3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Nissan Maxima

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Expert's Rating


MPG 19 City / 26 Highway
  • Upscale interior feel
  • Rides smooth
  • Good handling for large car
  • Base model comes well equipped
  • Limited trunk space
  • Cabin not as spacious as competitors
, Automotive Editor -
Well-equipped and value-packed with a starting price that's tough to ignore. The sumptuous engine and Nissan's exceptional continuously variable automatic transmission rewards drivers with gobs of torque and outstanding fuel economy, to boot.


Lost amidst the wash of entry-level mid-sized sedans is the Nissan Maxima. To those who’ve owned one, they know the Maxima as a strikingly quick sedan, with a well-designed interior and reliable guts. However, from the outside the Maxima won’t really invoke a sense of exhilaration and comfort. It’s a shame, because the Maxima tenders more options than most of the mid-sized, moderately priced sedans it competes against.

Powering this hidden gem is a 3.5 liter V6 engine which produces a respectable 290 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is quick and powerful, yet still manages to knock out decent mileage ratings at 19 MPG/city and 26/MPG on the highway. Controlling the Maxima is Nissan’s continuous variable automatic transmission system (CVT).

Inside, the Maxima is loaded with features which easily surpass what the competition is doing. While this assault on what is considered “standard” for entry-level sedans isn’t overt, Nissan is quietly raising the bar in a field where options and features have become an expensive commodity. The interior uses premium materials, offers an attractive layout, and presents tons of options found mostly on luxury sedans. This includes an impressive iPod interface which blows away the competition, an easy to use (but optional) navigation system, and a comfortable rear seating experience.

Some might disregard this vehicle because its exterior is somewhat bland and nondescript, but behind the wheel it’s easy to see where Nissan overachieved. The engine is fast and accelerates at a pace more akin to luxury sedans. Handling is a dream and the steering is exact and precise. The suspension is adaptable, giving the Maxima a smooth ride. Most impressive however is the drivetrain. The CVT handles the quick shifts and acceleration with ease – a vast improvement over some of Nissan’s previous vehicles featuring the CVT.

Safety is another area the Maxima seems to handle well. Standard safety features include: antilock brakes, front and side curtain airbags, front seat head-restraints, and stability and traction control. Safety ratings ranged from “Good” to “Acceptable” according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

The 2013 Nissan Maxima might not look much more than a blasé sedan your father might drive, but inside it has the heart of a lion and a well-appointed interior more commonly found in a higher class of vehicles.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Nissan Maxima
Starting price

2013 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S

Recommended for: Buyers knowing a sedan's performance is more important than its appearance

The 2013 Nissan Maxima 3.5S is equipped with a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is handled by Nissan’s continuous variable automatic transmission system (CVT). Standard features include: Bluetooth, eight-speaker sound system, six-disc CD player, auxiliary audio jack, split folding rear seat, trip computer, eight way power driver’s seat, four way power passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, keyless ignition, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic headlights, sunroof, leather steering wheel, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Unfortunately, optional packages are limited to the SV trim level.

2013 Nissan Maxima
Starting price

2013 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV

Recommended for: Sedan drivers wanting a luxury sedan driving experience for a modest price

The Base 3.5 SV is the same as the S trim level with the addition of a leather interior, an improved driver’s seat with lumbar and thigh support, and improved fog lights. However, the SV trim level offers a plethora of packages and options. The Monitor package includes: a rearview camera, iPod interface, and a color monitor in the dash. The Cold packages includes: a heated steering wheel, mirrors, and front seats, while a Bose Audio package upgrades the speakers to a Bose nine-speaker system with satellite radio. A combination package called the SV Value package combines the Cold and Bose Audio package into a singular upgrade.

In addition, the SV trim level offers a Premium and Sport package. These are similar and include: upgraded interior leather upholstery, a ventilated driver’s seat, upgraded headlights, driver’s seat memory, and a power steering wheel which has power tilt and telescoping features to go along with paddle shifters. In addition, these packages include both the Bose audio and the Cold packages. Where they differentiate is that the Premium package includes ambient interior lighting, wood trim, and a dual-panel sunroof. The Sport packages features larger 19-inch wheels, and tighter and stiffer sport suspension and upgraded trim. Finally a Technology package can be added which combines the Cold, Bose audio, Premium and Sport packages into one.

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