2017 Nissan Maxima

Starting MSRP: $32,560 - $39,990

Estimated MPG: 21 city / 30 hwy

2017 Nissan Maxima Review

Whether you opt for the base model or the loaded Platinum trim, the 2017 Nissan Maxima offers excellent performance and a level of luxury rarely seen in a sedan from a non-premium brand. The fun-to-drive Maxima also provides a comfortable, technology-filled cabin and plenty of cargo space.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 08/12/2016

The 2017 Nissan Maxima is a midsize sedan that seats five. All 2017 Nissan Maxima models are powered by a V6 engine that sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Maxima walks the line between sports and luxury sedan, offering excellent power and handling in a spacious, nicely appointed five-passenger car.

Trims include the base S, SV, SL, SR and top-of-the-line Platinum. All models include premium features like alloy wheels, an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system and Apple CarPlay.

Exterior

Exterior
9

The wonderfully aggressive exterior styling of the 2017 Nissan Maxima was lifted directly from the concept vehicle that inspired it, the Nissan Sports Sedan Concept. The Maxima’s design includes a signature grille flanked by a pair of boomerang-shaped “4DSC”-embossed LED headlights, with "4DSC" referring to the Maxima’s long-time heritage of being Nissan’s four-door-sports-car. The floating roofline was inspired by the canopy of a fighter jet. Higher trim models are equipped with an attractive dual-panel panoramic sunroof.

All models are fitted with stylish alloy wheels. Most models receive 18-inch versions, and the SR trims wear larger 19-inch wheels.

The 2017 Maxima’s design is not for the weak of heart. The combination of rolling lines and sharp edges results in one of the most aggressively styled sedans on the road today. If you’re looking to make a strong visual statement with a highly practical vehicle, very few cars can beat the 2017 Maxima.

Interior

Interior
9

Opening the Maxima’s door and sitting behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel provides the instant gratification associated with owning and driving a refined luxury car. The spacious interior features Nissan’s unique power-adjustable Zero Gravity front seats with sport bolstering. The driver-centric cockpit was influenced by the Nissan GT-R, and features a floating console that puts primary controls easily within reach. Standard tech features add to the premium feel.

The 2017 Maxima’s interior is extremely quiet, even when equipped with the oversized panoramic sunroof. Even in raucous environments like bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Maxima shields occupants from noise to the extent that low-volume conversations can easily take place, even if the audio system is playing. Its calming environment and comfortable cloth or leather-appointed seats help the Maxima stand out in a crowded segment.

Higher trim levels feature premium Ascot leather seating with diamond-quilted Alcantara inserts, ambient interior lighting, aluminum sport pedals, custom trim work and much more.

Rear seating in the 2017 Maxima is spacious and comfortable. The seatback angle is excellent for longer trips and the seat padding provides a good balance of comfort and support. The fold-down center armrest sits at the perfect height, and the cup holders are placed correctly for ease of use. The sedan’s rear seats feature 60/40 fold-down seatbacks that add to the Maxima’s 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

Performance

Performance
8

The 2017 Nissan Maxima is powered by a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s matched to a CVT. The front-wheel drive sedan uses dynamic step shifting to simulate a traditional automatic transmission’s shift points. The engine and transmission work together to provide excellent acceleration and efficiency. The engine borrows a few engineering cues from the manufacturer’s magnificent GT-R and provides 261 pound-feet of torque.

The Maxima offers nice handling and feels sharp on the road. The performance-tuned independent suspension features designs often reserved for performance-car applications. Braking is excellent and the Maxima’s steering system facilitates precise control over the vehicle at all times.

The 2017 Maxima includes a drive-mode selector that includes Sport and Normal modes. Actuating the button adjusts transmission tuning, throttle response, steering feel and active sound enhancement tuning. The Sport mode works quite well in crowded city driving environments where precise movements are necessary, and it's also a fun tool to employ on winding stretches of open road.

Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 21/30 mpg city/highway. Our week of driving resulted in numbers consistent with these estimates.

Technology

Technology
9

The 2017 Maxima doesn’t require you to invest in a higher trim level to receive high-tech appointments like an infotainment system with navigation and an 8-inch touch screen. The system includes USB and Bluetooth connectivity as well as satellite radio. Plug in an iPhone and you are almost instantly connected to the Maxima’s standard Apple CarPlay system. The system allows seamless integration with many of Apple’s most popular applications including text messaging, maps, music and more.

All Maximas also include the NissanConnect applications that enhance usability and control of the vehicle. Higher trim levels include options like automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, a stolen vehicle locator and more.

Higher trims also include an 11-speaker Bose audio system that is tuned for the sedan’s almost 100-cubic-foot interior. The immersive sound is incredible, especially if you dial in the system to suit individual tastes. Like most systems, the audio sounds the best with high-quality source material like CDs and MP3 files, but even satellite radio shines through the speakers.

Safety

Safety
10

The 2017 Nissan Maxima was awarded a top five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The current-generation Maxima was also given a Top Safety Pick+ award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Maxima is equipped with a full battery of air bags. Other standard safety equipment includes a tire pressure monitoring system with “Easy-Fill” tire alert, as well as stability and traction control systems. All models also include a rearview camera.

Optional driver assistance features include forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, forward emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and Nissan’s Around View monitoring system. We found the around-view system particularly helpful in tight parking situations. Being able to get a bird’s-eye view of the environment around the car can be a game-changer.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
9

The base 2017 Nissan Maxima S is equipped with an excellent amount of standard features including Apple CarPlay, navigation, remote engine start and a rearview monitor for $33,395 (including an $835 destination charge).

Nissan keeps things simple by offering five different trim levels that are specifically optioned to meet different needs and desires. The base S covers those wanting excellent transportation that goes far beyond a no-frills model. The SV trim adds leather seats and a few other options for about $2,000 more. The SL packs on the luxury with a Bose premium audio system, dual panel panoramic sunroof and a strong amount of active safety technology for less than $38,000. With a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels, the SR model is designed for driving enthusiasts.

The top Platinum model, like our test vehicle, includes premium heated and ventilated Ascot leather-appointed seats, an around-view monitor with moving object detection, a panoramic sunroof and much more for $40,825 including destination.

While we can see value in each of the trim levels, our suggestion for most families will be to look at the SV trim, which offers leather seats and a few other extras for a surprisingly low price. Those looking for luxury on a budget will want to investigate the well-appointed Maxima SL. There isn't much that beats the 2017 Maxima SL for $37,040 plus destination.

Overall

Overall
9

Inspired by a jet fighter and modeled directly from a show-stopping concept car, the 2017 Nissan Maxima is a boldly styled midsize sedan that makes a statement everywhere it goes. While some may find the design too much, we can’t get enough of Nissan’s future-focused lines. Beautiful inside and out, the Maxima looks more expensive than the price tag reveals, making this Nissan an excellent choice for families, professionals and anyone looking to make a statement without getting into unsurmountable debt.

The Maxima Platinum we tested was efficient, powerful and offered plenty of passenger and cargo space. The sport-tuned suspension and precise steering make the Maxima a great vehicle for navigating city traffic, and long stretches of highway almost seem to pass effortlessly when you’re behind the wheel.

While the Maxima may not be the perfect vehicle for everyone, we can whole-heartedly commit that it was the perfect vehicle for this reviewer's family during his week with the vehicle.