2013 Nissan Maxima

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2013 Nissan Maxima Review

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the Maxima
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.

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.

2013 Nissan Maxima Details
2013 Nissan Maxima photo Interior

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.

2013 Nissan Maxima photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.5-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
261 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg

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