Looking for a car that's a step above the typical family sedan experience in sportiness and style? Then check out the 2017 Nissan Maxima. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
BRYN MACKINNON: I'm Bryn MacKinnon, and this is an Edmunds Expert Rundown of the 2017 Nissan Maxima. One thing we'll say for the latest Maxima is that there's nothing else quite like it on the road. The styling is guaranteed to stand out, especially in the large sedan segment, which isn't exactly known for adventurous design. On the road, the Maxima does its darndest to live up to Nissan's four door sports car label. The driving feel is certainly sportier than the norm, and the big v6 engine's got plenty in reserve. We just wish there was a little less torque steer, which is when the wheel tugs this way and that when you really slam on the gas. It's pronounced in the Maxima, but for some that's a fair trade off for all that power on tap. The back seat is a bit of a disappointment, as large sedans usually have copious room back there, and the Maxima just doesn't. But the real story is up front, where Nissan has created a sports car-like environment for the driver. The center console rises high, and the controls wrap around, making for a cockpit-like feel. There's a great place for your smartphone ahead of the shifter, and the zero gravity front seats are super comfortable. Really nicely done. The bottom line with the Maxima is that it's not for everyone. Many large sedan shoppers will gravitate toward traditional models, like the Buick Lacrosse and Toyota Avalon-- but if you're looking for some uniquely sporty character in this class, this Maxima could be the only test drive you'll need. For more Edmunds Expert Rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
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.
Edmunds is here to help find the perfect 2017 Nissan Maxima for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.