Nissan Maxima Carries On Without Inexpensive S Trim, Adds Limited-Run 40th Anniversary Edition

It's one of the few left in its class after its competition ceased production

2021 Nissan Maxima

As the mainstream large sedan market all but evaporated in the U.S., the 2021 Nissan Maxima does carry on into the new model year. However, there are some distinctive changes to the lineup. In their official pricing announcement, Nissan launched a special 40th Anniversary Edition as the flagship model. The base S trim is gone, though, which means the 2021 Nissan Maxima effectively gets a substantial $2,550 price bump over the previous model.

Now, Nissan’s largest sedan kicks off with the SV grade for $37,915 including destination. Nissan Safety Shield does remain standard equipment across the lineup. You do still get front and rear automatic braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and high beam assist, although those were also available on the former base S model. As part of the SV trim, things like (front) heated leather seats, navigation, intelligent cruise control and traffic sign recognition are now standard fare. As with Nissan’s other sedans, the sportier-looking SR is now the mid-range model, and starts at $43,075.

At the top end, the 2021 Nissan Maxima Platinum starts at $43,145. Instead of a sport-tuned suspension, you get larger 19-inch wheels and diamond-quilted leather seats. At the absolute top end, though, there’s now the $2,125 40th Anniversary Edition Package.

The 2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition comes based on the Platinum trim. On top of that, it adds a two-tone Ruby Slate Gray Pearl paint scheme. You get bespoke 19-inch alloys, as well as blacked out trim through the finishers and badging. On the inside, a red semi-aniline interior replaces the more subdued charcoal, cashmere white or tan color tones. Finally, Nissan adds a white speedometer and tachometer face. That comes as a throwback to past Maxima models. On the comfort front, the package just adds heated rear seats beyond what the Platinum normally offers.

2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary

The 2021 Nissan Maxima uses the same engine

As you’d likely expect, the Maxima carries on largely unchanged mechanically. Under the hood, a 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine exclusively powers the front wheels. A CVT also remains the sole transmission option. Front-wheel drive is the only way you’ve ever been able to buy a modern Maxima, but its chief competitors do offer all-wheel drive as an option.

What has changed here isn’t so much the 2021 Nissan Maxima, but the market around it. The Chrysler 300 remains the last big American sedan standing. The Toyota Avalon is the Maxima’s most direct competitor these days, but the rest of its rivals have ceased production at this point. Between the techier Toyota and the old-school Chrysler, the Maxima makes its case as a solid all-around sedan, just like most of its siblings.