Doing Things Its Own Way. There aren’t many mainstream large sedans on sale anymore. With consumers moving to SUVs, large sedans that didn’t focus on luxury were the first to get the ax. Out of the few that are still available, the 2022 Nissan Maxima is still on sale and continues to offer a noteworthy blend of performance and luxury.

While the full-size denotation is a little misleading for the Maxima, as the midsize Altima is nearly as long, it speaks more about where the Maxima resides in Nissan’s lineup. It’s the largest, most powerful, and most upscale sedan that Nissan sells. The Maxima also has a rich history of being one of the sportier Japanese sedans on sale.

In the dwindling class, the Maxima may be an oldie, but it’s still a goodie.

Good V6, Poor CVT. One of the highlights of the Maxima is its 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Compared to the four-cylinder engines found in other Nissan sedans, the V6 is a standout. It generates a good amount of power and makes a decent sound. Mash the throttle and the Maxima can get to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.7 seconds.

We don’t have a lot to complain about with the V6 engine, but the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that it’s connected to is lackluster at best. It makes the V6 engine feel less peppy than it is and fails to find the right ratio under varying levels of acceleration. The CVT also drones, fails to respond well to the paddle shifters, and is well behind a traditional transmission in refinement. It’s a shame because the Maxima doesn’t need more power.

For a sedan of this size, the Maxima handles surprisingly well. The sedan has a firmer ride than the majority of other options, which results in sharp handling. There’s very little lean around corners and the Maxima drives like a smaller vehicle. Consumers that want to maximize on Maxima’s sporty feel should look at the SR, which comes with a sportier suspension.

The Maxima definitely isn’t the “4-door sports car” that Nissan claims that it is, but it is a sporty car that happens to have four doors.

Still Feels Upscale. Despite coming out in 2015, the 2022 Maxima still feels and looks like a premium vehicle on the inside – as long as you’re willing to shell out a lot of extra money. Move up to one of Maxima’s higher trims and you’ll nab wood trim, a rear-window power sunshade, diamond-quilted leather seats, a Bose audio system, and a large dual-panel panoramic moonroof. Overall, the Maxima has aged incredibly well.

Because of the sedan’s sporty design, the vehicle doesn’t offer nearly as much interior space as other competitors. The rear seats are a little too tight for two adults to sit comfortably, which is a shame because the front seats are well-bolstered and comfortable. For something that’s classified as a large sedan, you’ll be looking for more room.

Don’t look to the trunk to find the extra room, either. Compared to its rivals, the Maxima offers a tiny trunk with just 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space. A lot of smaller midsize sedans have more trunk space.

Sporty, Yet Safe. Unlike a traditional sporty vehicle, the Maxima comes packed with the latest safety features and earned good safety scores in crash testing. The sedan comes with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite, which includes features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition.

The few optional safety features the Maxima offers include a surround-view parking camera, lane-keeping assist, and front parking sensors. The surround-view camera is nice to have, but the quality of the image is subpar. The image gets worse at night and in inclement weather, but city dwellers could find it useful.

In crash testing, the 2022 Maxima earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS and a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

Don’t Expect To Get A Deal. The Maxima isn’t a strong value option, like some other large sedans. The base trim starts at $38,865 (with destination), which is more expensive than vehicles like the Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon, and Chrysler 300. At the top end of the spectrum, the Maxima costs $44,175 but doesn’t bring a lot of extra features to justify its price tag.

Final Thoughts. Nissan is in a tough spot with the Maxima and we can sympathize with the automaker. The segment isn’t popular enough to warrant any large changes, but the competition is just better. Still, drivers looking for a sporty sedan with a luxurious side will find some qualities they may like in the Maxima.

The Toyota Avalon is a bolder large sedan with a spacious cabin, a large trunk, well-equipped trims, a 301-hp V6 engine, and an available hybrid powertrain. It’s newer and more well-rounded than the Maxima.

For absolute power, there’s the Dodge Charger. It’s a muscle car that happens to have a roomy sedan body. Is available with a 797-hp supercharged V8 engine, can get to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 196 mph. You’ll also find an intuitive infotainment system, a spacious interior, and available all-wheel drive.

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