Nissan Maxima test drive



-THE LOOK.

After almost 3 years on the market, the current Maxima is still a very good looking car.
Unlike the previous generation, it doesn’t look like a big Altima anymore.

But a big problem remains, as the Maxima is the same size as the current Altima.
The Maxima is smaller than its competition like the Lacrosse and the Taurus. So the same question remains, why not get a loaded Altima for less money…




-THE INTERIOR.

I really like the interior of the Maxima. It does a good job at mixing a luxury feel with a few sporty touches.
Like the really good looking metal finish on the dashboard.

Overall I think the interior looks more modern and upscale than the Infiniti G37’s.
And plastics seemed of better quality since I last drove a Maxima last year.

My test car did not have GPS. Which is not a good thing for a $37 000 car.
And the control screen was not a touch screen, which felt a little cheap in a world where pretty much everything else, from phones to cameras, use them.
The optional Bose sound system sounded really good, but the connection with the iPod would cut on and off at times, which became quite annoying.
And there was some weird electrical gremlin that turned one of the stereo control on the steering wheel into the horn button.

Kind of a strange feeling to hear a honk when you’re changing playlists…

The back seat is very roomy, but not as much as in the Buick Lacrosse.

-THE DRIVE.

.Ride.
My test car had the sport package which includes a sport suspension and 19 inch wheels.
The ride was just a little bit firm, but very smooth.
And actually not very sporty.
I think the Lacrosse does a better job at getting a smoother ride, and yet a sportier feeling.

.Steering.
The steering was very accurate, but much too light for a sport sedan. More in tune with a luxury car.
Again, the Lacrosse feels much sportier.

But at least, there was no such thing as torque steer when pushing the car.
A huge improvement from the previous generation.

.Engine.

The 3.5 Liter is very familiar to anyone who has driven a Nissan or Infiniti in the past few years.
It is always very smooth, quiet and powerful.
But in this case, I did noticed a very slight, but still annoying, vibration through the steering wheel between 1000 and 2000 RPM.

It made the whole thing feel a little less refined than the competition.

The CVT was again superb. One of the most responsive transmission in this particular application.
Instant power, all the time.

The big Nissan is rated at 19 City and 26 HWY.
I managed to get 22 in the city and 30 on the freeway.
Better numbers than the sticker’s, but also better numbers than the last one I drove.
Which was strange since I pretty much take all the cars I test drive through the same routes in and around Los Angeles.

-SO???

The Maxima is a fine large sedan.
But I would not call it a sport sedan.

It might be weird for some to admit, but we now live in a world where the Buick Lacrosse is a sportier, and more satisfying drive, than the Nissan Maxima.
Who would have thought…

And there is no denying that the 3.5L V6 Altima remains a strong competition to the Maxima.
A loaded V6 Altima (with Navigation) is about $5000 cheaper.

The next big Nissan needs to become something else. Either even larger, or one of these slick 4 door coupes.

Right now I would rate it above the new Taurus, but below the Lacrosse.
And a new Hyundai Azera is coming out soon.

Speaking of Hyundai, a better equipped Genesis sedan (Including GPS), is only about $1000 more.

The world is moving fast around the Maxima…

Conversation 20 comments

  1. I've always liked the Maxima but on this new model, I just can't get past the weird front end design.

  2. Nissan is just freakish and they have been for a long time…Everything they do is just plain goofy and obsolete.

  3. Vince, the Lacrosse is "sportier"?

    You are kidding, right? The Maxima pulls higher numbers in every single measurable category.

    I really think you should stop doing reviews…

    Side note, no nav for $37,000 is INSANE.

  4. Solid and good looking. I was curious what you thought of the CVT. This is the only thing that would keep me from buying it. Although I have not driven a CVT, to be frank.

  5. cvt trannys were soso some time ago. Nissan is the world leader and has invested millions in R&D on these beautiful small units with infinite gears. Most cvt's are still so so, but Nissan's is very impressive.

  6. I respect the engine. It's one of the best sixes in the industry. But this car is hideous looking. Maximas generally become ghettomobiles as they age, but this is low rent looking as a new car. Everything they produce right now looks like it's been on a high-carb diet. This looks particularly inflamed.

  7. Starting to look dated. Expecially compared the the new 200 with it's Pentastar V6. I think this Maxima will just be lost between cheaper cars like Altima & Accord and cars in it's price range like Regal & 200. The front still looks good; but the rest is so yesterday.

  8. I always liked this car but I felt Nissan should have offered the Murano's all wheel drive system on this Maxima, at least as an option to put it a little further from the Altima. If they gave it a little rear wheel drive bias, it would have gave it some nice handling characteristics too to further boost its sportiness without encroaching on the G37's turf. I do think this car looks great, inside and out and is a very good performer.

  9. The torque steer in my 96 and 2000 maxiam's was outta control, u really had to watch the curves in the rain while accelerating, very unlike my honda i traded in on the maxima, and the ghetto vehicle would be any used dodge intrepid, just try to find a white person driving one…

  10. I looked at these cars when they first came out and I remember thinking the price seemed a little high. But GAWD! There are some luxury brand cars that you can buy WITH nav for less then 37K. (Acura TSX comes to mind.) Although, I doubt anyone pays sticker for a Maxima these days.

  11. I have a 2010 Maxima WITH nav that was stickered at $37K. It just depends on what model and option packages you get.

    I love the car. It's roomy, quick and quiet.

    I drove the Taurus, Lacrosse, VW CC as well. The Maxima just did everything well and I got a great deal on it.

    My teenage son also gives it his stamp of "cool" approval, unlike the Ford and Buick.

    I can't believe anyone in their right mind would compare this car unfavorably with the Chrysler 200. Hahahaha!

  12. True dat topaz, true dat……..Nissan vs North American junk! Really? C'mon, only a Nissan is a Nissan. Honda and Toyota make nothing to compare…..Nissan Wins!

  13. "Topaz said…
    I have a 2010 Maxima WITH nav that was stickered at $37K. It just depends on what model and option packages you get.

    I love the car. It's roomy, quick and quiet.

    I drove the Taurus, Lacrosse, VW CC as well. The Maxima just did everything well and I got a great deal on it.

    My teenage son also gives it his stamp of "cool" approval, unlike the Ford and Buick.

    I can't believe anyone in their right mind would compare this car unfavorably with the Chrysler 200. Hahahaha!

    November 28, 2010 10:19 AM

    "

    While I agree with you the person comparing the 200 is foolish, I think I would have MUCH rather had a Taurus SHO than the Maxima.

  14. I liked the Taurus, but the SHOs I saw stickered in the 40s and the dealers were not dealing when I was shopping earlier this year. Still, I like the Maxima better.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *