Eight generations in, Nissan’s Maxima remains the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan. Despite the fact that said same sedan market can’t stop looking in its rearview mirror at all the SUV’s overtaking it, Nissan doesn’t plan to eliminate the 4-door family car anytime soon.

New for 2018, the Maxima shows off more of a refresh than an overhaul. To us the most significant of those upgrades isn’t on the outside but comes in the infotainment system. Android Auto now joins Apple CarPlay as standard fare. It’s a good thing, too considering a driver’s desire to connect their Smartphone isn’t going anywhere.

Other than a new color, Carnelian Red, and a black accent added to the grille the exterior remains unchanged. It still has the floating roof appearance, which is far less dramatic here than on the Murano and just enough to look aerodynamic and sporty.

Five trim levels

The Maxima is a handsome sedan that comes in five trim levels from the base S trim starting at $33,270 and climbing to the Platinum outfit that will cost buyers a fat $40,940 not including the $885 destination charge.

With the powertrain unchanged, the DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine gets the Maxima moving down the road. That’s 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, which make easy work of accelerative duties. The independent subframe mounted strut/coil suspension and independent multi-link double wishbone rear suspension offers a comfortable ride that still offers some performance driving feel but isn’t too firm or aggressive. It handles corners assertively and injects enough fun into the drive that burying the throttle after dropping off the kids at school will induce a smile.

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Safety features abound. Available options include intelligent forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, intelligent cruise control and blind spot warning. The SV trim level and above comes equipped with a front and rear sonar system.

Nissan’s 2018 Maxima isn’t reinventing the genre or even reinventing itself, but this handsome, capable sedan can haul a family every bit as well as an SUV while giving drivers who are still interested in performance a bit of fun as they get everyone on their way. 

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