By KBB.com Editors
The Maxima was the first Japanese import to encroach on the European sport sedan market. Viewed by many as a sporty alternative to the family-oriented Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Maxima set new standards in performance, luxury and reliability. Ironically, as the competition has reached parity with these standards, Nissan has repositioned the Maxima, with a greater emphasis on luxury and comfort. Gone is the wonderfully smooth manual transmission, replaced by a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with manual shift modehardly the transmission of choice for the enthusiast crowd. Still, for the consumer who needs a car to be the family sedan, a client hauler and a weekend escape pod, the Maxima is, as it has always been, an excellent choice.
If you're looking for a high-performance front-wheel-drive sedan offering a number of unique styling and comfort features, you'll love the Maxima.
The Maxima's unique exterior shape is a litmus test. Some love it; some don't care for it. Others (perhaps those who view themselves as more enthusiastic drivers) might prefer the steering feel of a car with rear-wheel drive.
The Maxima receives a major makeover, with a new front and rear fascia, new interior and a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) as standard equipment on all trim levels.
Driving Impressions No matter which trim you choose you'll find the same 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. This wonderful engine is absolutely power-happy, without a flat spot or weak point anywhere...in the rpm band, and it runs and performs like a big gas-thirsty V8 while returning a respectable EPA highway fuel rating of 28 miles per gallon.
The Maxima's unique glass roof allows natural light to fill the cabin.
The Elite Package's rear bucket seats offer a level of exclusivity not found on any competitor.
The instrument panel mimics the three-pod motif found in the Z-Car and Altima, a nice tie-in to the Nissan family line. The dash and door panels are very well arranged, with proper backlighting for all buttons and switchgear. Safety features include seat-belt pretensioners, built-in crumple zones, front side-impact airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags.Exterior
The sleek Maxima is a far cry from the boxy designs that defined previous generations of the well-known nameplate. A rounded greenhouse, sleek nose and big 18-inch alloy wheels practically place it on a par with the Infiniti line. Innovative features, such as the fixed glass panel running down the center of the roof, show Nissan's willingness to push the design envelope.
The Maxima SE comes with a 255-horsepower V6, CVT automatic transmission with manual shift mode, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Vehicle Dynamic Control stability system, traction control, fog lights, remote keyless entry, garage door opener, AM/FM stereo with CD, front side-impact airbags, front and rear head-curtain airbags, SkyView fixed glass-panel roof, eight-way power driver's seat, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, trip computer and alloy wheels.
Options include heated leather seats, Bose audio, quad bucket seats, power rear sunshade, DVD navigation, heated rear seat, power moonroof, heated steering wheel, xenon headlamps, Bluetooth hands-free phone and XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
Nissan's 24-valve, 3.5-liter V6 is without question one of the best V6 engines ever produced. With such sturdy and rarely-found features as an honest-to-goodness timing chain (as opposed to a rubber belt, which will eventually require replacement) and platinum-tipped spark plugs, the Maxima's powerplant is built to go the distance. Smooth as silk at idle and at high speeds, the 3.5-liter engine delivers abundant power throughout the rpm range yet sips fuel like a frugal four-cylinder.
255 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
252 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28
By Hope on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stable drive, good acceleration"
Cons: "Weak suspension, poor quality compared to Toyota"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"In just 85K miles I have replaced the front struts (leaking again), rear bearings and the underside has begun to rust through. The suspension is too weak for the weight of the car. Not user friendly for doing minor maintenance, like replacing headlight bulbs (got to remove front wheels and wheel arches to gain access). Overall poor quality compared to Toyota (should have purchased a Camry)."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By JL on Friday, June 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice, good gas mileage for size of car"
Cons: "Transmission is a piece of junk"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Overall I was very pleased with this car until the transmission went out at around 100 thousand miles. This is now a known problem with this year, make & model. Class action suit ongoing against Nissan regarding this. The turn radius isn't great, tires are expensive to replace due to being low profile. Now it just looks pretty in my driveway since I can't drive it without replacing the transmission first."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Snuff on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, exc gas mileage"
Cons: "36K 36 Mo warranty, parts can be pricey"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"bought in 2008, absolutely a pleasure to own & operate, NO problems, oil changes only. Much more refined than the 1995 Maxima it replaced, which was also excellent thru the 77K we owned it. Not as pretty as the latest model, but it'll do a couple more years as long as the reliability holds out. Recommend Maxima highly."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Maxima on Friday, May 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent mechanicals, engine great"
Cons: "Too much plastic that, with age, break"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"In the 10 years that I have had this car, there have been no major mechanical problems. There have been a series of small nagging problem, most cosmetic and due to Nissan's tendency to use plastic where metal should be used."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By MD on Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 137,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, navigation, power, mpg, Bose sound"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After owning this car for almost six months (bought it December 2013), it has been the best vehicle I've ever owned. I did not care about the miles it had when I originally bought it (132,000 miles) because it was a one-owner vehicle by a woman who took tremendous care of it. The CarFax was excellent. One of the main reasons is because it's my first non-American car purchase. My previous ones were a 1992 Buick Park Avenue, 2000 Chevrolet Malibu LS, & 2001 Buick Regal LS (just blessed two youth girls with that one). Obviously, this is a tremendous upgrade. As mentioned, it is black on black interior & exterior with almost every feature you can think of (navigation system, 6-disc changer, aux input, park assist, heated steering wheel and leather seats, sport shift mode). The car has all the power I need giving me 255 of them thangs (horsepower). Gas mileage is decent at around 18 mpg city & clocking in 29 mpg highway max. I get excited driving this vehicle as there aren't many of them at that year on the road. The seats are comfortable. I have plenty of trunk space to load almost everything. The manual mode is a lot of fun. The suspension and handling is tight. Finally, this is the most reliable vehicle I've owned. I do have to fix my speedometer which stopped working recently, but that's not bad as it continues to run & run. Nissan did a tremendous job on this car. I will drive it till I can't no more."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By ronr1001 on Thursday, May 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,540overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "alot of power for 265 hp"
Cons: "MRSP $35,000 in 2003 Nissan Flagship Model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Firestone replaced all 4 tires warranty at 32000. Nissan replaced sky view glass and they never prepared new installation properly. Now roof rusting in corner's. Took car to Nissan 5/14/14 got run around from body shop personnel. Havve to talk to Manager but he is not here. Right!!Fuel pump went out 2012 $600.00 repair.Battery in 2010. no other problems really good car, but updated navigation costs $175.00 no way."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful