2020 Nissan Maxima review: Not your typical four-door

    The Maxima has aged properly. It’s nonetheless aggressive but good-looking.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Today’s household automobiles are typically fairly sedate. Few of them break new floor in the case of appears or efficiency, however Nissan needs you to think about its Maxima as one thing totally different, a big sedan with a great deal of soul. After testing a 2020 Platinum mannequin, for probably the most half, I agree with this framing… principally. 

    LikeDecent infotainment techSmooth, potent V6Brisk acceleration

    Don’t LikeLimited rear-seat headroomIffy leather-based qualityNo ProPilot Assist

    Sporty appears inside and outside When the current-generation mannequin launched 5 years in the past, the automaker touted it as a “four-door sports car,” a descriptor Nissan first used with the third-generation Maxima in 1989. Yes, this can be a bit hyperbolic, however no less than when parked subsequent to a Toyota Avalon or Chrysler 300 the Maxima appears extra attention-grabbing, with its aggressive grille, pumped-up fenders and quad exhaust shops, issues that indicate it is a bit rowdier than common.    The current-generation Maxima is not any spring rooster, even after final 12 months’s refresh. Still, its inside, particularly in Platinum trim with the Reserve bundle, has aged fairly properly. The total design is engaging, with easy-to-use secondary controls and a comparatively easy format. The heart stack is angled barely towards the driving force for a extra cockpitlike really feel.

    My top-shelf Platinum-trim tester’s inside trimmings are good, with loads of comfortable plastics on the door panels and dashboard, plus a sprinkle of distinction shade stitching to liven issues up. This automotive’s steering wheel feels good within the hand, being each chunky and properly sculpted, with a flat backside for an additional sprint of sport. Thoughtfully, the tiller’s Rakuda tan inserts match the leather-based used on the seats and doorways. Sort of an orangish-brown, this semianiline cow cover appears upscale, particularly with the diamond-stitch sample Nissan designers utilized to it. Unfortunately, this leather-based is not all that particular, feeling extra like a vinyl bathe curtain than any pure materials.  Rear-seat air vents hold passengers touring in financial system class completely satisfied; ditto for the heated outboard seats, that are included within the Reserve Package, a modest $1,140 additional. The Maxima’s again bench is supportive and cozy, providing a superb quantity of legroom, however it’s not significantly pleasant for taller of us. If I do not slouch, my noggin hits the headliner. 

    Tried-and-true tech  Making positive I by no means get misplaced, this Maxima includes a NissanJoin infotainment system with built-in navigation on an 8-inch show. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal throughout the mannequin vary. That multimedia array appears fairly previous, with some less-than-modern graphics, however it’s simple to make use of and surprisingly responsive, with no delays when typing out addresses or zooming in or out on the navigation map, which you are able to do with the touchscreen or utilizing the {hardware} knob on the middle console. It’s good that you’ve got a few methods to work together with the infotainment system. 

    Nissan Safety Shield 360 is normal throughout the Maxima lineup. It features a vary of superior driver aids like computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise management and traffic-sign recognition are normal on SV fashions and up, although the helpful however considerably gritty-looking 360-degree Around View Monitor is just included on SR and Platinum grades. Nissan’s wonderful ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise management with lane centering just isn’t supplied on the Maxima, so, unhappy trombone.  The driver aids this automotive does supply are OK. Blind-spot monitoring is at all times a superb factor to have, attentively reminding you of visitors in adjoining lanes. As for the adaptive cruise management, it is completely enough, adjusting car pace as required by surrounding visitors. Naturally, lane centering can be vastly appreciated.  The Maxima’s inside is fashionable and cozy, even when rear-seat headroom is a bit restricted.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    CVTs get a nasty rap  Most automotive lovers hate constantly variable transmissions, and it is simple to grasp why. All too typically, they’re teamed with droning, malnourished four-cylinder engines, a mixture that is about as nice as being locked in a room with an countless Dave Matthews Band playlist blaring. But they do not need to be torture, because the Maxima proves. When a potent and refined powerplant is factored into the driveline equation, abruptly a CVT’s unhealthy conduct turns into quite a bit much less objectionable.  With 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque on faucet, the Maxima’s 3.5-liter V6 supplies loads of efficiency, getting as much as freeway pace simply if not fairly immediately. Even when wound out, this engine is clean and relatively hushed, sounding prefer it’s working someplace off within the distance relatively than a couple of inches forward of your toes.  Powertrain refinement and respectable torque make the usual Xtronic CVT much more nice to reside with than you would possibly count on. But one thing referred to as D-Step shifting logic performs an vital function as properly. This function simulates gear modifications underneath reasonable to heavy acceleration, which helps cut back droning powertrain sounds. Beyond that, the Maxima can even acknowledge if it is going via a high-G nook and keep in a decrease transmission ratio that will help you energy out of the flip.  Naturally aspirated V6 engines are an endangered species lately.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    There are, nevertheless, a few downsides to the Maxima’s CVT. It will be shifted manually with the gear selector, however solely SR fashions include paddle shifters, which is a bit unusual. Also, when cruising at speeds round 40 mph, the drivetrain can really feel a bit gritty as a result of the transmission likes to hold the engine revs as little as bodily doable for improved gas financial system.   And that proper there may be why automakers go for CVTs. These “gearboxes” can considerably enhance a car’s effectivity, and the Maxima is not any exception. This automotive is rated at 20 miles per gallon metropolis and 30 mpg freeway. Combined, the EPA says it ought to return 24 mpg, although in typical driving I’m averaging round 29.7, a powerful determine.  Competent dynamics  There’s a syrupiness to the Maxima’s steering, which is of the electro-hydraulic selection, a sure viscosity that is a bit of onerous to explain. The really feel via its wheel is considered one of denseness: It’s unexpectedly heavy. While not overly exact, this sedan continues to be fairly agile, and it tracks as straight as a Japanese bullet prepare, besides in corners the place there generally is a tiny wisp of torque steer underneath heavy acceleration.   Ride high quality flirts with outright stiffness, however it’s nonetheless a step away from crossing that line. The Maxima feels properly managed and physique roll in corners is mainly nonexistent. As for this Nissan’s binders, they’ve a pleasant chew to them, and the pedal is kid’s play to modulate, being neither sink-to-the-floor squishy nor overly keen at preliminary utility.   The visually attention-grabbing styling continues to this Nissan’s rear.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Still a good-looking, sporty-ish four-door    The current-generation Nissan Maxima is nice sufficient to drive and it nonetheless appears nice 5 years after first occurring sale. It’s onerous to argue with what the automaker has delivered right here, CVT and all, although some drivers would possibly object to the worth. A base Maxima S stickers for about $35,375, together with $925 in vacation spot charges. That’s about 4 grand greater than an entry-level Chrysler 300, although it undercuts the Toyota Avalon by about $1,500. The top-shelf Platinum mannequin kicks off at round 42 grand, however with the Reserve bundle, a rear diffuser, underbody lighting and some different odds and ends my evaluate unit checks out for almost $46,000, which is kind of a bit of cash for a mass-market machine. Still, if you’d like a sporty four-door that is on the bigger aspect and options considerably aggressive styling, the Maxima suits the invoice.

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