What’s New for 2021: Nissan

Nissan made a lot of news in 2020, but not for all the right reasons. Former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic escape from house arrest in Japan to exile in Lebanon overshadowed the struggling Japanese brand’s aggressive overhaul of 10 models in 20 months. But 2020 was all about resiliency, and Nissan remains committed to the overhaul in the long haul, by redesigning its most popular utility vehicles and announcing plans for the 2022 Nissan Ariya electric crossover.  

The changes for 2021 start most notably with the roll out of a suite of driver-assist features Nissan calls Safety Shield 360 to more models. It includes front and rear automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. It’s standard on the 2021 Armada, Kicks, Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Sentra, Titan, and Versa, and available on the Altima. 

Here’s what else is new and noteworthy at Nissan for the 2021 model year.  

Crossovers and SUVs

2021 Nissan Armada

– Full-size three-row SUV refreshed with a blockier new nose, revised rear bumper, LED lighting front and rear, and a new center stack.

– First Nissan to wear the new logo. 

– Standard 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple Car Play compatibility but wired Android Auto. 

– Standard wi-fi hotspot. 

– Standard Safety Shield 360. 

2021 Nissan Kicks

– Refreshed with bolder grille, revised front and rear bumpers, and new armrest console. 

– Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

– Standard 7.0-inch touchscreen, with an available 8.0-inch touchscreen.

– All but the base trim ditch the drum brakes for disc brakes. 

– Standard Safety Shield 360. 

2021 Nissan Murano

– Standard Safety Shield 360.

– Special Edition package replaces Premium Package with 20-inch dark alloy wheels, dual-pane sunroof, surround-view camera system, and heated front seats with synthetic leather upholstery.

2021 Nissan Pathfinder

– A full redesign of the three-row crossover SUV is launching early this year, but it could be a 2022 model. 

2021 Nissan Rogue

– Redesigned compact crossover SUV sports a new grille, two-tiered LED headlights, and a roomier interior.

– Rides on new platform with stiffer structure that reduces engine and road noise.

– New independent rear suspension improves stability and cabin calm at cruising speeds.  

– Cargo volume increases to 4.1 cubic feet to 74.1 cubic feet total, with plenty of rear leg room. 

– Clever packaging with new butterfly center console and tiered console and storage floor.

– Standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

– Standard Safety Shield 360.

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport

– No updates as of this writing. 


Nissan Z Proto

Nissan Z prototype

– Likely successor to the Nissan 370Z.

– Twin-turbocharged V-6 hooked to a 6-speed manual transmission in a rear-wheel-drive layout.

– Dished steering wheel and 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

– Likely coming for 2022 or 2023 model year.

2021 Nissan Altima

– Carryover mid-size sedan.

2021 Nissan GT-R

– Carryover sports coupe. 

2021 Nissan Leaf

– Carryover electric hatchback with up to 226 miles of range. 

2021 Nissan Maxima

– Streamlined trim levels with only SV, SR, and Platinum trims offered now.

– 40th Anniversary edition with red leather upholstery and gloss black trim. 

2021 Nissan Sentra

– Redesigned for 2020, the only updates this year are standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

2021 Nissan Versa

– Redesigned for 2020, the subcompact sedan carries over for 2021. 

Pickup trucks

Nissan Frontier

The curious case of the mid-size pickup truck is that for 2020, after 15 years of nearly no updates, it finally got a new powertrain that presaged a full redesign. But we don’t know if the redesign will be for the 2021 or 2022 model year, and what else will accompany the 310-hp 3.8-liter V-6 and 9-speed automatic transmission. 

2021 Nissan Titan

2021 Nissan Titan

– Discontinued in Canada, Nissan says the Titan will continue in the U.S. beyond 2021.

– Standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

– Standard Safety Shield 360.

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