2017 Nissan Maxima Review
Pros & Cons
- Well-made and attractive cabin rivals those of luxury-branded sedans
- Easy-to-use tech controls
- Abundant features for the money
- Sharp driving dynamics for a midsize sedan
- Backseat and trunk aren't very spacious
- High price given the car's size and Nissan badge
- All-wheel drive is not available
- SR trim level's firm ride
Edmunds' Expert Review
Nissan has long suggested that the Maxima is a "four-door sports car." In our experience, the 2017 Maxima does feel rather sporty, with nicely controlled body motions and commendable grip around turns that equate to dynamic talents greater than the typical mid- or full-size sedan. However, the steering is oddly slow in parking lots and gets light as speeds rise (the opposite is true with most modern cars), and quick left-right transitions can flummox it. And although the sportier SR improves handling further, its firmer suspension essentially ruins what is a comfortable and controlled ride in all other trims. As a result, we would avoid the Maxima SR.
Hit the gas and the Maxima accelerates quickly, though it isn't really any quicker than other midsize sedans with upgrade engines.
The 3.5-liter V6 provides ready and willing power across the rev range, and it works well with the CVT, although torque steer (the feeling of the car pulling left or right as you accelerate) is noticeable during hard acceleration. As with other CVTs, the Maxima's transmission has no fixed gear ratios. However, Nissan has added seven simulated gear ratios that are used in certain instances to provide the feeling of a regular automatic transmission, minimizing the prolonged high-rpm droning that has given CVTs a bad reputation. We generally like the result, as the CVT does a pretty fair impression of a conventional automatic without giving up its edge in fuel economy.
The 2017 Maxima may not have the brand name of a luxury car, but it has the interior of one. Passengers are surrounded by quality materials, including soft-touch surfaces on most of the major touch points. Nissan's Zero Gravity seats are present as well. They're supportive, though we haven't found these to be as superbly comfortable as the ones in the Nissan Altima. One particularly thoughtful feature is the bin mounted forward of the shifter that contains two USB ports, space for all but the biggest phones on the market and a slot to mount a phone vertically so you can see messages as they pop up.
The Maxima's cabin is stylish, well made and comes with an easy-to-use touchscreen tech interface.
However, for 2017, Apple users probably won't need to. With the addition of standard Apple CarPlay, you can now control a basic selection of apps (including text messaging) through voice controls and the terrific, easy-to-use Nissan touchscreen that's bolstered by a handy, redundant knob controller similar to those found in many luxury-branded cars. Android Auto is unavailable, though.
In terms of space, front and rear legroom is acceptable, but the Maxima can't match the rear seat space of less expensive midsize sedans like the Ford Fusion or Honda Accord, let alone similarly priced sedans like the Toyota Avalon. Similarly, the Maxima's 14.3-cubic-foot trunk is smaller than those competitors as well. It is similar to many entry-level luxury sedans, however.