2017 Nissan Maxima

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2017 Nissan Maxima

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The 2017 Nissan Maxima is enigmatic. While its modestly sized interior places it firmly in the midsize sedan class, it comes at a price on par with larger, full-sized sedans. The Maxima has humble badging but then is unexpectedly refined, impressing with its stylish interior that feels quality-made to the touch, the type we'd expect from an entry-level luxury model. Its power performance runs right with the pack for its midsize class but then nimble handling and a polished driving feel point again to entry-luxury rivals. These difficult to classify attributes leave us feeling a bit quizzical. Regardless, the Maxima is exciting and stylish and etches out a unique niche for itself that just may be attractive to the buyer who values driver experience over brand cachet.

Fully redesigned one model year prior, the 2017 Maxima returns largely unchanged. It does get a technology upgrade in the form of Apple CarPlay which joins the Maxima's already easy-to-use tech controls. Its 8.0-inch touchscreen features the NissanConnect infotainment system. The Maxima is Nissan's first model to offer CarPlay smartphone integration, which is newly standard equipment on Nissan's flagship sedan. Hold tight Android fans; Nissan has yet to integrate Android Auto functionality.

Drivers can rest assured that underneath its desirable styling the Maxima offers stellar safety features. It earned an overall five-out-of-five stars in government crash tests in both total front-impact and total side-impact tests. There are, however, a few areas where we think the Nissan Maxima falls short. While we brag that it has better handling than we'd expect from a midsize sedan, there's no all-wheel-drive option like that offered on many other comparatively priced models. Additionally, the lack of space in the back seat and trunk leave us wanting more room, especially at the Maxima's price point.

Fuel economy on the Maxima is an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway).

The midsize Maxima seats five passengers and is offered in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, a sporty SR and a plushly optioned Platinum. An impressive electronics suite comes standard on the base level S and up. SV and SL models add a plethora of cabin-comfort features while the SL and higher boast safety technology for the concerned driver. The SR appeals to performance lovers with its paddle shifters and sport-tuned suspension (though overly firm in our evaluation). The Platinum trim offers a finely honed mix of additional luxury and safety upgrades.

It may have an odd assortment of characteristics but the 2017 Maxima is reasonably affordable and polished beyond the average family sedan. If you're in the market for a midsize sedan, the Maxima is one of the most interesting, defies easy classification and is worth consideration.

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