There’s only one engine that can be had with the Maxima and that’s a 3.5-liter six-cylinder pumping out 300hp. You’ll either love the Maxima or loathe it. We certainly had mixed feelings about it. The Maxima isn’t a dull to drive car as it blends comfort and agility quite well for a large sedan, but what lets us down is how off-putting the steering feedback is. You’ll want to hammer through corners and the chassis is willing but the steering gives you very little feedback where it matters the most. It’s like the chassis and the steering are on two different channels. You never feel all that confident when you want to drive it spiritedly. The engine is quite lovely when revved hard though and while you can only get this car with a CVT (continuously variable gearbox) it doesn’t feel all that lethargic as some other CVTs we have driven. The only problem with it is that it feels like it robs you of those valuable revs and even when you drive it in manumatic mode it just doesn’t feel rewarding to drive. It’s like Nissan thought they turned up the volume on the sport and instead turned up the comfort and turned off the steering. Driving the Maxima around town is quite easy actually thanks to light steering and the smooth ride comfort is always welcome. The Maxima is light on its toes on the highway and when you aren’t driving like a hooligan it is a very tame sedan with more to like than you’d think.
The infotainment system feels pretty much straight forward in design. Everything is within reach of the driver’s hand and while we love the touch screen system, the different menus can get a little distracting. What we loathe the most is the fussy Bluetooth Connectivity. We often found ourselves constantly having to reconnect our mobile device and when we were using our GPS to find a certain location the system just booted us out completely. The front seats are comfortable though with plenty of support and those in the rear won’t feel too shortchanged on space but the slopping roofline does mean that taller passengers in the back won’t be too comfortable. The boot space is actually good too.
Our Maxima was the top of the range platinum trim which comes with premium leather seats, around view camera monitor, driver attention alert and climate controlled front seats. Also fitted to our Maxima was heated steering wheel, navigation system, memory setting for front seats and adaptive cruise control. Despite it having the deep discount, we personally wouldn’t bother with it. Our pick would go to either the S or SL trim. Both offer really good value and decent amount of kit without being overly expensive like our tester car and with those discounts those trims are even more appealing.
Nissan has claimed that the Maxima is the sportiest sedan in its segment and well we think that Nissan has made radical claims without the actual deliverance of the goods. The 3.5 engine is amazing and the chassis is willing, we just wish that the steering was more tuned to match the handling and the gearbox was more in tuned to the engine. It’s such a shame that the Maxima has these short comings because if those were retooled this would be one hell of a sedan to drive and own.
Likes: We love the way it looks and the interior is pretty well laid out. The 3.5 six-cylinder offers oodles of flexibility and it’s comfortable to drive when you’re not driving like a hooligan.
Dislikes: The CVT robs the Maxima of its sporting nature. The steering and chassis are on two different channels. Bluetooth connectivity was fussy and too fiddly to operate.