?

The Maxima received a significant update for 2019, so for the 2020 model year, Nissan didn't need to make many changes. Nissan's Safety Shield 360 suite of six advanced driver-assist systems has been made standard for every Maxima model, comprising automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. The SR model's previously optional Premium Package has been made standard for the performance-oriented model with features including a driver's memory system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear automated emergency braking, a 360-degree camera, and a power-operated dual-panel panoramic moonroof.

Pros and Cons

  • Potent V6 engine
  • Decent handling for the full-size class
  • Abundant high-end features
  • Intuitive, user-friendly technology
  • High-quality, attractive interior
  • Great reliability and safety ratings
  • You can't say 'CVT' and 'sports sedan' in the same sentence
  • Unengaging steering
  • Firmer than expected ride quality
  • Subpar trunk capacity

Best Deals on 2020 Nissan Maxima

2020 Nissan Maxima Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
3.5L V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$34,450
SV
3.5L V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$36,650
SL
3.5L V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$38,840
Platinum Reserve
3.5L V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$41,540
SR
3.5L V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$41,650
See All 2020 Nissan Maxima Trims and Specs

2020 Maxima Exterior

2020 Nissan Maxima Front View Driving Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Front View Driving 1 Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Front View Driving 2 Nissan
See All 2020 Nissan Maxima Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 192.8 in
  • Wheelbase 109.3 in
  • Height 56.5 in
  • Max Width 73.2 in
  • Front Width 62.4 in
  • Rear Width 62.4 in
  • Curb Weight 3,552.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Gun Metallic
  • Pearl White Tricoat
  • Carnelian Red Tintcoat
  • Deep Blue Pearl
  • Sunset Drift Chromaflair

2020 Maxima Performance

2020 Nissan Maxima Front Angle View Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Rear View Driving Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Wheel Nissan

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

There's a notable compromise in the Maxima's ride quality; while its suspension is nicely damped and tuned for sporty handling, it comes at the expense of ride comfort, making the Maxima a little firm for the segment in which it competes. Everyday road imperfections and bumps are dealt with reasonably well, but not to the extent of many of its less sporty rivals with softer suspensions. The Maxima SR model comes equipped with an even firmer suspension setup, which further compromises on ride comfort, but there are few rivals that can compete with the SR in terms of handling. Nissan has done a good job of isolating the cabin from exterior noise though, which gives the Maxima with a premium nature when out on the road.

While there could be more feedback and better weighting from the steering, the Maxima is relatively easy to control. Oddly, the steering feels heavy at lower speeds and tends to feel lighter and more agile at higher speeds, feeling more un-assisted than the industry norm. While there isn't the same sensation as the best hydraulic or unassisted systems on the market, the responses are quick and direct and the steering inspires confidence. However, the Maxima's dynamic limits are fairly low, and while it manages to keep body roll down to a minimum when punted through bends aggressively, grip yields to understeer if you push too hard.

2020 Maxima Interior

2020 Nissan Maxima Dashboard Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Steering Wheel Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Driver Seat Nissan
See All 2020 Nissan Maxima Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 45.0 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.7 in

2020 Maxima Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Nissan Maxima Rear Passenger Seats Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Side View Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima Rear Bumper Nissan
  • Trunk Volume
    14.3 ft³

2020 Maxima Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Nissan Maxima a good car?

There's nothing overtly exceptional about the 2020 Nissan Maxima, and, as a sporty full-size family sedan, it doesn't stand out - not like a Dodge Charger or V8-powered Chrysler 300 does. Nevertheless, it still offers plenty of appeal for the typical full-size sedan buyer. It lacks the cushy ride comfort that has come to typify the segment, but it handles decently and the V6 engine under the hood is one of the most impressive in the segment. However, the engine is let down by a CVT automatic gearbox, which dims mid-range responses and robs the Maxima of driver enjoyment for the sake of gas mileage, although the Maxima isn't exactly a standout in this regard either. Where the Maxima offers exceptional attributes is the interior: sublimely comfortable seats, a well-built, high-quality interior, and impressive levels of specification are up there with the best rivals, even if the interior dimensions are matched and even beaten by smaller midsize sedans. Throw in an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating and loads of standard safety equipment, and the Maxima is the complete package. It isn't the four-door sports car Nissan lays claim to, but it's a comprehensive full-size sedan well worth taking a look at.

2020 Nissan Maxima Comparisons

Nissan Altima CarBuzz
Honda Accord Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Maxima300 hp20/30 mpg$37,840
Nissan Altima 188 hp28/39 mpg$24,900
Honda Accord 252 hp22/32 mpg$26,520

2020 Nissan Maxima vs Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima is classified as a midsize sedan and so is supposed to be smaller and more affordable than the Maxima - it is around $10,000 more affordable, in fact. The Altima boasts a more sophisticated appearance inside and out while the Maxima's aesthetic errs on the sportier side of things. The Maxima is equipped with a stronger engine than the Altima's, but with less weight to carry, the Altima is almost as quick in base form, while the available turbocharged engine sees it outgun the larger Maxima while consuming less fuel. The Altima also offers buyers both FWD and AWD, making it more suitable for cold-weather climates. Despite being classified as a smaller vehicle, the Altima is incredibly well-packaged, and with a longer wheelbase than the Maxima, it boasts more interior volume and a bigger trunk. It's a no-brainer, with more power, greater efficiency, more space, and a $10,000 saving, the Altima is the superior Nissan sedan.

See Nissan Altima Review

2020 Nissan Maxima vs Honda Accord

Also around $10,000 cheaper than the Maxima, the mid-size Honda Accord is actually as large as the Maxima, and gives buyers even more passenger room, along with a larger trunk. The Accord doesn't leave things there, though, as it proudly offers two turbocharged engines that offer greater efficiency than the Maxima, while the available manual gearbox means you can take control of a wonderfully engaging chassis and potent engine combination. While the Maxima's Platinum Reserve trim might equip luxurious interior trimmings, on lower trims the Accord feels just as luxurious, while boasting as much functionality and just as much safety equipment. It begs the question, why spring for the more expensive full-size sedan when the mid-size Accord does almost everything better?

See Honda Accord Review

2020 Nissan Maxima Popular Comparisons

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