By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
As Nissan's flagship sedan, the 2014 Maxima has long held a special position in the fleet. Although not quite Infiniti-like in its luxury offerings, the Maxima is a cut above the bread-and-butter sedans from Honda and Toyota. Many owners consider the Maxima to be a performance sedan on par with Audi and BMW sedans, but for far less money. A powerful V6 engine, impressive cornering and braking ability, and a feature-laden interior place the Maxima in the same league as the Chrysler 300, Volkswagen CC and Hyundai Azera. However, the Maxima's biggest competition may come from inside Nissan itself. Less expensive than the Maxima, the new Altima offers more interior room, better fuel economy and nearly the same level of performance.
If you need a traditional-sized 4-door sedan but you don't want to drive the same car as 400,000 of your fellow Americans, check out the 2014 Nissan Maxima. It offers power, performance and luxury at price starting just over $30,000.
If you're a true driving enthusiast, the Maxima's front-wheel drive layout and CVT automatic transmission probably won't sway you. Those looking for similar performance and styling can save thousands by opting for the Nissan Altima.
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For 2014, the Nissan Maxima SV gains a rearview monitor, a USB port and a 7-inch color display. A new S Value Package adds smoked-lens HID headlights, 18-inch Dark Hyper Silver aluminum-alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and fog lights.
Driving Impressions The Maxima has always been touted as the "4-door sports car," and for all intents and purposes the 2014 Nissan Maxima delivers on this promise. The Maxima's 290-horsepower V6 engine...... provides an abundance of power and a lovely low growl that brings a smile to our face every time we hear it. Nissan has done a masterful job with the Maxima's suspension, tuning it to be responsive in tight turns, yet still compliant over surface streets and highway pavement. If there is one area of contention it can be found nestled between the Maxima's engine and front wheels. Although Nissan's CVT automatic is arguably one of the best CVTs in the industry, 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.
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 2014 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.
From the premium leather seats that are standard on SV versions, to its thick steering wheel, the 2014 Nissan Maxima's interior seems to scream, "Let's go driving!" Standard on the higher-trim SV model is a sleek infotainment system with a 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 2014 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 2014 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 2014 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, rearview monitor, USB port, 7-inch color display and a Homelink remote transceiver. Both trims come standard with 18-inch wheels.
Many options in the 2014 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 2014 Maxima.
The standard engine in the 2014 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
The 2014 Nissan Maxima S has a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $32,000. Load up a top-level Maxima SV and you're looking at around $40,000. At its base price, the Maxima costs more than the Dodge Charger, Kia Optima SX, and Buick Regal Turbo. It is about the same as a Hyundai Azera and Chrysler 300 and less than base Ford Taurus SHO and V6-equipped VW CC. The 2014 Maxima is priced higher than a V6-equipped 2014 Altima 3.5 S, which starts just over $27,000. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2014 Nissan Maxima. We expect the Maxima's resale value to be marginal at best.