2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/22

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Maxima doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S60 and Maxima have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 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.

The S60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Maxima doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The S60 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the S60 and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S60 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Maxima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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The S60 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Maxima’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Maxima’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the S60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the S60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Maxima’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The S60 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 16 more horsepower (316 vs. 300) and 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The S60 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 100 more horsepower (400 vs. 300) and 211 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the S60 T6 is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

S60

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.8 sec

14.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

103 MPH

101 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/22

On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 20 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S60 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima:

MPG

S60

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

28 city/33 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

Maxima

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The Maxima must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Maxima doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S60’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.

The S60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Maxima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo S60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the S60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S60 Polestar’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

Maxima

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

12.13 inches

The S60 stops much shorter than the Maxima:

S60

Maxima

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Maxima (113.1 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The S60’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the S60 more stable handling and braking.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S60’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Maxima’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The S60 is 5.4 inches shorter than the Maxima, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Volvo S60 amounts to more than styling. The S60 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S60 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The S60 has 1.1 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 1 inch more rear legroom than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S60 easier. The S60’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Maxima doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S60’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Maxima doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The S60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Maxima has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Maxima SR/Platinum, the S60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The S60 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The S60’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Maxima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the S60 and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S60 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 S60’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The S60’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Maxima doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The S60’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Maxima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Maxima doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S60 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Maxima doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S60 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The S60’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Maxima.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volvo S60 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Maxima doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The S60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the S60 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S60 will cost $4700 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

The S60 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S60 will retain 40.05% to 43.62% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 37.88% to 39.3%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the Maxima, including $20 less for fuel injection, $8 less for front struts, $399 less for a timing belt/chain and $352 less for a power steering pump.

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

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