2021 Nissan Maxima vs. Nissan Altima: Which Is the Better Buy?

If you’re in the market for a new Nissan, you might have a difficult decision to make. Sedans are a popular body style right now, and in 2021 Nissan is offering the Altima or Maxima.

Though both sedans are certainly not new for Nissan’s lineup, they each offer something different to potential buyers. Here’s a look at both vehicles, their features, and how they compete with one another. 

Nissan Altima: What you need to know

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The 2021 Nissan Altima is holding its own against the ever-popular Honda Accord, so that’s saying something. Taking a quick look at some of its notable features, this midsize sedan has a standard 188-hp 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, and gets an average of 32 mpg.

According to Nissan, it has technology designed to enhance the joy of driving, such as driver assistance and intelligent All-Wheel Drive. This technology is also tailored and customizable.

It’s also roomy, with plenty of cargo space and flexible seating. Excitingly, it also offers the world’s first Variable Compression Turbo engine, which provides power when you need it most. 

But what about the trims?

The 2021 Altima comes in five different trims. S starts at $24,300, with automatic emergency braking and steel wheels with wheel covers. SV starts at $25,400, with Advanced Drive-Assist Display, touch screen, and aluminum-alloy wheels. SR starts at $26,200, and includes sport-tuned suspension and paddle shifters.

SR VC-Turbo starts at $30,650, but steps things up with a power sliding glass moon roof and heated front seats. The SL starts at $29,900, including automatic brake hold and ProPILOT assist. You also have a choice of 4 more trims that feature AWD. 

Nissan Maxima: What you need to know

The 2021 Nissan Maxima tackles both luxury and comfort. According to Nissan, it is a high-tech powerhouse as well as a 4-door sports car. You’ll ride with entertainment, navigation technology, and safety features that help monitor you and your drive.

You’ll also enjoy maximum comfort, with intelligent climate control and an attractive interior. Also, as this is a sports car, Nissan has added a drive mode, Sport or Normal. 

Choose Sport for an exciting, thrilling ride. Then, switch back to Normal for the smooth, refined experience you’ve come to expect from Nissan. These modes help the model appeal to a wider audience of buyers. 

Let’s talk trim 

The 2021 Maxima provides four trims, and we’ll save the best for last. SV starts at $36,990 traffic sign recognition, heated front seats, and a powerful V6 engine. SR starts at $42,150 and includes paddle shifters, sport-tuned suspension, aluminum-alloy wheels. Platinum starts at $42,220 and includes even nicer wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a wood-tone interior trim. Finally, the 40th anniversary trim starts at $44,345 and you’ll get special gloss black wheels, an exclusive badge, and leather, heated seats. 

Comparing the two

Both sedans offer attractive features, but one stands out. According to MotorTrend, when you break it down, the two are very different cars. The Altima is going to be more efficient, largely due to its lighter weight. It has a 25/34 mpg, compared to Maxima’s 20/30. It also includes more drivetrain options, which we mentioned.

You’ll feel lighter driving an Altima, and you’ll also have better screen placement, allowing for a more modern feel. However, the Maxima delivers when it comes to emotional appeal, as it’s the flagship sedan, and it also provides a more luxurious and fun ride due to its features. It also performs very well, with practical power.