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2011 Nissan Maxima

Overview
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2011 Nissan Maxima Review

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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."

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2011

Changes for 2011 are limited to the Sport model, which receives smoked headlamps, a dark chrome grille and shiny gray interior stitching.

Driving the Maxima

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.

Paddle Shift
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.

iPod Interface
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.

2011 Nissan Maxima Details
2011 Nissan Maxima photo Interior

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
2011 Nissan Maxima photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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).

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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."

3.5-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
261 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26

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2011 Nissan Maxima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 264 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

I love it so far!

By on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,750

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive!"

Cons: "None so far, love the larger steering wheel as wel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Had the car for a couple of months and I LOVE IT! I actually traded my 2014 Altima in for the Maxima.. Why? I wanted the power, and the Maxima delivers in spades. No more shifting out of overdrive to get the power I need, I just hit the gas peddle. If I need a little extra I shift into manual mode and go from there. I have had no problems with the transition like a previous poster had. Great car, I love it!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

CVT transmission ruins this car

By on Sunday, September 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Reliable, Sporty Handling"

Cons: "CVT Transmission, blue tooth audio, cheap plastics"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Very reliable and sporty handling. The CVT transmission doesn't shift predictably until it is warmed up. If pushed from low speed, say rolling away from a stop light, the engine sounds great but clearly the transmission is holding it back. i really do not like the way this transmission operates in either day to day or spirited driving. Other complaints include the fact the blue tooth audio will often drop the connection to my iPhone5 and I am unable to reconnect until I turn the car off and back on. I'll never buy a Nissan again after owning several Maxima's over the last 15 years"

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great car!

By on Thursday, September 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,350

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great price, good gas mileage, very comfortable."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have enjoyed my 2011 Nissan Maxima very much. The only reason I am selling it is because I am going back to a full sized SUV, because at 6'5" and 275 lbs. I am more comfortable in my new Tahoe."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

This is a great sport/luxury sedan

By on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Powerful, reliable, tight, looks good, fast."

Cons: "The Bose sound system is not great."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have had my 2011 Maxima for 3.5 years now. I've liked it from the start, and I like it more every day I drive it. It's still tight and feels/smells like new. MPG avg is over 25, and all highway is over 27. I do use premium gas which costs more, yet it a cleaner fuel and better for your engine long term. Powerful, smooth, quiet, and feels like it costs much more than $30k. The 3.5 liter V6 is in this car is nothing less than excellent. The CVT trans has never been a bother for me. I have no problems with it. Next car: The totally new Maxima which is coming out soon"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Let 'er eat

By on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We've owned this car (2013 Max with premium, sport, and technology packages) for a couple of years now. Almost 25k miles and no mechanical problems to speak of. My wife is the primary driver and has a pretty light foot. When I get in to drive it however... I let 'er eat. I like to make sure all 290 horses are still present. And they are! It's a lot of fun to have refined power like that in a sporty sedan. Not a huge fan of CVT but I've grown to appreciate it. It really helps keep the torque right at the pedal, if that makes any sense. In other words, if you're driving along at 60mph and want to accelerate to 80mph, that process happens extremely quickly. Accelerating from a dead stop is also interesting but it's all RPM's man... The tach will instantly climb to the top and hang as the car accelerates from 0. It's a different feel. We opted for every option because the rebates were right. Glad we did as all of those options (including the cool undercarriage LED lights) help justify the higher price tag. Yes, I wish it had a manual and RWD but if we really wanted that, we would have paid $10k more for an Infiniti. Wasn't in the budget nor was the insurance cost for the Infiniti. The glass roof is awesome. The Bose stereo is amazing. Long trips in an incredibly comfortable, ventilated seat are great. We love this car and hope it lasts. I know several folks who have 2008+ Max's with 200k on them and no problems. That's encouraging as our last Max was an 2001 with 380k miles on it and still ran perfectly. You'll love the 2013 Max if you decide to get it. Just expect higher preventative maintenance costs (CVT tranny) and higher fuel costs (premium fuel required)."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

great car

By on Saturday, August 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price drives like a dream"

Cons: "cant find any"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"great over all car well built great gas milage 28 city 34 highway better than I thought all the toys and for the price a great deal"

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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