It’s been a couple of years since I last tested a Nissan. They are never at the top of my list of must-drive vehicles and I don’t know why, because every time I drive them I love them. This week I had the opportunity to spend some serious seat time behind the wheel of the Maxima Platinum. I was expecting a decent enough drive, comfort-wise – what I didn’t expect was how much I really loved this car!
What Is It?
- Full-size car – 4-door, 5 passenger
- Available in five trims: SL, SR, and Platinum (the U.S. gets two lower models – S, SV)
- The SL comes well-appointed and the Platinum comes fully loaded with no options. The SR is the sports version
- All models come standard with a 3.5L V6 engine with 300 hp and 261 lb.-ft. of torque
- All models come with Xtronic CVT Automatic Transmission – I didn’t know this was a CVT until I did research on the Maxima
- Front-Wheel Drive
- Sport mode – adjusts throttle response, the steering gets heavier and shifts are quicker
- Remote Engine Start System with Intelligent Climate Control – use your smartphone to heat up or cool down the interior
- I’m not a big fan of Nissan’s designs, but I really like the look of the Maxima
- Interior design is terrific
What’s It Like Inside?
- Centre dash is attractive and everything you need to operate is quickly found
- The material used on the top of the dash, doors and centre armrest was first class – it looked like leather (obviously it isn’t) – complete with stitching. It’s far superior to vehicles I’ve driven lately that were in the $70k range where everything was cheap plastic. (Talkin’ to you Ford!)
- 8-inch multi-touch screen and the 7-inch Advanced Drive Assist Display
- Power adjustable tilt/telescopic steering – this is just one of those little things that makes a HUGE difference with comfort
- Navigation System – the voice-activated programming sucks. It doesn’t even recognize an address that comes up on its own screen when you press the button to go there!!! Let’s hope this was just a glitch.
- Dual panel power panoramic moonroof – with one-touch open/close
- Bose® premium audio with 11speakers – the sound is incredible… dialed it up to ¾ and my ears started to bleed!
- Heated rear seats
- Blind Spot Warning (BSW) – I love the placement of the light in the door as opposed to on the outside mirrors. You can see it easily in your peripheral vision (I imagine this will help keep repair costs down when it comes to replacing side mirrors in the case of an accident)
- Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning – someone must have switched this off, I didn’t know this was on the car
- Lane Departure Warning – whenever I strayed too far it felt more like the car was braking, in addition to gently warning me through the steering wheel vibration
- Traffic Sign Recognition – I didn’t see this in action, but the instrument cluster told me the speed limit was 80 on highway 401, where it’s actually 100 kph
- Premium Ascot Leather-appointed seats – heated and cooled front seats – bonus, you don’t have to switch them on after shutting the car off and returning
- The front seats are VERY comfortable for long-distance driving (2+ hours without a break)
- Zero Gravity front seats, designed to help provide a natural driving posture and help take pressure off your lower back would explain the comfort – however, the lumbar adjustment was too high and ended up in the middle of my back – not my lower back
- Plenty of legroom for rear passengers
- 2-Person Driver’s Seat & Mirror Memory
- Trunk space is huge – 405 L / 14.3 cu.ft
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
- It’s pretty quick, but I didn’t realize it had 300 horsepower – even in Sport Mode
- Power comes on very fast and evenly – not head-snapping off the line
- In Sport mode it’s more responsive, but not a huge difference off the line
- Very quiet and hushed interior – definitely one of the nicest places to be on a long drive
- Steering input is very good – the weight adjusts perfectly as you need it
- It feels very planted – I knew nothing about the Maxima before I drove it and was very impressed after just a few minutes behind the wheel
Horsepower: 300 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 261 @ 4,400 rpm
Top Speed: 212 km/h / 132 mph
0-60 mph (sec): 5.8
What Does It Cost? For up-to-date pricing and options visit: www.nissan.ca or www.nissan.com
The Nissan Maxima (SL) base price starts at $41,140
Test Vehicle: Platinum – Base Price / As Tested: $45,900
- Rated at (L/100 km): City -11.6 / Highway – 7.9
- I averaged 7.1 – 7.3 L/100 km on the highway at a constant 115 km/hr
- Being aggressive with the gas pedal at stop lights/signs, didn’t make much of a difference – 7.5 L/100 km
- With a full tank you can get 848 kilometres of range, quite impressive
- Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
- Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
- Roadside Assistance: 3 years
Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Stinger, Lincoln MKZ
- The Good: Seat comfort – not just the seats, but the location of the buttons and switches
- The Bad: Premium fuel. I resent paying a penny more than I have to for fuel, and at 20-25¢ per litre more than regular – that’s a LOT of money
- The Ugly: Navigation. It’s 2020, there has been plenty of time to get this right – I’m not just talking Nissan, Hyundai’s is awful as well
What’s The Verdict?
I spent more seat time in one day than I usually do in a week with the Maxima. I covered 700+ kilometres (usually a weekly test is around 500 kms). The Maxima is a superior car not just for long trips on the freeway, but it’s fun and comfortable on the back roads too. Although the front passenger seat doesn’t have multi way power adjustments, my co-pilot was very comfortable. The price is VERY competitive considering it comes loaded and the dual moonroof is a nice bonus – it makes the cabin bright and open. Would I recommend the Maxima? Absolutely!
Copyright © 2020 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Nissan (rear shot)