By KBB.com Editors
Flagship of its current sedan fleet, the mid-size Maxima is Nissan's answer to established European sport/luxury competitors, as well as an alternative to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. This roomy, front-drive four-door mixes expressive style with impressive performance and loads of features. The enthusiast-oriented SE and more opulently appointed SL variants both use the same potent V6 engine backed by the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Minor functional upgrades add even greater charm for 2008 and keep the Maxima solidly on the list of candidates for any buyer who needs a single vehicle with a genuinely multifaceted personality.
If you're looking for a front-wheel drive sedan with genuine sporting character, unique style and loads of outstanding features, the Maxima could well feel right at home in your garage.
Traditionalists may find the Maxima's exterior styling a bit too avant garde for their tastes. Those who favor a more compliant ride -- or a hybrid alternative -- might prefer a Toyota Camry, while enthusiasts might be happier with a rear-wheel-drive offering, such as the pricier BMW 3 Series or Cadillac CTS.
Sole changes of note for 2008 are the elimination of the four-seat Elite Package and the addition of a new Platinum Edition Package. Offered on both trim levels, it includes bi-xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, multi-function memory features, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and numerous other comfort and convenience items.
Driving Impressions There's a definite sporting flavor to the well-sorted suspension of both the SL and SE. While neither feels harsh, the larger wheel and tire fitment on the latter does sacrifice...a bit of ride compliance for slightly quicker steering response and improved overall grip. Standard traction control helps curtail wheelspin, although the engine has more than enough power and torque to make the optional Vehicle Dynamics Control stability system worth serious consideration, particularly if you live in an area where rain or snow are common. Stopping power of the anti-lock brakes is impressive and consistent, regardless of surface or weather conditions.
Standard SkyView Roof
This unique fixed-glass insert that runs longitudinally down the center of the Maxima's roof allows natural light to fill the cabin and includes manually-adjustable shades to prevent excess glare.
Premium Edition Package
Pairing two of the Maxima's prime option groups at a significant pricing discount, this stellar upgrade adds HID headlamps, Bluetooth, rear sonar warning system, enhanced power seat and mirror functions, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated steering wheel and more.
The Maxima's roomy cabin reflects the contemporary flair of its exterior, with a well-integrated mix of angles and contours. Passenger space is generous up front, even with the optional power moonroof, and the rear is adult-friendly, if a bit close on headroom. The SL matches leather and faux-wood accents and the SE features a cloth and brushed-aluminum motif. Common touches include legible main instruments, logically arrayed supplemental controls and, for the radio, dual-zone automatic air conditioner controls and trip computer functions, yellow LCD display readouts that, unfortunately, can fade to illegibility in bright sunlight. Firm but supportive front buckets are paired with a 60/40 split-folding rear bench that enables increasing the usable cargo capacity.Exterior
A far cry from the boxy designs of its predecessors, the sixth-generation Maxima was restyled for 2007 using Infiniti-inspired cues that have now become part of the body language of its Altima and Sentra kin, as well. Crisply-tailored lines punctuated by an expressive C-pillar and short decklid are complemented by a standard SkyView glass-panel roof insert. On the SL, the Maxima's pronounced fender bulges house 225/55 H-rated tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels, while the SE is fitted with 255/45 V-rated performance tires on 18-inch alloy rims and a tasteful decklid spoiler.
Mechanically, the SL and SE share the same 255-horsepower V6 engine, Continuously Variable Transmission, traction control and anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), plus front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. Both include numerous power assists as well as keyless entry and start, steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise control switchgear, dual 12-volt powerpoints and Homelink. From there, the SL standard equipment is skewed more toward luxury, with an upgraded Bose premium audio system with six-disc changer, leather upholstery and heated front seats, while the SE offers more enthusiastic handling with bigger 18-inch wheels and wider, lower-profile performance tires.
A major addition to the extras list for 2008 is the Platinum Edition Package, with bi-xenon HID headlights, rear sonar backup warning, power tilt and telescoping steering column, supplemental driver-side seat-memory functions, folding mirrors, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and heated steering wheel. Other stand-alone options include Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), power moonroof and a Navigation system. The Bose premium audio package and leather upholstery that is standard on the SL are optionally available on the SE, while larger, 18-inch wheels are available for the SL.
Winner of numerous awards, the Maxima's potent 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 is used throughout both the Nissan and Infiniti lineups. In the Maxima it makes 255 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque and drives the front wheels through Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission. This stepless CVT also incorporates a sport-shift mode with six "virtual" ratios for those who want the added control of manual-style gear changing. Either Maxima model will sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 6.5 seconds and has EPA fuel economy numbers of 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
255 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
252 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25
By faru on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Spacious, looks good,"
Cons: "transmission, turn radius, pick up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car from auction using my friends account. My decision to grab this car went horribly wrong. The car when we test drove was very good strong and had just 87,000 miles on it for 04' SL model. But things started to fall apart the transmission started reacting weird it would get stuck on some gears and skip some gears. When I started researching this car it had One of kind TRANSMISSION flaw where it would start doing weird shifts jerks jumps stuck once the engine is completely warm ...so when its cold it would shift smooth thats where we were not able to catch this issue and new transmission is very expensive to fix around 3000$ as the junk yard people know that this vehicle has this issue they priced it HIGH all over uSA..SO my Suggestion DO NOT BUY 04-06 Nissan. Good luck!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
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."
5 people out of 5 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