You are on the hunt for a new vehicle. You have decided you want a sedan. And now you are looking for a Nissan dealer. However, you are likely stuck between a couple of Nissan’s most popular options: the Altima and Maxima. These are two of the most beloved models by this esteemed manufacturer, and each offers drivers incredible experiences for their respective prices.
The Maxima is pricier than the Altima, and as a result, it provides a more robust experience. That said, the Altima remains a capable automobile – giving drivers the Nissan experience at a fraction of the price. Similarities are abundant between the two, regardless of the price gap, but what we’ll be looking at today is the safety tech that Nissan has implemented into many of its vehicles – the Altima and Maxima being no exception.
Are Nissans Safe Vehicles?
Both the Nissan Altima and Maxima are durable – so don’t let their small stature fool you. The Maxima was awarded the Top Safety Pick+ rating by the International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2020 and the Top Safety Pick of 2018. The Altima, on the other hand, was rated an IIHS 2020 Top Safety Pick+ and a Top Safety Pick for 2020 and 2018. Needless to say, both the Altima and Maxima are designed with durability in mind. Once we begin exploring the safety features found on both sedans, either standard or optional, the true nature of Nissan vehicles shows – a wholly reliable automobile.
Nissan Safety Shield 360
Both the 2022 Altima and Maxima come with Nissan Safety Shield 360 standard. As we mentioned – the Altima and Maxima have historically been rated as two of the most reliable vehicles on the road, especially in providing extra protection against collisions. But the features found on Nissan Safety Shield 360 are designed to help prevent said collisions from occurring at all. An example of this is Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection – which has two main functions, as the name suggests. As a whole, this is a system specifically designed to trigger in the event of an oncoming collision.
The first part of the Intelligent Emergency Braking System includes an alert that will sound to gain your attention, and this alert should give you a moment to apply the brakes. If you can’t react quick enough, the Altima or Maxima will autonomously apply the brakes to avoid collisions or minimize their impact, at the least. Thanks to the included Pedestrian Detection – both sedans are intelligent enough to apply the brakes to avoid colliding with both vehicles and pedestrians, which can be a life-saving measure.
Both Nissan sedans also come with Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning as part of the Nissan Safety Shield 360. The first of these features – Lane Departure Warning – will be activated on the highway as needed. If your attention escapes you, even for a moment – your vehicle can stray from its lane. Historically speaking, this doesn’t end well. However, with Lane Departure Alert, you’ll hear an alert, and your steering wheel will omit a slight vibration, which is guaranteed to capture your attention so you can reposition your vehicle on the road. The Blind Spot Warning also activates when you’re on the highway, and as the name suggests – it focuses on your blind spot. For example, when you’re looking to switch lanes on the highway, but a vehicle is blocking your blind spot – you’ll see an indicator flashing on whichever side-view mirror the vehicle is approaching.
The Rear Intelligent Braking found on the Maxima and Rear Automatic Braking on the Altima ultimately serve the same purpose. The way it works is like this – if you’re reversing your sedan into a parking spot, but there’s a shopping cart or light post in your vehicle’s path, for example, the vehicle will apply the brakes to prevent colliding with any object obstructing the path. However, Rear Automatic Braking isn’t to be confused with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which also comes standard on both the Altima and Maxima. While the former assists with reversing into a parking space – the latter helps when you are backing out of a parking space. By utilizing cameras and sensors – if any bypassing vehicle is in your way when you’re reversing – the car will apply the brakes to avoid colliding in with the other driver.
Now that we’ve discussed five of the standard safety features found within Nissan Safety Shield 360, we’ll discuss the last one – High Beam Assist. Driving at night can be dangerous, which is especially true when the weather is rough outside. While you’re used to manually adjusting your high beams, the beauty of High Beam Assist is that this process becomes completely autonomous. When you need increased visibility – the high beams will turn on, and they’ll turn off to avoid obstructing the vision of other drivers on the road. With this feature, you are able to keep both hands on the wheel, and both eyes on the road.
Intelligent Around View Monitor
There are a lot of standard safety features offered in both the Nissan Altima and Maxima vehicles. But the features do not end there, as there are optional additions as well. One option that drivers have for both their Altima and Maxima is the implementation of the Intelligent Around View Monitor. The way it works is relatively simple – an assortment of cameras are situated around the exterior of your sedan, and these camera feeds are directed back to the infotainment center display. The result is a wide range of camera angles that you can switch between on the fly, and the system also has a few tricks up its sleeve. For example, not only can you get a clear view of the front, rear, and curbside of your vehicle, but these cameras can be intelligently stitched together to form new and more helpful camera angles, such as a birds-eye view.
All of these camera angles will give you new layers of visibility that you’ve never had while driving before. This is a massive step up from the basic rear-view cameras we’ve all been accustomed to, and it makes driving and parking both easier and safer.
Which Vehicle is Better?
If you are still wondering which vehicle was better – the Altima or the Maxima, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. Both sedans perform admirably well, and plenty of the features can be found across the board. However, the Maxima comes at a noticeably higher price than the Altima. However, there are reasons behind this; you can already imagine a pricier vehicle will be better than the less expensive one, to some extent. This doesn’t deter anyone’s thoughts about the Altima because, for its price, it’ll give you an amazing experience that shares the same quality that Nissan vehicles typically provide.
The aforementioned, the IIHS ratings for each vehicle are a testament to how expertly crafted Nissan vehicles are, and the quality of their frame materials. Everything else – from performance, comfort, safety, and tech, all share a similar attention to detail. So, if you’re stuck between the Altima and Maxima, just know that both choices are worth your while, and what it will come down to is how much you’d like to invest in your vehicle. We recommend the Altima to drivers looking for a genuine Nissan experience at a lower cost. And for those who want to spring for a more luxurious experience with a variety of additional enhancements, all powered with a standard V6 engine, the Maxima will be the best choice. Whichever you choose, it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve made this year.