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
  • Automatic headlights
  • Fog lights
  • Keyless ignition
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • 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).

Performance Pros

Nissan Maxima

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

Performance Cons

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

Interior Pros

Nissan Maxima

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

Interior Cons

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.