By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
Sliding into the narrow segment between the family-oriented Altima Sedan and the luxury-performance Infiniti G37 Sedan, the 2011 Nissan Maxima competes against, among others, the Volkswagen CC, Mazda MAZDA6, Ford Taurus SHO and Chrysler 300. Nissan built this front-drive four-door to please both performance and luxury-sedan fans alike, and it scores on both points. Although marginally smaller in size than the Taurus or 300, the 2011 Maxima exudes a sporty coupe vibe from the outside while retaining its roominess on the inside. With its aggressive look and impressive power, Nissan correctly touts this latest incarnation of the Maxima as the return of the "four-door sports car."
If you're looking for a sedan with aggressive styling and sports-car prowess, you may want to consider the Nissan Maxima. Although other sedans in its class give off a bold appeal, the Maxima's styling is a true attention grabber.
If interior space is important, you might not like the 2011 Nissan Maxima's smaller size, as its passenger volume is smaller than many of its competitors, including the Ford Taurus SHO, Chrysler 300 and Toyota's Avalon and Camry. Also, there is no manual transmission available.
Changes for 2011 are limited to the Sport model, which receives smoked headlamps, a dark chrome grille and shiny gray interior stitching.
Driving Impressions After a day of driving the 2011 Nissan Maxima on some curvy roads and some extensive time on the freeway, we can report that the Maxima's V6 engine delivers good...low-end torque and smooth operation. Power for merging and passing is more than adequate, but overall the car feels somewhat heavier in the turns, especially when compared to some other sport sedans we've tested. The engine sounds sporty, but the lack of a proper six-speed manual detracts somewhat from the car's sporty nature. Overall, the Maxima does a great job in combining looks, power and practicality, but it might need a bit more power to really live up the "four-door sports car" claim.
The available paddle shifters add to the Maxima's "four-door sports car" image and can be used at a moment's notice without needing to shift into a "sport" mode. This feature comes in handy when passing, descending a steep hill or just doing some spirited driving.
Better than a standard auxiliary input, and leaps and bounds beyond any form of standard radio, having complete control of an iPod through the car's audio system is much safer than driving with one hand while fumbling to control your iPod with the other.
Nissan intended the Maxima's interior to feel like a cockpit and, when equipped with premium leather seating and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, we think the objective has been achieved. The aggressive dash design places all controls closer to the driver and raises the center console controls closer to the driver's line of sight. We did, however, find the driver's-side door-pull handle hinders lateral hand motion when using the power-window buttons, and is an annoyance at times. Nissan's nicely bolstered seats feature available thigh support and, in conjunction with the sporty three-spoke steering wheel, place the driver in a commanding position that encourages aggressive driving. Rear seats are given equal treatment, but some of us thought the hollowed-out seatbacks could offer more lower back support and noted that the sloping roofline brushed against the heads of taller occupants.Exterior
Nissan calls the design theme for the 2011 Maxima "liquid motion," which incorporates a wave-like flow in everything from the bulging hood to the bold fenders. The design is quite seductive and, despite the Maxima's four doors, imparts an aggressive sports-car look. An interesting option is the giant dual-panel moonroof, which features a retractable glass front half that powers open over a fixed rear glass panel. Further aesthetic enhancements include a higher deck lid, L-shaped headlights and a wide grille. With its relatively short wheelbase and low, wide body, the Maxima displays a more of an athletic stance than most of it competition, especially with its standard 18- or optional 19-inch wheels.
The 2011 Nissan Maxima has a 3.5-liter V6 engine, Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), power windows, power door locks, power moonroof, automatic halogen headlights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power front passenger's seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Other standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless start and entry, AM/FM/CD6/MP3 audio system with eight speakers, Bluetooth, dual front and side-curtain airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).
Many options for the 2011 Nissan Maxima come standard with the higher SV trim, which includes leather-appointed seats, Bose audio system with nine speakers, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, fog lights and manual thigh support on the driver's seat. Other options can be found bundled in packages, including a dual-panel moonroof, a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, premium leather seating, paddle shifters, heated steering wheel and seats, Nissan Hard Drive Navigation with voice recognition, iPod interface system, RearView monitor, metallic trim, one-touch rear windows and a power rear-window sunshade.
Nissan's latest iteration of its already-brilliant 3.5-liter V6 engine turns out an impressive 290 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque. Improvements included maximizing the air intake and exhaust flow to not only gain power and enhance performance, but also to create a sporty engine sound to evoke what Nissan calls an "exhilaration feeling."
290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
261 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26
By CJ on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great looking, classy, fun to drive"
Cons: "no day running lights, placement of mirror control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is a terrific car in appearance and performance. Great to drive. The amenities are super. My only complaint is low city mileage, no day running lights and the placement of the side mirror controls. Otherwise it's wonderful."
By baj on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "no value for the money"
Cons: "'extremely no value for the money"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is one of the best vehicles that I've ever driven!! It handles very well! It is one of the most exciting vehicles that I've ever driven and owned. The sad news is that it doesn't hold it's value at all!!!!! Don't buy one11111"
By hollyboobeau on Thursday, June 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love this car - the ONLY reason I am thinking of selling it is due to the gas mileage. I commute 130 miles a day and gas is killing me, but otherwise this is truly one of the best cars I have ever owned! It is comfortable - easy and fun to drive and powerful! The thought of getting into a 4 cyl is driving me nuts!!"
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Maggiemae on Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"This car is a nice looking car and has lots of power, but for the money - close to $50K - lacks some basic items - it has no compass, it has no side warnings (car coming up beside you in blind spot), and the passenger seat won't raise and is low to the floor so hard to see if you're short. Nav system has never worked right - gives wrong driving directions. The blue tooth is very hard to figure out - the service dept at my local dealership can't even figure it out."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Punkin on Monday, June 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style, handling"
Cons: "Back seat space and mirror adjuster"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Overall i think the Maxima is a very good car. It's fun to drive, It handles well, and the freeway drive is amazing (the freeway to me, is where you can see just how much power it has). The look of the car is also eye catching. All i did was add limo tent and it was a show stopper. Always get compliments. No problems with the car owned since January 2012 with 42,000 hard miles on it (I am hard on cars). I would have to say that the back seat is the biggest down fall it is hard to fit three adults in the back, the car seats four comfortably. First time nissan buyer convinced!"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Nissan Girl on Friday, May 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive with a smooth ride"
Cons: "no sunglass holder, passenger seat not comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My Nissan maxima SV car has all the bells and whistles that could be on a car. I enjoy them all. I do not like the tires. Should have tires such as Michelin for a quieter and smoother ride. I have purchased several Nissan maxima since 1985 and also 3 murano since 2006. I would like an infiniti but hard to give up the Nissan car and Nissan SUV for the price of the infiniti SUV."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful