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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 284 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

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

So far... This has been my favorite automobile...

By on Monday, June 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,500

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great quality, near perfect."

Cons: "A little pricey (when purchased new...)"

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

"The Nissan Maxima has been on my radar for many years now, and after having over 15 cars in my life so far, it has by far been my favorite overall. Quality is very good compared to other makers (second only to BMW in my experience), fun to drive, comfortable for a family of 4, great options/accessories, etc... If you are in the market for a 4 door that still gives you a sports car feel, (without breaking the bank) I don't think you can do much better than the newest model Maxima."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Love this car!!

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Performance, Drive and Comfort!!"

Cons: "Premium gas"

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

"Only looking for different car because I am soon retiring and want unleaded fuel and more room for luggage for road trips. Like to sit up higher as well! I love NISSANS! They stand behind their product, and require minimal maintenance!"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Decent car

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: trade

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "MPGs with fast v6, interior space for four"

Cons: "Harsh ride, if you beat this car it wont last"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Very good handling for a front drive car. Great mpg 24-28 in mixed driving 29-30 on highway for a fast v6. Ride is harsh. A/C seems to always want to come on annoying and will drag down mpgs. Bad in snow and rain. No problems with CVT, it works as designed. Breaks are ok dont seem to last after servicing. Needed a wheel bearing replaced earlier than it should have been but no other mechanical issues. Rear suspension seems jumpy over bumps."

So Much fun to drive. Corners like a champ

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Great acceleration from 20-80 in a blink. Mostly all Pros than Cons. I just wish the interior felt more like a cockpit or at least wrapped around me, so I felt snug as a bug. That's just my opinion, I like that cockpit feeling."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

I love this car.

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Driving this car compares to my 1969 GTO that I loved. It holds the road better and the gas mileage is much better, 25 to 29 on highway, 24 overall city and highway. THe acceleration feels almost as good but is actually better. THe motor lowering and positioning on the 2009 compared to the 2007 Maxima I had has removed the torque steer that the older car had. The 4 door sports car naming is very close to being an actual 4 door sport car!"

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Underrated vehicle in its class

By on Friday, March 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value, stands out in its class"

Cons: "CVT a bit odd, gas mileage a little low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

2014 Maxima SV

"A well put together car, but the CVT takes a little getting used to. It doesn't 'shift' like a normal transmission, so if you're thinking that this car is a racer, you might look elsewhere. Also, the car feels very heavy which is great if you're just cruising, but tough to handle if you're on a windy back road trying to have some fun. Interior is very cozy and the design in and out is very sporty. Overall, a very good car, but I will be looking again soon."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

2014 Maxima SV

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