2019 Chevrolet Impala vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Chevrolet Impala are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Nissan Maxima has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Impala and Maxima have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Impala has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Maxima’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

Both the Impala and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Impala is safer than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Impala

Maxima

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23.3%

38%

Neck Stress

184 lbs.

328 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

57/21 lbs.

840/589 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Impala is safer than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Impala

Maxima

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

150

391

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

551 lbs.

997 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Impala’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Maxima’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Chevrolet pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Impala. Chevrolet will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.

There are almost 3 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Impala’s warranty.

Reliability

The Impala has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Maxima doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Impala’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (305 vs. 300) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (264 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Impala 4 cyl.’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Impala uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Maxima requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Chevrolet Impala as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Nissan Maxima is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

The Impala stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

Impala

Maxima

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Impala Premier offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Maxima’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Impala has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Impala’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Maxima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Impala’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Maxima (111.7 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The Impala’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (59.5% to 40.5%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the Impala more stable handling and braking.

The Impala Premier handles at .83 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Impala a Large car, while the Maxima is rated a Mid-size.

The Impala has 6.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (105 vs. 98.5).

The Impala has .5 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 5.6 inches more rear legroom, .6 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

The Impala has a much larger trunk than the Maxima (18.8 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

Towing

The Impala has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Maxima has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Impala has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Maxima doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Impala and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Impala is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Impala’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The Impala offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Maxima doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Impala owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Impala will cost $2000 to $5610 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

The Impala will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Impala will retain 39.29% to 41.42% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Impala is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost much less on the Impala than the Maxima, including $38 less for a muffler, $24 less for a starter, $29 less for front struts, $124 less for a timing belt/chain and $208 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Impala will be $9636 to $9792 less than for the Nissan Maxima.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Chevrolet Impala as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Impala outsold the Nissan Maxima by 34% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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