Everything you need to know
After Nissan redesigned its flagship sedan, the Maxima, it’s shot to the top of many buyers’ lists.
There’s no doubt that a Nissan Maxima is one of the models that warrants a closer look for people buying in the full size luxury sedan segment, but there are a few offerings from other automakers like BMW, Audi and Acura that should also be looked at before making a decision. With Nissan calling it a sports car, the Maxima now has something to live up to, but does it?
The redesign on the Nissan Maxima has resulted in an all-new interior that impresses – a lot
Even the base model Maxima S is a nice place to sit when stuck in traffic.
The interior of the Nissan Maxima is what you would call premium, because that’s exactly what it is. The most current version of the car has seen all the right changes and upgrades in all the right places and the resulting look of everything as well as the tactile feel of the materials used is great. As you’d expect the interiors get better as you go up the model range, but even the base model Maxima S is a nice place to sit when stuck in traffic. Here the seats are cloth, but the driver’s seat is still 8-way power adjustable and the passenger side is 4-way power adjustable. NASA inspires the design of the front seats and so the shape follows the form of a human spine in zero gravity conditions – they’re good for you as well as being comfortable. Seating in the rear is normal though, but there’s ample space for average-sized adults, although there’s a little less space than in the rival Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse. All models feature a leather bound steering wheel and shift knob, and they’re brilliant. The steering wheel is what you’ll be seeing for most of your drive and that’s not a bad thing, Nissan have given it a similar setup and design to the Nissan Murano, which many rate highly. Higher models feature faux mahogany trim that looks good, but a piano black or brushed aluminum finish would make for an even better overall look especially when combined with the charcoal leather option.
Who Buys Nissan Maxima?Calculations are based on data from KKF, NHTSA and Department of Motor Vehicles using CarBuzz's proprietary algorithm.
0% men vs 100% women
Nissan Maxima Owners vs. US Average
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Overall Nissan have done a really good job at updating the Maxima’s interior.
There’s an 8-speaker audio system in play (the top trim Platinum model features an 11-speaker Bose audio system) as well as a good and intuitive infotainment system headed up by a full colour eight-inch touch screen. It’s one of the easier systems in this segment to navigate, but not quite as good as what’s found in new Ford models. Things are easy to see and reach thanks to the dash being slanted 7-degrees towards the driver, this gives a cockpit-like feel. There’s space for some average sized water bottles and a few compartments for your every day carry items, the Nissan Maxima is more than spacious. The trunk, while large, measures in smaller than that Nissan Altima’s 15.8 cubic feet with a size of 14.3 cubic feet. This smaller trunk would explain the better rear legroom. Loading items is the same as for any sedan, but valuable space has been lost thanks to the hinge arm protectors on each side of the trunk. Overall Nissan have done a really good job at updating the Maxima’s interior, almost too well of a job though as it can now rival the Infiniti range.
The Nissan Maxima offers a rewarding drive, although it’s not quite as sporty as expected
The Nissan Maxima is front-wheel drive.
The Nissan Maxima is front-wheel drive, and with 300 horsepower you’d expect some torque steer when pulling off in a hurry, but the suspension setup and electronics almost completely eliminate this. What you will find is that a hurried launch experiences a slight power delay before everything comes on song. That said, unless you’re an enthusiast or someone used to more performance-orientated model you may not even notice this. Again, while this feeling is slight, it has no place in a car marketed as a sports car.
For normal driving though, the Maxima is really good.
The Nissan Maxima runs well in both drive modes; Normal and Sport, with the latter letting the car rev a little higher and giving throttle blips when “gearing” down. It does feel like the transmission isn’t quite keeping up withy the engine. The car handles well enough, especially for its size and for power going to the front wheels with understeer only felt if you turn into a bend too fast. While new technologies smooth out the drive, in the SR version that, as a result of its stiffer setup, corrugations in the road can make the Maxima feel a little unsettled. For normal driving though, the Maxima is really good.
The entire Nissan Maxima range can is summed up with just one powertrain
Every car is fitted with Nissan’s proven normally aspirated 3.5-liter six-cylinder powerplant.
While there are no less than six Nissan Maxima models in the line-up, they all have the exact same engine and transmission setup. Every car is fitted with Nissan’s proven normally aspirated 3.5-liter six-cylinder powerplant that creates 300-hp and 261 lb-ft of torque. While this is the same engine found in more than a few Nissan cars and SUVs and it offers up the same power figures. It is admittedly a brilliant engine and with the Nissan Maxima having a dual exit exhaust it sounds rather sportscar-like, but a good exhaust note doesn’t equate to a sporty drive, as mentioned. The power from rivals is pretty much the same if you look at the Dodge Charger that also has 300-hp on tap, but the Chevrolet Impala is at just 196-hp.
The CVT transmission does help the Maxima is with fuel consumption.
The six-cylinder engine has been mated to a continuously variable transmission, which as said, is strange for a four-door sportscar. The software controlling the transmission is set up in such a way that the Nissan Maxima is made to feel like it uses a conventional automatic thanks to set “shift points” that can be reached at will via the steering-mounted shift paddles. There’s no doubt that the transmission limits performance of the Nissan Maxima, but this may have been a purposeful move on Nissan’s part because this is a front-wheel drive car. Rival cars can be had withy a rear-wheel or an all-wheel drive setup, but that’s one of the few places they one-up the Nissan Maxima. Another place the CVT transmission does help the Maxima is with fuel consumption, the large sedan is claimed to use 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg for the highway. Another oddity is the fact that the two sportier looking models, the SR and the SR Midnight Edition both have plenty visual upgrades to make them look more appealing, yet the power output also remains at 300-hp.
The Nissan Maxima is a complete package that can even detract attention from the flagship Infiniti brand
The new Maxima has some great features as standard that will leave just about every potential buyer satisfied with the choice.
Being the premium sedan option from Nissan means the new Maxima has some great features as standard that will leave just about every potential buyer satisfied with the choice. As with most automakers there are also optional extras to be had, but even when picking out the best of these the overall price tag isn’t affected as much as you’d imagine, which is a good thing and a definite selling point. The 8-inch multi-touch-screen that’s quite easy to use and learn, and provides good clarity even in harsh lighting conditions thanks to being angled towards the diver. Most car systems and settings can be viewed on the screen, and it’s also where the navigation is displayed. Some things can also be controlled via the multifunction steering wheel and if needed, it can be used with voice recognition.
The Nissan Maxima also has an impressive rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with a Good rating in most tests.
On the safety front the Nissan Maxima has you covered with an advanced airbag system comprised of front air bags with seat belt and occupant-classification sensors, front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags, complete with rollover sensors. One interesting feature is the ‘Easy-Fill Tire Alert’ that forms part of the tire pressure monitoring system: when filling tires, the car’s horn will beep when the correct pressure is reached. Top models feature diamond-quilted leather seats and a leather-bound steering wheel. During the drive there is a host of safety systems in play, such as blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. Another good feature is that the Nissin Maxima can tell when you’re getting tired and will suggest a break to rest up and recharge. Of course segment rivals will and do offer similar features, so while they’re great as an overall package in the Nissan Maxima, they’re not unique and probably won’t be a concrete deciding factor for potential buyers. The Nissan Maxima also has an impressive rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with a Good rating in most tests, but like the smaller Nissan Altima, the headlights come in only as Acceptable, but the organization still lists the car as a top safety pick for 2017.
While the Nissan Altima is good, what about a Nissan Maxima then?
It’s not in the lower echelons of the available cars, that is quite clear, but we’re also not able to label it as the best. We can tell you that the Nissan Maxima is a really good option that most certainly warrants a very close look before the decision to buy in the segment is made.