Despite the fact that Nissan markets the Maxima as a four-door sports car, its true identity lies closer to that of a luxury sedan. Its spacious front and rear seats, eight-inch touch screen, standard navigation combined with front-wheel drive give it a luxury feel at a very affordable price.
The Maxima underwent a dramatic update in 2016, with a brand new body design, a sporty SR trim level and upgrades throughout, which mean that the Maxima will stay mostly the same for 2017.
What's New for 2017
After the complete revision of the Maxima in 2016, very little is changing for this year. Apple CarPlay will now come standard on all trim levels and a couple of new option packages will be introduced. Called the Medallion on the Platinum trim level and Dynamic on the SV trim, they both trick out the look of the Maxima by adding a spoiler, illuminated kick plates, 18-inch wheels and side rocker molding
The entire 2017 Maxima lineup is equipped with a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and performance-oriented Xtronic transmission. Prices start at $32,560 for the S trim, and go all the way up to $39,990 for the top-of-the-line Platinum.
Choosing Your Nissan Maxima
The Maxima comes in a variety of trim levels. While option packages are basically non-existent, there are a number of accessories such as a spoiler, floor mats and body molding that can be added to any model.
Regardless of the model you choose, a 3.5-liter V6 will be nestled under the hood and paired with an Xtronic transmission, ensuring high performance in a luxury package.
The Maxima is available in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, SR and range-topping Platinum.
The SL offers luxury features at an excellent price, making it possibly the best value in the Maxima line-up. If your heart lies with a more sports car feel, the SR is probably the best bet. For a true luxury car experience without the price tag of a BMW or Mercedes, consider the Platinum trim.
The Nissan Maxima, once called the four-door sports car, received a much-needed redesign in 2016. This ushered in a sharp, new look that was a tad polarizing. Can this sedan take hold of the competitive midsize sedan market, or will its high price and spotty performance hold it back?
Pricing and Equipment
The Nissan Maxima is an interesting proposition, as it competes in a class that seeks value and roominess, but the Maxima excels in neither. We’ll get to its roominess issues later, but its base price of $33,395 (destination fees included) is quite high for its class. For this price, however, the Maxima does have decent standard features, including:
18-inch alloy wheels
Dual-zone climate control
Eight-speaker sound system
Buyers looking for more features can opt for the SL, SR, or Platinum trims. There are also option packages, such as the SR Midnight Package ($1,020) and the Dynamic Package ($859).
The Maxima’s roots as a four-door sports car are evident in its 300-horsepower V6 engine, and they’re solidified by its responsive suspension system, particularly in the SR trim.
300-horsepower V6 is plenty for straight-line performance
Quick to 60 mph for a midsize sedan
Handles well, particularly the sporty SR trim
While the engine harks back to its sports-sedan roots, the Maxima's steering system’s unpredictable response and weight make it tough to truly push it to the limit. What’s more, the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) simply isn't cut out for serious performance.
The SR trim’s suspension is a little rough for some
Continuously variable transmission is far from sporty
V6 engine sounds pretty bland
The Maxima is more luxurious than ever in its latest generation. Its upscale features and peaceful cabin put it in a class it’s never competed in before. It's also a great car for longer trips, thanks to its uber-comfortable “Zero Gravity” seats.
Plenty of high-end materials make it feel more luxurious
Sporty wraparound dash and flat-bottomed steering wheel
Zero-gravity seats make long hauls quite comfortable
Lots of storage cubbies for phones and other pocket-dwelling items
While it is well equipped, the Maxima’s 112.9 cubes of total interior room is on the smaller side of the midsize spectrum. Heck, it even has less room than its smaller sibling, the Altima. Additionally, though it has plenty of standard and optional features, its high prices kill the value a bit.
Despite being a midsize sedan, the cabin is quite cramped at just 112.9 cubic feet
A little pricey for what you get
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The sporty look and feel of the Maxima’s cabin is a pleasant surprise and a change of pace in this class. What’s more, it does a great job of combining this sportiness with comfort, thanks to its “Zero Gravity” seats.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
When a car loses its edge, it’s always depressing. The Maxima has done just that, thanks to its uninspiring CVT gearbox and unimpressive engine sound. We really expected more from this legendary sedan.
The Bottom Line
The Maxima is what it is: a niche sedan that will likely always hover in the middle of its class in sales. The Maxima requires a special buyer who’s looking for sporty straight-line performance and high-end standard features, but doesn’t need the precise handling and roominess that typically comes in this class.