2017 Nissan Maxima Driving Impressions

Indisputably more sporty in nature than Nissan’s related Altima, the Maxima still doesn’t qualify as a sport sedan. Still, performance is relatively brisk. The 3.5-liter V6 can propel a Maxima to 60 mph in about six seconds.

Expect some engine noise when the Maxima is pushed, however, and not necessarily the satisfying, pleasing sort of sound. Accelerating hard, the engine can almost become downright loud. All but the base-model Maxima have active noise cancellation, which helps dampen any din.

In some models, Nissan’s CVT incorporates shift paddles that can be used to manually select programmed virtual gears. Responses quicken in Sport mode. Even so, enthusiasts typically frown on CVTs, preferring traditional gear-type transmissions. Other drivers applaud the invariably smoothly fluid operation of the CVT’s belt-and-pulley configuration and its efficiency.

Not only can Maxima drivers expect impressively well-balanced ride comfort, but the sedan tracks neatly on the highway. Steering is practically unaffected by pavement bumps.

With its fully independent suspension and all-disc brakes, a Maxima behaves well on curves and hilly terrain. For sharpest handling capability, consider the SR edition, which has the tautest suspension and larger tires. A chassis damper keeps the suspension from transmitting excessive road nastiness to passengers. To improve cornering in an SR, the car itself helps slow down the engine while it applies the brakes.

Reasonably fuel-efficient, the Maxima is EPA-rated at 21/30 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. Such fuel-saving features as stop/start technology are lacking.

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