By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
The 2013 Maxima is Nissan's flagship sedan, and one with roots that date to when these vehicles were still known as Datsuns. The Maxima is a premium car that emphasizes sportiness over sheer comfort. A strong V6 engine and Z-car-like performance help it to compete well with rivals such as the Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus SHO and Volkswagen CC, which also reside in the mid-$30,000 and up range. But for 2013, the Maxima's biggest competitor may just be its younger sibling, the V6 version of the Altima. That mid-size sedan has fresher styling, almost as much power, better fuel economy, and roomier accommodations at a lower price than the Nissan Maxima.
If you want a sedan that has luxury style and the heart of a sports coupe, the 2013 Nissan Maxima sedan may just be your ticket. The Maxima's mid-$30,000 starting point and well-regarded V6 engine are also high points.
If you want your sport sedan to have rear-drive or all-wheel drive and/or a manual transmission, you're out of luck. The Nissan Maxima is front-wheel drive and its sole transmission is an automatic. You might find a better partner in the Ford Taurus SHO, Chrysler 300, or Buick Regal Turbo.
The SV Value Package and Bose Audio Package bundle features, and the Sport Package adds components such as 7-inch monitor and climate-controlled driver's seat. Pearl White joins the exterior color choices.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Maxima aims to be a "4-door sports car," and it mostly delivers on that goal except in one big instance – its transmission of choice. The Maxima's 290-horsepower...V6 offers robust power and emits a sweet, low growl. The sedan's suspension, meanwhile, easily tackles corners yet also provides a comfortable ride on the open highway. Our biggest gripe with the Maxima is its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Although Nissan's CVT is well-respected, it just doesn't work for us in this car. Even with the optional paddle shifters, we yearned for the feel of a manual like the one used in the 370Z. The Maxima doesn't feel as nimble as a Volkswagen CC or BMW 3 Series, but does a good job of combining looks, power, and practicality.
HEATED STEERING WHEEL
If you've ever suffered shivering fingers after seeking refuge from the cold, there's nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a warm steering wheel. The 2013 Maxima offers this feature among its package options along with the also-appreciated heated front seats.
The Maxima's standard 3.5-liter V6 is strong and smooth. In this flagship vehicle, it has been tweaked to be the most potent of any Nissan sedan: 290 horsepower.
Nissan says it aimed to make the Maxima's cabin feel like an airplane's cockpit. We think Nissan's team achieved that goal, and then some. From the premium leather seats that are standard on SV versions, to its thick steering wheel, the sedan's interior seems to scream, "Let's go driving!" Also available on the higher-trim SV model is a sleek infotainment system with 7-inch color screen and visually appealing buttons and dials that are just as at home in vehicles from Nissan's Infiniti luxury division. For passengers in back, there is adequate but not great headroom and legroom, and the 2013 Maxima's hollowed-out rear seatbacks don't offer the kind of firm lumbar support found in the front seats. The rear seats fold for expanded cargo room.Exterior
Defining the Maxima's styling as "liquid motion," Nissan incorporates coupe-like design cues into a mid-size sedan body. Look closely and you can see traces of the Nissan 370Z sports coupe in the 2013 Maxima, especially in the headlights and taillights. That liquid mantra carries onto the sleek hood and bulging front fenders, and carries aft where the sloping roof meets a sculpted rear end. Seen from the side, the Maxima appears in motion even when still thanks to an athletic stance. Twin tailpipes further send the message of this car's potency.
The 2013 Nissan Maxima is available in two trims, S and SV, with the SV also available with Sport and Premium packages. A base Maxima S comes with a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming inside mirror, pushbutton ignition, an 8-way power driver's seat, cloth interior, and an 8-speaker audio system with AM/FM/in-dash 6-CD changer and auxiliary input. SV models add leather seats, fog lights, and a Homelink remote transceiver. Both trims come standard with 18-inch wheels.
Many options in the 2013 Nissan Maxima are bundled in packages. They include a Bose premium sound system, navigation system, wood trim, heated and ventilated driver's seat, a rear-window sunshade, 19-inch wheels, and a dual-panel moonroof. For those seeking the best cornering performance, the Sport package offers a specially tuned suspension and trunk chassis reinforcement. An external ground lighting kit can literally make your Maxima glow. Unlike the less-costly Nissan Altima, safety technologies such as blind-spot monitor and lane-departure warning are not available in the 2013 Maxima.
The standard engine in the 2013 Nissan Maxima is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes an impressive 290 horsepower, more than enough power to make this front-wheel-drive sedan scoot. Its sole transmission is a continuously variable automatic. The recommended fuel for the Nissan Maxima is premium unleaded.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
261 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg
By Tristram on Friday, March 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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
"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."
By JEK on Monday, March 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, comfortable, and good value."
Cons: "Torque steer, looks too much like the Altima."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Love the smooth powerful engine, comfortable seating, responsive handling. Car interior has higher end finishes and great leather. Only complaint is FWD torque steer at full acceleration. Will seriously consider buying another one."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By redd on Thursday, March 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "does not hold value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Not the car to get if u plan on trading in. Within 1 year of owning the vehichle the trade in value had dropped to over $10,000. Better off getting a Honda which is a little cheaper anyway."
By Chris on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of fun to drive, especially on curvy roads."
Cons: "CVT transmission leaves a little to be desired."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This Nissan Maxima is a blast to drive. My only complaint is with the CVT transmission. Once you're moving and want to accelerate, the CVT is great, but off the line it feels like the car bogs down and doesn't want to go. Keeping in mind this is a car that goes 0-60 in under 6 secs, it isn't exactly slow, but the "fun quotient" is lower due to the transmission. Also, the fact that NISMO doesn't offer any performance upgrades for the car is strange. You have to go outside of Nissan to find performance upgrades for their premier sedan??"
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By rics on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 340,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, ride"
Cons: "tires in wet weather"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"bought the SE model new in 1998 and still driving it , no major repairs til 200,000 miles , hard to find another car with that record. will most likely buy another one when that time comes. Fun to drive both in town and highway even at this age still gets 21/22 mpg in town."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By MegC on Thursday, December 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, style, blast to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Before my Maxima I bought an Altima, and I absolutely loved my Altima. I knew when I went back to look for another car I wanted something from the Nissan family. I test drove a Maxima and it was over! It is so much fun to drive, and a great family car for my family of four. We take my car on long trips and my husband often drives it to work instead of his truck because of the great gas mileage that it gets."
15 people out of 24 found this review helpful