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2008 Nissan Maxima Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Nissan Maxima was new.

The 2008 Nissan Maxima delivers a nice combination of performance and luxury in a sport sedan.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.4
Safety: 8.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 engine comes standard
  • Sporty handling for a midsize sedan
  • Roomy interior
  • High sticker price compared to competent, non-luxury competitors
  • Front-wheel-drive system often causes problematic torque steer

2008 Nissan Maxima Overview

Auto writers see the 2008 Nissan Maxima as a sporty, powerful alternative to a mainstream midsize sedan, but its price puts it in a class dominated by luxury brands. As a result, Maxima reviews are split between those who describe the car as a family sedan with an austere personality and those who say that the Maxima is an upscale midsize sedan that isn't sporty enough to effectively compete with its class.

This difference of reviewer opinion also affects assessments of the Maxima's price. Weighing its amenities against its price, the Sacramento Bee reports, "this is one of the few cars you drive away from the dealership, chuckling to yourself and whispering, 'Man, I stole this one!'" But Car and Driver says, "Gets pricey when loaded with options," when describing the maxima, later noting, "it's hard to justify over Nissan's own Altima."

The 2008 model represents the car's sixth generation and is a carryover from the 2007 with minimal changes. The 2009 Maxima, now being sold, is a complete redesign that breaks away stylistically from the Nissan Altima. If you're in the market for an upscale midsize car, also consider the BMW 3-Series. If you're in the market for some of the lower-priced sedans the Maxima is also compared with, consider the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

  • "The Maxima always used to be Nissan's sporty mid-size Sedan. Over the years, though, it has grown in size, becoming ever more luxurious and powerful but less of a driver's car." -- Car and Driver
  • In its 2007 review, NCTD lists the Maxima as "individualistic and indulgently luxurious, with innovative styling and interior features. Its engine is powerful and its ride is smooth and quiet. Its interior is innovative and comfortable." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The Nissan Maxima continues as an upscale alternative to the common midsize sedan." -- The Auto Channel
  • "Nissan's Maxima wasn't the first fast four-door, but it did help popularize the 'four-door sports car' concept back in the mid-late '80s. … Fast forward to the present and the Maxima now has lots of company. Sporty sedans with powerful engines, taut suspensions, and great brakes are now the rule, not the exception. … To keep the Maxima near the front of the ever-growing pack is the challenge." -- The Car Connection
  • "Nissan's flagship sedan continues to emphasize its combination of performance, scale, luxury, and affordability, but today the Maxima finds itself in the thick of one of the most competitive segments of the car market." -- Automobile Magazine
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