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A Blast From The Past To The Present: A Look At The Best-Selling Nissan Maxima

When you think of the Nissan Maxima, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of an efficient commuter sedan or the speed demon spotted in the original Fast and Furious film? Surprisingly, both are true, and you’ll see why when you venture over to your local Nissan Maxima dealer for a better look at Nissan’s flagship sedan. But what is it about the Maxima and its history that make it so special and a great choice in the midsize segment?

Its History Runs Deep

Originally known as the “4-Door Sports Car,” the Maxima is a blend of Nissan’s successes throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The Maxima traces its roots to the Datsun 810, a bigger and bolder complement to the legendary Datsun 510. The 810’s fully loaded trim was dubbed the “Maxima” and was powered by the legendary 2.4-liter six-cylinder engine of the best-selling 240Z sports car. Nissan delivered another surprise and mated the engine to a five-speed manual transmission, which set the Maxima apart from every other sedan in the segment. The iconic four-door sports car was born.

The Maxima eventually dropped the 810 from its name and debuted its second generation with a bang courtesy of a new 3.0L V6 engine and front-wheel drive. The late 1980s saw the introduction of the third-generation Maxima and ushered the sedan to a new level of success, earning it praise as the most affordable and top-performing sedan in the world. However, Nissan didn’t rest on its laurels, forging ahead and making improvements to the sedan over the next several generations to deliver larger and more powerful Maxima models in the mid-1990s and the new millennium. These models laid the groundwork for the modern eighth-generation Maxima that continues its reign as a performance sedan replete with exceptional power, intuitive technology, and a host of luxuries and conveniences.

An orange 2021 Nissan Maxima is shown from the front driving through a tunnel after leaving a Nissan Maxima dealer.

Its Legendary Performance Continues

In 1988, the Maxima turned heads with its jaw-dropping performance. Fast forward three decades, and that still rings true today. The 2021 Maxima embraces its roots as a four-door powerhouse that can hug every curve of the road and give you the control you need to effortlessly speed ahead. This power is courtesy of the Maxima’s legendary 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to Nissan’s proven Xtronic transmission that puts the Maxima in the right gear at every turn with its wide gear ratio, quick-shifting capability, and shift logic, all of which deliver seamless shifting and lightning-fast acceleration.

With the engine roaring to life and the Xtronic transmission ensuring the Maxima is always in the right gear, Nissan gives you even more control over its best-selling sedan with a Drive Mode Selector that tunes the transmission, steering, and throttle response. Sport mode increases throttle response and delivers more aggressive shift patterns, while Normal mode prioritizes efficiency over performance. With either mode, Nissan’s Integrated Dynamic-control Module or “IDM” electronically adjusts the chassis to soften the bumps of the road. This means that, even in Sport mode, the Maxima delivers one of the best rides in the segment.

It’s a High-Tech Powerhouse

Marketed as a “high-tech powerhouse,” the 2021 Maxima is laden with innovative and intuitive technology that keeps you connected to the world long after you’ve left your driveway. This connectivity is centralized in the eight-inch center touchscreen display. Through the touchscreen, you can easily pair your smartphone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. This puts all your favorite apps right at your fingertips and gives you the ability to respond to messages, make calls, listen to your favorite playlists, get weather and news updates, and more.

You can easily move directions from your smartphone to the Nissan’s touchscreen display, or you can take advantage of Nissan’s Door to Door Navigation. This available tool calculates the most efficient route, but its capability doesn’t stop there. It’s paired with a smartphone app that gives you directions to your Maxima when you’re on foot. This is especially helpful if you’re in a new city and have to park a few blocks from your destination. The app gives you a walking route to the Maxima, which saves you time and stress.

The Maxima’s stellar reputation as a four-door sports sedan isn’t rooted in mediocrity, and that’s apparent in the Maxima’s extensive suite of technology and features that enhance your time behind the wheel. The available Bose 11-speaker premium audio system comes with Active Noise Cancellation that quiets the cabin and noises of the road to deliver an immersive listening experience. When you’re not taking advantage of the Bose system, you’ll hear the roar of the Maxima’s legendary V6 engine courtesy of Nissan’s Active Sound Enhancement. Standard on the Maxima SR, the technology brings the engine to life inside the cabin and matches the SR’s focus on performance and jaw-dropping speed.

The black interior and infotainment screen of a 2021 Nissan Maxima is shown.

Performance and Safety

Beyond its smartphone integration and active sound enhancement, the Maxima’s technology extends to its safety and driver-assist tools. This technology is among the best in the industry and is designed to enhance your visibility, minimize the potential for collision, and improve your experience behind the wheel. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 is at the heart of this technology and is a suite of six standard safety tools: Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and High Beam Assist.

Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection actively watches ahead of the Maxima and alerts you to vehicles and pedestrians. If a collision is imminent, it can enhance your emergency braking or automatically engage the brakes to bring the Maxima to a complete stop. Rear Automatic Braking works like Automatic Emergency Braking but watches the rear of the vehicle for vehicles and other objects. If you fail to stop or respond to the alert, the system can engage the brakes in an attempt to prevent or minimize the severity of a rear collision. Blind Spot Warning actively watches for vehicles in your blind spots, Lane Departure Warning prevents inadvertent lane drifting, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert helps you back out of a busy parking area by notifying you of traffic crossing behind the Maxima.

While the Safety Shield 360 is remarkable, Nissan delivers more tech with enhanced tools like Intelligent Cruise Control, which actively monitors the flow of traffic ahead and adjusts the Maxima’s cruising speed as needed. Meanwhile, Intelligent Lane Intervention can guide the Nissan back into its lane if it senses the vehicle drifting. Finally, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning extends the Maxima’s watchful eye two cars ahead, while the Intelligent Around View Monitor gives you a 360-degree view around the sedan.

The Icon Lives On

Originally getting its start as a top-tier trim of the Datsun 810, the Maxima soon established itself in the Nissan fleet and earned a lineup of its own. Today, the Maxima is the culmination of Nissan’s success in America and the automaker’s commitment to evolving to meet the demands of its loyal customer base. The early Maxima models set this standard with a powerful V6 engine and five-speed manual transmission, the latter of which was not readily available in the segment. Since then, the Maxima has only gotten more powerful and more advanced, as is apparent in the stunning and sophisticated 2021 Maxima you’ll find at dealerships today.