2018 Nissan Maxima Review
2018 Nissan Maxima Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Well-made and attractive cabin rivals those of luxury-branded sedans
- Tech controls are easy to use
- Lots of features for the money
- Sharp handling for a midsize sedan
- Back seat 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
For 2018, the Maxima adds Android Auto to its lengthy list of standard features. An SR Midnight Edition (with blacked-out wheels and exterior styling elements, among other upgrades) will debut later in the model year. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking became standard partway through the 2017 model year and carry forward into 2018.
The Maxima isn't like most other sedans you might be considering. It's sportier than the typical family sedan but is equipped and priced more like a large sedan. It could even be an option for an entry-level luxury car. As such, the Maxima is largely a niche offering, but one with undeniable appeal.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$196/mo for Maxima 3.5 S
Maxima 3.5 S
Avg. Midsize Car
Nissan has long called the Maxima a "four-door sports car." Of course, the phrase is mostly marketing hype. But the Maxima handles pretty well when you're driving around turns and comes standard with a powerful V6 engine. There's even a sporty SR trim with unique suspension tuning and performance-oriented driver aids.
Given the Maxima's lengthy list of features, upscale interior appointments and all-around competence, it could be a solid alternative to luxury sedans such as the Acura TLX or Lincoln MKZ. The cabin is so decadently trimmed in the SR and Platinum levels, it outdoes even those cars at that price.
We will note that this year's crop of midsize sedans is pretty appealing. The redesigned Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, in particular, boast sportier styling and stronger performance than ever before. That might dilute the Maxima's appeal considering the Honda and Toyota are roomier and less expensive. But if you're looking for a sedan with equal parts sportiness and unpretentious luxury, the 2018 Nissan Maxima is certainly worth checking out.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Nissan Maxima as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.3 / 10
The Maxima isn't like most other sedans you might be considering. It's sportier than the typical family sedan but is equipped and priced more like a large sedan. As such, the 2018 Nissan Maxima is largely a niche offering, but one with undeniable appeal.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum (3.5L V6 | CVT automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Maxima has received some revisions, including newly standard driver aids and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Maxima.
|Overall||7.3 / 10|
The Maxima isn't quite the "four-door sports car" Nissan claims. But it is impressive for a midsize sedan, with above-average handling and strong acceleration from the 300-horsepower V6.
Zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds is quick but typical for a V6-powered midsize sedan. The CVT is seamlessly smooth during light acceleration and simulates gears when accelerating hard. Torque steer from the front-wheel-drive powertrain is noticeable.
The firm brake pedal is reassuring and easy to modulate. In Edmunds performance testing, the Maxima Platinum posted average stopping distances for a sedan of this size with all-season tires. We noted minimal brake fade after several stops.
The steering feels oddly heavy at parking speeds but is otherwise excellent. Turning is fluid and linear in motion with ample feedback unmarred by excessive effort. Two driving modes (Normal and Sport) govern effort — both are good in everyday use; it's a matter of personal preference.
The Maxima is an above-average performer for a front-wheel-drive sedan, but all-wheel drive could make this car the performance choice it's marketed to be. Dive into a tight turn and the Maxima feels nose-heavy. The stability control system also limits your fun.
The Maxima is an easy car to drive. Gear changes are simulated during acceleration and eliminate the typical CVT droning effect. Unlike most CVTs, the transmission doesn't constantly bounce between high and low revs. But it's not good at downhill engine braking.
The Maxima is a notably quiet car with a ride that nicely toes the line between comfort and feel for the road. It is certainly akin to entry-level luxury cars and a clear step up from midsize family sedans. Seat comfort and adjustment are typical for the price range.
These firm, sporty seats are more typical of a luxury sedan in this price range. Adjustable thigh support is nice; the optional ventilated seats blow cold air rather than circulate cabin air. The rear seats are nicely contoured.
The Platinum's ride is greatly superior to the SR trim's jittery nature. The standard suspension found on the Platinum and other trims is the way to go, demonstrating a controlled, well-damped ride that soaks up bumps without making the driver feel completely isolated.
Noise & vibration8.5
Sound-reducing glass and materials along with active noise cancellation result in a notably quiet cabin. The V6 is quiet, too.
Nissan's electronics interface is a home run. It's both easy to use and looks good — a rare feat. So many luxury car tech interfaces are overly complicated and confusing to use. Cargo space and storage are good for the segment. However, the Maxima is less generous with space for people.
Ease of use9.5
The infotainment system has big icons and sensible menus, a redundant knob controller and well-placed physical buttons. Overall, it's easy to use and a good example of how to do it right.
Getting in/getting out6.5
You sit low and the roof is low, which could make getting in and out difficult for some. This is especially true with the rear doors and the sloping roofline.
The Maxima might be priced like a large sedan, but it doesn't offer the space of one. The Toyota Avalon and Acura TLX are more spacious. The back seat has limited headroom for those of above-average height, and legroom depends on the front seat position.
The side mirrors are large. The rear-quarter view is hampered by thick roof pillars. Parking sensors, a surround-view camera and blind-spot monitoring are all standard on the Platinum.
The Maxima's cabin boasts solid construction and a nice mix of high-quality interior materials, the exception being the Platinum's unconvincing and oddly contoured simulated wood trim.
A deep covered bin below the dash keeps a smartphone and its charging cord out of the way. There's a useful center armrest bin and cupholders. The trunk has an adequate 14.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity and an opening wide enough for golf clubs.
Which Maxima does Edmunds recommend?
The base S model is generously equipped. But if you're considering the Maxima over its lesser Altima sibling, it's probably because you want something a little special. The midpack SL is value-rich, with leather upholstery, a premium audio system, noise reduction measures and several advanced driving aids. If it were our money, we'd get the SL.
2018 Nissan Maxima models
The 2018 Nissan Maxima sedan comes in five trim levels: the base S, midlevel SV, the slightly more expensive SL, sporty SR and the top-level Platinum.
Like all Maximas, the S is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (300 horsepower, 261 pound-feet of torque) that drives the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, foglights, remote engine start, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, adjustable driving modes, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), a 60/40-split rear seat, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player and satellite radio.
Standard safety systems include a rearview camera and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
The Maxima SV adds front and rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and an upgraded driver seat with extendable thigh support and two-way power lumbar adjustment. The SL doesn't cost much more, and its impressive list of extra features includes a dual-panel sunroof, active noise reduction, active engine sound enhancement, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The SR adds performance enhancements to the SL, with 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, column-mounted paddle shifters, Active Ride Control (uses the brakes to quell body motions over bumps), Active Trace Control (uses targeted braking to keep the vehicle on its intended path) and active engine braking that helps slow the car when heading aggressively into corners or approaching a stop. The panoramic sunroof is removed, but the SR does add a few luxury features, including LED headlights, ventilated front seats, and upgraded leather upholstery with quilted simulated suede seat inserts and special interior trim.
A rear spoiler and the Midnight Edition package (black-painted wheels and exterior styling elements, rear spoiler, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, driver-seat memory settings and a 360-degree parking camera) are optional for the SR.
The top-trim Platinum does away with some of the SR's add-ons, though it retains the LED headlights and ventilated front seats. It then adds automatic wipers, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, a 360-degree parking camera, a power-adjustable steering column, driver-seat memory settings, a six-way power passenger seat, upgraded leather upholstery and interior trim, a rear power sunshade and NissanConnect services (remote start, automatic collision notification, emergency calling and stolen vehicle location).
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Best sedan I've ever driven
Reese P, 01/23/2017
2017 Nissan Maxima Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Incredible car for the price. Quiet and super comfortable. CVT transmission took a bit to get used to but car is fun to drive! UPDATE after 7 months ownership: The Maxima is in the "full size/large car" category along with Toyota Avalons, Kia Credenzas, Chevy Impalas, etc. The outside dimensions are about equivalent to those other cars, but the interior is at most the size of a midsize … car. Having had an Avalon before my Maxima, it has been an adjustment to get used to the reduced cabin and trunk space. Fortunately, I knew when buying that I no longer needed such a big interior. In return for less space you get very thick doors which I believe is one reason the car rates so highly on safety. Such thick doors makes it a little hard to get into the vehicle. But once inside, the Maxima is beautiful, incredibly comfortable (except for people taller than about 5'11 in the back seats), super easy to use and understand. The interior (Platinum level) is nicer and better laid out than many cars I have been in costing tens of thousands of dollars more. I have never heard a better sound system in a car than the Bose sound system in my car. I am now used to the CVT; when "flooring it" the car simulates a regular transmission and with 300 hp has a few times scared me a bit with its pickup. I regularly get 33 mpg on the highway even at 75 mph. The Maxima Platinum is a luxury car with fun performance and very minor faults. By far the best sedan I have ever driven and an incredible car for the price I paid. UPDATE AFTER A YEAR OF OWNERSHIP: Still the best car I have ever owned. Heated steering wheel is an incredible luxury during winter and warms really fast. Entire car heats up very quickly.
4 out of 5 stars
A good car - has noises that won’t go away
Eric P., 01/15/2019
2018 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
This is a good car, but it has had 2 separate cabin noises that the dealer is having difficulty fixing. Both occur intermittently. One of them is originating in the trunk, behind the rear seat, the other may be the drivers side rear window or the area above the left rear wheel well. Frustrating for any new car, especially one that is not inexpensive.
5 out of 5 stars
Our second Maxima
Tim Judd, 07/11/2018
2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
We look be the new Maxima. We had a 2012 and absolutely loved it. Very stylish cars, sporty and reliable. Drives like a sports car - love the power of these cars. A great vehicle to own!
5 out of 5 stars
Broke all the rules with this one!
Jason R., 10/20/2017
2017 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SR 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
I swore I would Never buy a new car. I also swore to never spend $35k on any car. I broke both of these rules after my girlfriend brought home a 2016 SR as a loaner while her Rogue was in the shop. We both fell in love with the handling and style of this car and we both end up buying one. Hers is a blue pearl SV and mine is pearl white SR. The SR has a stiffer sport tuned suspension … which I love, but beware of this before buying as some may find it a bit too stiff. The car has great power and looks. After nearly a year of ownership, I still have to turn around and stare as I walk away from it after parking. I have had more compliments on this car than I ever have with any of my BMW's, Mercedes-Benz etc. I have had people try to take pictures of my car while driving down the highway next to me! Coming from a Lexus LS430, this was a bit different as it is more sport and less luxury but I love it nonetheless. I average 26-27 mpg every tank and the car has more features than you can shake a stick at. The other day it said one of my tires was low at 28psi (temperature change with fall setting in). The other 3 were at 29psi so I stopped to air them up. The car will actually honk at you when you reach the 33 psi level the tires are supposed to be set at while airing them up. I couldn't believe it! Also, if it is really hot outside and you remote start the car, the A/C will automatically run on high to cool the car down, even if you shut the car off the last time you drove it with the blower off. In the winter months if the temperature is below a certain degree and you remote start, the heat will come on and the heated steering wheel automatically activates. This car is SMART! So many features that once you have them, you will certainly not want to be without after being spoiled with them! The LED headlights are great also but only come standard on the SR and Platinum. I added a set of LED's to my girlfriends SV for $50 aftermarket which was not bad. After 7K miles with this car I have nothing bad to say about it. I normally go through 3-4 cars a year but this one has made it nearly a year and short of finding a killer deal on a Porsche Cayman, I foresee keeping this car a while. I'm sure I am missing more good to say about this car. If you research these cars you will find that the designers at Nissan sculpted this car after the design team spent a day with the US NAVY Blue Angels team and took styling cues from the jet fighters. The cockpit portrays this in every detail as well as the outside of the car. I came from high end German cars but I was blown away by a Nissan Maxima! Ha!
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Nissan Maxima, so we've included reviews for other years of the Maxima since its last redesign.
2018 Maxima Highlights
|Combined MPG||25 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$196/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Maxima models:
- Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
- Warns the driver if a front collision is imminent.
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Works with the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system. Automatically applies the brakes to lessen the impact of a front collision.
- Intelligent Around-View Monitor
- Provides a 360-degree, top-down view of the Maxima to help when parking.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood