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When it comes to safety, the Nissan Maxima holds its own and then some. It has earned excellent scores in crash testing and offers more advanced safety features than some rivals, including its luxury counterpart, the Infiniti Q50. But will that make a difference in Maxima sales this year?

MotorTrend calls it one of the safest cars you can buy in 2021. So, how safe is it? And is it worth the higher price over its sedan sibling, the Altima?

How safe is the 2021 Nissan Maxima?

MotorTrend lists the Maxima among the safest cars, including the Subaru Legacy, Mazda3, and Honda Insight. So, what makes the Maxima so safe? Well, the two most popular safety testing organizations gave it high marks. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t completed its evaluation of the 2021 Nissan Maxima yet. But the NHTSA gave the 2020 model 5 stars in all of its evaluations, including the rollover test, which is rare.  

And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Maxima its highest honor, Top Safety Pick+. The sedan earned the highest rating of “Good” on most tests. The IIHS gave it an “Acceptable” rating in only two areas: headlights and structure and safety cage. 

The 2021 Nissan Maxima’s safety features

The Maxima comes with a decent number of standard safety features but not a large number like some rivals, including the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. 

The 2021 Nissan Maxima has Safety Shield 360 on all trims. This package includes front and rear emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and blind-spot warning. Because this suite comes on every trim, it makes the base model even more attractive

Opting for one of the higher trim adds lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. And the SL trim brings ProPilot Assist, an advanced driver-assist system that uses cruise control and steering assist. 

Is this sedan worth the price?

Consumers who choose sedans tend to fall into one of two groups: those who seek a safe family vehicle or those who value performance and fuel economy. 

The Nissan Maxima excels at safety. With a top IIHS award and high NHTSA ratings, this sedan is a strong competitor. 

However, the 2021 Maxima’s fuel economy doesn’t quite live up to people’s expectations. Expect about 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. But compared with the Nissan Altima (25/34 mpg city/highway), the Maxima falls short. 

Starting prices range from about $36,000 to $42,000, depending upon the trim. So if safety is a number one priority, the Maxima’s high price might be worth it. But if fuel economy is important, you might want to look elsewhere.

Overall, though, the 2021 Nissan Maxima is an excellent, safe sedan. Not only does it offer a decent number of features, but it also smashed the evaluations from the two biggest safety organizations.