Which Is a Better Used Sedan: the 2020 Chevrolet Impala or the 2020 Nissan Maxima?

The waning large car segment has led potential buyers into the used market to satisfy their desires. With many sedans relegated for discontinuation, it can be easy to pick up a well-stocked four-door at a bargain price. The 2020 Chevrolet Impala and 2020 Nissan Maxima are excellent choices for those looking at late-model examples. But which one is better?

2020 Chevrolet Impala vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima: Interior features and cargo space

2020 Chevrolet Impala
2020 Nissan Maxima interior display | Nissan USA

The Chevrolet Impala offers a roomy cabin with generous space for five full-size adults across both rows. Its wealth of headroom and legroom is also a delightful sight for loftier drivers and passengers. The Nissan Maxima has sportier styling, including a swept-back rear roofline, but limits cabin comfort. Edmunds says the cabin feels “small” with numerous footwell intrusions and high armrests. The adults that can fit in the back are gifted even less space. CarBuzz reports the Maxima has 5.6 inches less rear legroom and almost an inch less in headroom than the Impala.

Despite the Maxima’s absence of full-size sedan space inside, it’s exquisitely trimmed. Each trim level—S, SV, SL, SR, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve—will have some form of leather upholstery. Quilted ascot graces the top-of-the-line spec. In the base LT Impala, cloth and synthetic upholstery cover the seats, steering wheel, and other surfaces. The Premier gains leather upholstery, but it still relies on numerous plastics. Even though the Impala isn’t a luxury sedan, it does detract from its appeal.

Behind the less-than-stellar interior trimmings, the Impala has one of the largest trunks in the large car segment at 18.8 cubic feet. Since the standard split-folding rear seats can fold level with the trunk floor, the Impala has immense practicality. The Maxima also has a space-enhancing fold-down rear seat but the smallest trunk for a large sedan at just 14.3 cubic feet.

2020 Chevrolet Impala vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima: Entertainment and tech highlights 

The infotainment and tech capabilities are where the Impala and Maxima are most similar. Since both remained relatively unchanged before their discontinuation (Impala in 2020 and Maxima in 2023), they feature easy-to-use systems.

The Impala’s LT trim comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker stereo, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, three USB ports, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Premier adds an 11-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and a 120-volt household-style power outlet. Nissan’s Maxima has roughly the same standard entertainment and tech features, albeit an eight-speaker system and voice recognition in the base model.

Some complaints revolve around the age of the two car’s interfaces. It’s been years since either was redesigned, but that conveys some consumer delight. Impala and Maxima drivers can control the infotainment unit and HVAC settings with traditional physical knobs and buttons.

2020 Chevrolet Impala vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima: Performance, handling, and fuel economy

2020 Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Impala on display | Chevrolet US

Nissan stocks the Maxima with the lone 3.5-liter V6 producing 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Paired with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission, Car and Driver says the Maxima hits 60 mph in a determined 5.7 seconds. The EPA asserts that the 2020 Nissan Maxima will achieve a combined 24 mpg. While the figures are average for the segment, be aware that the Maxima only runs on premium fuel.

The 2020 Chevrolet Impala also has one engine option: a 3.6-liter V6. Its 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque aren’t meant for speed but for determination. All Impalas have a front-wheel drive, six-speed automatic transmission configuration. The EPA estimates that drivers can expect just 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, a combined rating of 22 mpg. The Impala can run on E85, but the fuel efficiency is a miserable 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

Nevertheless, the Impala’s comfortable ride may offset its lackluster fuel economy. Some say the sedan’s steering is “overly sensitive” given its girth, but others call it “nimble,” U.S. News reports. Regardless, it’s not as performance-minded as the Maxima. The SR trim level is where the Maxima is gifted a more athletic suspension, but each four-door is quite capable in the bends.

2020 Chevrolet Impala vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima: Driver assistance and safety features

2020 Chevrolet Impala
2020 Nissan Maxima on display | Nissan USA

The Impala Premier has a decent suite of driver safety features. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors make confident commuting a breeze. However, only the Premier has these. Those opting for the LT must make do with only a rearview camera.

In contrast, the Nissan Maxima has standard safety features like forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. The upper trim levels gain adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera, and traffic sign recognition.

Which used sedan is better? 

Related

4 Reasons to Like the 2020 Chevrolet Impala

Potential owners may be able to overlook the 2020 Chevrolet Impala’s overly plasticky interior bits and lousy fuel economy if they want the most amount of cargo space. The Impala delivers a fortune of cargo area for those who may need an SUV but still want a sedan. Furthermore, the Impala has one of the lower ownership costs in the segment. Edmunds lists hundreds of used 2020 Chevrolet Impalas in the 50,000-60,000-mile range, and an Impala Premier with 50,000-60,000 miles can be acquired for around $20,000.

On the other hand, if potential buyers can bypass the 2020 Nissan Maxima’s woeful trunk space and cramped backseat, it’s a much more luxurious pick. Listings on Edmunds show that Maximas in the aforementioned mile range are in the low $20,000 range for the S, SV, and SL models. For the SR, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve configurations, expect examples nearing or above $30,000.