2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Maxima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 265 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Nissan Maxima

  • Although the 2006 Nissan Maxima still offers a likable combination of performance, luxury and interior room, there are now many good sedans in this price range.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong acceleration from sweet V6, roomy interior, lots of upscale options, available with a manual transmission, balanced ride and handling.

  • Cons

    Lousy center stack ergonomics, reflexes aren't as sharp as some competitors', some interior materials seem low-grade.

  • What's New for 2006

    Steering wheel audio controls are now illuminated, satellite radio is available and the navigation interface has been improved for 2006. New options include a Bluetooth hands-free system and outside mirror tilt-down in reverse.

Full 2006 Nissan Maxima Review

What's New for 2006

Steering wheel audio controls are now illuminated, satellite radio is available and the navigation interface has been improved for 2006. New options include a Bluetooth hands-free system and outside mirror tilt-down in reverse.


The Maxima is Nissan's premier sedan, and only the Z seems to have more instant name recognition in the Nissan fleet. The Maxima name goes all the way back to 1982, but really the Datsun 810 which preceded it was the genesis for what has become one of the best sporty sedans on the market. The Nissan Maxima has long boasted one of the best V6s in the industry, and the 2006 models certainly continue that tradition.

With the introduction of the 2002 Nissan Altima, many were predicting the death of the Maxima. It never made sense that Nissan would kill a car with such name recognition, but at the same time, the Maxima seemed obsolete, overpriced and underwhelming when compared to the quick and spacious Altima. For the 2004 model year, a redesigned Maxima debuted, sharing a platform with the Altima. This sort of begs another question -- isn't the Nissan Maxima now little more than a fully loaded Altima? In short, the answer is no.

Nissan has made the Maxima distinct enough in attitude and function that no one will confuse it for nothing more than an overpriced Altima. The Maxima lineup has just two trim levels: 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE. The SE is the sporty model with a firmer suspension and bigger 18-inch wheels, while the more luxury-oriented SL has 17-inch wheels and a slightly softer suspension. The SE is available with an optional six-speed manual transmission, while a five-speed automatic with shift-it-yourself mode is standard on both trims. In leather-lined SL trim, the Maxima is essentially a near luxury car that bridges the gap between the Nissan and Infiniti model lines. A luxurious "elite" package transforms the three-person rear-seating area into an even more comfortable two-person setup.

With its spacious interior, superb V6, balanced ride and handling and wide array of features and options, the 2006 Nissan Maxima offers solid value for its $30,000 price tag. However, there are plenty of good sedans in this price range, not the least of which is the Passat, which now has a big V6 of its own and a luxurious interior that makes the Maxima's cockpit seem a little cheap. This is not to say that a Maxima wouldn't still be a satisfying choice, but we would certainly encourage buyers to test-drive its competitors before making a decision.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The midsize Nissan Maxima is offered in 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL trim. Designed to be the sportier of the two, the SE has a slightly stiffer suspension and 18-inch wheels on the outside and a metallic-trimmed interior on the inside. It's loaded with standard features that include an eight-speaker CD stereo, one-touch up-down front windows and keyless entry. Along with its softer tuning, the more luxurious SL has 17-inch wheels, wood interior trim, heated leather seats, a 320-watt Bose audio system and HID headlights. The optional Elite Package affixes even more luxury to the Maxima by changing the rear-seating area into a more comfortable two-passenger setup. This package adds a rear center console that features controls for the seat heaters as well as a switch to operate the power rear sunshade. Additional options on both models include a DVD-based navigation system and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-drive Nissan Maxima comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated for 265 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5 SE is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic; the SL comes only with the automatic.


Every Maxima comes with four-wheel antilock disc brakes with BrakeAssist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are also standard, as are foglights and cornering lights. Maximas with an automatic transmission can be equipped with an optional stability and traction control system. A torque-sensitive limited-slip differential is optional when you select the six-speed manual. In NHTSA tests, the Nissan Maxima earned five stars (out of a possible five) for driver protection in frontal impacts. Front-passenger protection is rated at four stars in frontal impacts, as is front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. The IIHS named the Maxima a "Best Pick" after conducting its frontal offset crash, however the sedan earned only a "Marginal" rating (second lowest) in IIHS side-impact testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

It may be a midsize sedan, but the Maxima's interior feels downright cavernous front and rear. The front seats are wide and accommodating, though finding an optimal driving position can be difficult. The dashboard features a sleek and modern design, ergonomics are spotty as most of the center stack buttons are the same size and shape, while the orange-lit central display offers minimal contrast. Trunk space measures 15.5 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

With the sweet 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, acceleration is strong at any speed, regardless of transmission choice. Although its suspension provides a smooth, comfortable ride, the 2006 Nissan Maxima lacks a true performance feel expected of a self-proclaimed sport sedan. The steering is communicative and well weighted, but competing sedans like the TSX, Mazdaspeed 6 and Passat provide a better feel for the road. The brakes, at least, are strong and easy to modulate.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

This is any easy fix

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Guys this problem is easy to fix. I have a 2006 maxima and had the same problems with the tranny as everyone else here described. All you have to do is change your 3 linear solenoids in your valve body to so new after market ones made by a company called Rostra. it cost $240.00 for the parts and roughly 300 for labor. My are runs perfectly, just like new and that's all I did. You will be very satisfied with the results. Best,

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

Inherent transmission problem with '06

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

As others have stated - there is an inherent transmission problem with the '06 Maxima and other years as well. At 62k miles my transmission started to slip and the car jerked when shifting. I brought my car to a local transmission shop and they told me this is a common problem with Nissan vehicles. On their suggestion, I opened a case with Nissan customer affairs. They instructed me to bring it to the dealership for inspection and guess what? My car needs a new valve body and transmission for an estimated cost of $6,000 - a gross over estimate! Nissan contacted me to say they would offer no assistance. Everyone with a similar problem must join the class action suit underway!

2006 nissa maxima-disappointment, costly

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

So, like everyone else that seems to be writing reviews, my 2006 Maxima had transmission issues. I'll start at the beginning (which wasn't long ago). I bought the car for $12,000 from a used car dealership less than six months ago with 117,000 miles. I loved the car. It was one of the nicest cars I ever bought. I also bought a 2002 Altima brand new (loved it). Two weeks ago the transmission started slipping between 2 and 3rd gear and it would downshift when I let up on the gas. Also, the Service Engine Soon light came on. Took it in and low and behold, Transmission was all but gone and the catalytic converter was needing replaced. Out of luck the dealer told me. Traded for a 2010 Chev Impa

50 of 67 people found this review helpful

2006 nissan maxima tranny problem

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my 2006 Maxima with 58K miles on it. Like many others, I started noticing gear shifting (auto trans) at about 98K miles, so I took it to the dealership that honored the warranty before it expired. They recommended I try a transmission flush, before the warranty company comes back and says I neglected to service my vehicle and refuses to pay for the transmission replacement. Which I did and it DID NOT fix the issues I was having (high RPM rev at random speeds, car slamming into gear, jarring forward out of 1st & reverse). Months passed and my car was in and out of the dealership shop trying one thing or another to resolve the problem. Eventually my warranty expired and surprise….I was on my own with repair cost! After several near death experiences due to the jarring and loss of acceleration at high rates of speed….I called a transmission shop that was recommended to me. Within 2 minutes of explaining the issues, he said “it’s not your transmission….it’s the Valve Body”. He explained to me that the transmissions are pretty solid (used in several models) and that the valve body is the “electronic brain” of the transmission. Even if you replace the transmission (not rebuild it), it will mostly continue to do the same things, since you never fixed the “electronic brain”. So speaking from experience in dealing with the same problems with my 2006 Maxima that many, many others have and are dealing with…DO NOT replace or rebuild your transmission and waste $5000 before you try the least expensive and most likely the cause of the issues (VALVE BODY), for $1500.00!! 


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

A week after buying this car in July '12, I took it back, since it had been driving badly. After about 15 minutes of driving, the engine would rev to over 4k RPM's and then jerk hard,even slamming me back into my seat. When it did it for my husband, he insisted there was definitely a problem with the tranny. Not slipping, but rather shifting hard. My dealer waited for Nissan to respond, and of course, Nissan refused to participate. So when my dealer offered to put in a re-built tranny, it also turned out to be bad. Now waiting on Nissan rep to come investigate. Disgusted that Nissan makes a car and only stands behind it for a few years. I now wish they would stand in front of it!

Don't buy

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Do not buy this car unless you have thousands of dollars for a transmission! It drives fine, until the car really warms up, then of to jerking it goes. The longer you drive the worse it gets. Never drive this car in stop-n-go traffic, you are guaranteed an accident. I know it's stylish and sexy but please stay away.

Talk About The 2006 Maxima

2006 Nissan Maxima Discussions See all Started By

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Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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