Nissan Maxima Test Drive

Last Updated:

 First, let me say that I am a fan of the new Maxima Design. It is not for everyone (but what is…)
And I do like that. It is good to see someone taking a few chances here and there.

I guess Nissan figured they could grab a few buyers who want something a bit different and more daring in a 4 door sedan.
And I think it works. The new Maxima looks great in person.
And, it does look more upscale than the Altima. Which is the point, since both cars are about the same size.
Which does put the Maxima in that weird position it has been ever since the Altima grew into a larger car, years ago.

 Same thing inside, it is much more upscale than the Altima. Everything seems thicker and heavier.
Even the doors.

The model I drove for a week was a loaded Platinum version.
Which included pretty much everything you can possibly want in a car.

The seats look a feel great. (Although the front headrests are placed a bit too far back for long trips)
The Bose stereo sounded very good. If not very loud (A common issue with Bose car systems)

I do think they could have toned down the stitching on the dash. There is just too much of it.
(Something I also noticed at the Auto show with another Nissan product:the new Infiniti QX30)

 And the wood trim isn’t very convincing. It also has a weird crosshatch shape built into it.
Not sure whose bright idea that was… But it looks pretty bad. And cheesy. (Even if, I guess, it is supposed to match the “Diamond Quilted leather inserts” of the seats)

 The Around View monitor is always an amazing feature. Now available in every Nissan models.
It is still one of the very best systems around.

 The Maxima is a great driving car.

It feels solid and heavy (in  good way). And really fast. Faster than most people will ever need, really.
I never felt any problem associated with torque steer, unlike Maximas from a few generations ago…

It is quiet, but not “Lexus Quiet”. It is more on the sporty side of the spectrum.
Which is just fine since there are plenty of soft/super quiet sedans around.
Again, this is a bit different.

The suspension is comfortable, and slightly firm. The steering is much better than other Nissan models. And the Sport mode really does make a difference. Mostly with the steering which becomes quite a bit firmer.

The Maxima is rated at 22City and 30HWY.
I did get 22 in the city and topped around 34/35 on the freeway.
Which is really good for a 300HP car with a large 3.5 Liter V6.

The CVT works great. Much  more responsive than most “regular” automatics out there.
A rush of power is practically instant when you call for it.
It really works great. (All the internet 12 year old trolls who hate CVTs in the Maxima have obviously never driven one.)

I would really recommend the Maxima. For those who want a little more fun when driving a large sedan.
My test car was $39 860. Fully loaded. (It starts at $ 33 345  for a “base” model, which still has the great V6)

It is not cheap, but really not that bad when compared to other large sedans:

-A loaded Acura TLX is $40 315.
-A loaded Chevrolet Impala is $40 130
-A loaded Hyundai Azera is $40 195
-A Toyota Avalon Limited is $41 285

So all these large FWD sedans are priced around the same when loaded.
But is it different enough from a loaded Altima? (Which would be around $35 000)

Well, it is. Both cars rare about the same size and use the same V6.
But the Maxima does have a real premium feel the Altima doesn’t.
Especially inside. It feels and looks more like a premium sporty sedan than a family car.

But I guess, Nissan could still make both cars more different.
A luxury hatch like the Audi A7 would be great.

But I really think a full EV would be the best. Something that gets around 250 miles per charge and would cost around $40 000 after incentives would be the perfect way to separate the Maxima from the Altima.
It would be larger than the Tesla Model III but a bit smaller than the S.

I think it would be the perfect 21st Century Maxima.

Conversation 8 comments

  1. Vince, the Avalon Limited is around 41,785.

    I thought Maxima ride was bit underwhelming. Looks great and acceleration is good but it just feels very heavy. Also I thought driver area is bit cramped with the thick center console. I'd take the TLX over this but sure this has a nicer interior.

  2. Guess I'm officially a super-old fart but diamond quilting just doesn't do it for me, even though it's more and more popular. Somehow it just screams J.C.Whitney.

  3. I've never been a fan of the blacked out windshield pillars, and I already hate the new fad of the black strip through the rear window pillars. It serves absolutely no purpose, and doesn't help the style (except in the new Murano).

  4. What a sad list of sedans. The Maxima is incredibly horsey looking. If I had forty G's to spend on a mainstream sedan, the only one I would even consider (and I can't believe I'm going to say this) would be the Impala.

  5. @Steve Markarian 44K TLX is the AWD version. Vince was comparing the V6 FWD which tops out at 42K but I think more typical config is tech package which is already pretty loaded for under 40K.

  6. I really don't understand the CVT complaints. I had an Altima as a rental and compared to the tragedy of a transmission in the Focus, it was life changing for the better! One thing I don't understand is why the Altima has optional LED brake lights, and the lower Sentra has them standard, yet they are not even available on the top of the line Maxima? The running lights are LED tubes, but the brakes themselves are the regular old incandescent bulbs.

    – FusioptimaSX

  7. This would be a hard pick when compared to a TLX. The CVT would be something I'd have to really be ok with to base my decision.

Leave a comment

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