Is the 2020 Nissan Maxima the Safest Family Sedan You Can Buy?

Large sedans are losing popularity, but this segment is still an excellent option for families. Larger SUVs provide more versatility, and many shoppers may see these models are safer options. However, that’s not entirely true. Cars like the 2020 Nissan Maxima are surprisingly roomy and can be exceptionally safe, despite being lower to the ground.

The 2020 Maxima deserves more respect as a top option in the segment. This sedan doesn’t provide incredible performance options like the segment-leading Dodge Charger. Meanwhile, it’s not quite as refined as the upscale Chrysler 300, either. However, the Maxima is a jack of all trades. It offers a unique design, plenty of driver-assistance technologies, and a joyful driving experience. 

If safety is your No. 1 priority, then you may be considering one of these larger cars. But is Nissan’s full-size sedan the best option in its class?

Let’s take a look at the 2020 Nissan Maxima’s safety systems and see what the industry experts have to say about the car so you can make an informed decision.

How safe is the 2020 Nissan Maxima?

An orange 2020 Nissan Maxima driving down a country road
The 2020 Nissan Maxima in action | Photo via Nissan

Large cars equal safe vehicles, right? Not necessarily. The size of a model doesn’t correlate to how safe it is. Instead, it needs to be structurally sound and offer the right assortment of driver-assistance technologies.

Thankfully, the 2020 Nissan Maxima does both of these things well. It comes standard with one of the most impressive suites of safety features in its class. It comes standard with forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, front and reverse automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.

These technologies work together to notify the driver of a possible collision quickly. If they don’t react in time, the car will autonomously activate the brakes to help mitigate the damage or attempt to avoid a crash.

Other standard systems include driver attention monitoring, a rearview camera, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring. You can enhance the 2020 Nissan Maxima even further by adding an array of optional features. Highlights include adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, and traffic sign recognition.

Do critics think the Maxima is the safest large sedan?

This car’s list of features sounds impressive, but does it translate to real-life safety? Turning to the experts sheds some light on this question.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2020 Nissan Maxima its top honor by naming it a Top Safety Pick +. Only two other non-luxury large sedans IIHS received recognition.

The organization recognized the Kia Cadenza as a Top Safety Pick in 2019, but it didn’t thoroughly test the 2020 model. Meanwhile, it also bestowed Top Safety Pick + honor to the 2020 Toyota Avalon.

When pitting the Maxima vs. the Avalon, which one is safer? This may depend on the trim level you buy. The IIHS gave both cars phenomenal scores in its crash-test ratings.

However, the Maxima and Avalon’s headlights were a bit suspect. The Maxima earned an “adequate” rating in this category. Additionally, the organization deemed that the Avalon’s standard headlights are “poor.” Meanwhile, it said the headlights on the Limited and Touring trims of the Avalon are “good.”

Thus, the safer car depends on how much you’re willing to pay. If you’re leaning toward a lower trim, then you might be better off with the 2020 Nissan Maxima.

Should you purchase Nissan’s full-size sedan?

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The 2020 Nissan Maxima is incredibly safe and loaded with driver-assistance technologies. However, it does come with a downside; it has one of the most expensive starting MSRPs in its class.

Beginning at $34,250, the 2020 Maxima may repel some shoppers, considering it’s not a luxury car. But it’s at least cheaper than the $35,875 2020 Avalon. Safety certainly doesn’t come cheap in the full-size sedan class.