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2020 Nissan Maxima gets more standard safety tech, keeps V6 grunt

The Nissan Maxima was once one of the sportiest sedans you could buy, so sporty that Nissan was able to get away with calling it a “four-door sports car.” But like an aging athlete, the Maxima has slowed down a bit over the years. Nissan still tenaciously clings to the old “four-door sports car” memories, even as the Maxima has become more of a rival for big, cushy sedans like the Toyota Avalon than those from BMW. That will remain the status quo as the 2020 Nissan Maxima rolls into the new model year with only minor changes.

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 bundle of driver aids introduced as an optional extra for the 2019 model year is now standard across the board. Previously available only on the SR and Platinum trim levels, Safety Shield 360 includes autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. A driver-alertness monitor is standard as well, while adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera system are optional.

No changes were made under the hood. The Maxima is powered by a 3.5-liter V6, which makes 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty of grunt for a car of this size. The V6 drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All 2020 Maxima trim levels get the Integrated Dynamics-control Module (IDM), which was previously offered only on the SR model. IDM uses small brake applications to settle the car after it’s gone over a bump.

The Maxima SR still gets sportier suspension tuning, and an Active Sound Enhancement feature that amplifies the sound of the engine. For 2020, the SR also gets features previously available only in an optional Premium Package — including a panoramic moonroof and 360-degree camera system — as standard equipment. The Maxima still doesn’t get the ProPilot Assist driver-assist system available on the Leaf, Altima, Rogue, and Rogue Sport.

The interior remains largely unchanged from 2019. Like many other Nissan models, the Maxima gets Zero Gravity seats designed using NASA research on the human body. Nissan considers the Maxima its flagship, and the top Platinum trim level is available with a Reserve package that adds upscale features like semi-aniline leather. But the gap between the Maxima and the Nissan Altima has shrunk since a redesign of the latter sedan.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trim levels except the base S. Nissan also offers a variety of connected services, including Google Assistant compatibility, an Amazon Alexa skill, and door-to-door navigation that sends walking directions to and from the car to your smartphone. The standard Rear Door Alert feature is designed to keep drivers from leaving children or pets unattended in the back seat.

The 2020 Nissan Maxima is available in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum. The base S model starts at $35,145. The midrange SV and SL start at $37,195 and $39,535, respectively. The SR and top Platinum trim levels are priced fairly close together at $42,345 and $42,435, respectively. All prices include a mandatory $895 destination charge. The 2020 Maxima is on sale now.

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