2020 Nissan Maxima evaluation: Not your typical four-door

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The Maxima has aged nicely. It is nonetheless aggressive but good-looking.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

At the moment’s household automobiles are usually fairly sedate. Few of them break new floor in the case of seems to be or efficiency, however Nissan needs you to consider its Maxima as one thing totally different, a big sedan with a great deal of soul. After testing a 2020 Platinum mannequin, for essentially the most half, I agree with this framing… principally. 


  • Respectable infotainment tech
  • Easy, potent V6
  • Brisk acceleration

Do not Like

  • Restricted rear-seat headroom
  • Iffy leather-based high quality
  • No ProPilot Help

Sporty seems to be in and out

When the current-generation mannequin launched 5 years in the past, the automaker touted it as a “four-door sports activities automobile,” a descriptor Nissan first used with the third-generation Maxima in 1989. Sure, this can be a bit hyperbolic, however not less than when parked subsequent to a Toyota Avalon or Chrysler 300 the Maxima seems to be extra attention-grabbing, with its aggressive grille, pumped-up fenders and quad exhaust retailers, issues that indicate it is a bit rowdier than common.   

The present-generation Maxima isn’t any spring hen, even after final 12 months’s refresh. Nonetheless, its inside, particularly in Platinum trim with the Reserve package deal, has aged fairly nicely. The general design is enticing, with easy-to-use secondary controls and a comparatively easy format. The middle stack is angled barely towards the motive force for a extra cockpitlike really feel.

My top-shelf Platinum-trim tester’s inside trimmings are good, with loads of smooth plastics on the door panels and dashboard, plus a sprinkle of distinction colour stitching to liven issues up. This automobile’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. Type of an orangish-brown, this semianiline cow conceal seems to be upscale, particularly with the diamond-stitch sample Nissan designers utilized to it. Sadly, this leather-based is not all that particular, feeling extra like a vinyl bathe curtain than any pure materials. 

Rear-seat air vents maintain passengers touring in financial system class pleased; ditto for the heated outboard seats, that are included within the Reserve Bundle, a modest $1,140 further. The Maxima’s again bench is supportive and comfy, providing a very good quantity of legroom, but it surely’s not significantly pleasant for taller of us. If I do not slouch, my noggin hits the headliner. 

Tried-and-true tech 

Ensuring I by no means get misplaced, this Maxima encompasses a NissanConnect 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 seems to be fairly previous, with some less-than-modern graphics, but it surely’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 is good that you’ve a few methods to work together with the infotainment system. 

Nissan Security Protect 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 Round View Monitor is just included on SR and Platinum grades. Nissan’s glorious ProPilot Help adaptive cruise management with lane centering will not be supplied on the Maxima, so, unhappy trombone. 

The motive force aids this automobile does provide are OK. Blind-spot monitoring is all the time a very good factor to have, attentively reminding you of site visitors in adjoining lanes. As for the adaptive cruise management, it is completely ample, adjusting automobile pace as required by surrounding site visitors. Naturally, lane centering can be enormously appreciated. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The Maxima’s inside is trendy and comfy, even when rear-seat headroom is a bit restricted.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

CVTs get a foul rap 

Most automotive lovers hate constantly variable transmissions, and it is easy to know why. All too typically, they’re teamed with droning, malnourished four-cylinder engines, a mix that is about as nice as being locked in a room with an countless Dave Matthews Band playlist blaring. However they do not need to be torture, because the Maxima proves. When a potent and refined powerplant is factored into the driveline equation, all of a sudden a CVT’s unhealthy conduct turns into rather a lot much less objectionable. 

With 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque on faucet, the Maxima’s 3.5-liter V6 offers loads of efficiency, getting as much as freeway pace simply if not fairly immediately. Even when wound out, this engine is clean and reasonably hushed, sounding prefer it’s working someplace off within the distance reasonably than a couple of inches forward of your toes. 

Powertrain refinement and respectable torque make the usual Xtronic CVT way more nice to reside with than you may count on. However one thing known as D-Step shifting logic performs an necessary function as nicely. This characteristic simulates gear adjustments underneath average to heavy acceleration, which helps cut back droning powertrain sounds. Past that, the Maxima may also acknowledge if it is going via a high-G nook and keep in a decrease transmission ratio that can assist you energy out of the flip. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

Naturally aspirated V6 engines are an endangered species lately.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

There are, nonetheless, a few downsides to the Maxima’s CVT. It may be shifted manually with the gear selector, however solely SR fashions include paddle shifters, which is a bit unusual. Additionally, when cruising at speeds round 40 mph, the drivetrain can really feel a bit gritty as a result of the transmission likes to maintain the engine revs as little as bodily attainable for improved gas financial system.  

And that proper there may be why automakers go for CVTs. These “gearboxes” can considerably enhance a automobile’s effectivity, and the Maxima isn’t any exception. This automobile is rated at 20 miles per gallon metropolis and 30 mpg freeway. Mixed, the EPA says it ought to return 24 mpg, although in typical driving I am averaging round 29.7, a powerful determine. 

Competent dynamics 

There is a syrupiness to the Maxima’s steering, which is of the electro-hydraulic selection, a sure viscosity that is a little bit laborious to explain. The texture via its wheel is one in all denseness: It is unexpectedly heavy. Whereas 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 is usually a tiny wisp of torque steer underneath heavy acceleration.  

Trip high quality flirts with outright stiffness, but it surely’s nonetheless a step away from crossing that line. The Maxima feels nicely managed and physique roll in corners is mainly nonexistent. As for this Nissan’s binders, they’ve a pleasant chunk to them, and the pedal is kid’s play to modulate, being neither sink-to-the-floor squishy nor overly keen at preliminary utility.  

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The visually attention-grabbing styling continues to this Nissan’s rear.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Nonetheless a good-looking, sporty-ish four-door   

The present-generation Nissan Maxima is nice sufficient to drive and it nonetheless seems to be nice 5 years after first happening sale. It is laborious to argue with what the automaker has delivered right here, CVT and all, although some drivers may object to the worth. A base Maxima S stickers for about $35,375, together with $925 in vacation spot charges. That is about 4 grand greater than an entry-level Chrysler 300, although it undercuts the Toyota Avalon by about $1,500. The highest-shelf Platinum mannequin kicks off at round 42 grand, however with the Reserve package deal, a rear diffuser, underbody lighting and some different odds and ends my evaluation unit checks out for almost $46,000, which is kind of a bit of cash for a mass-market machine. Nonetheless, if you need a sporty four-door that is on the bigger facet and options considerably aggressive styling, the Maxima suits the invoice.

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