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$9,774 - $10,591
$32,420 - $35,120

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful standard V6
  • Limited rear-seat headroom
  • Noticeable torque steer in corners
  • Low fuel economy for the class




Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 8.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Nissan Maxima Overview

Reviewers wrote that the 2012 Maxima’s V6 engine delivers powerful acceleration around town and on the highway. However, critics reported that the front-wheel drive Maxima can suffer from torque steer, where the car pulls to one side under hard acceleration. Test drivers said the Maxima’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) operates smoothly, though some didn’t think it is a good match for the Maxima’s sporty demeanor. According to the EPA, the 2012 Nissan Maxima gets 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for the class. Automotive journalists reported that the Maxima corners nimbly at low and moderate speeds, though it begins to feel a little heavy as speeds rise. They appreciated the Maxima’s light, yet accurate, steering and strong brakes. Most agreed that the Maxima's ride is generally comfortable, but some commented that the available Sport package doesn’t improve handling much and compromises the Maxima ride quality.

Automotive journalists said the 2012 Nissan Maxima has high-quality interior materials, with gauges and controls that are clearly marked, laid out logically and placed close to the driver. Reviewers said the front seats of the Maxima are roomy and supportive and that the rear seat is comfortable. Some also noted that rear-seat headroom is tight for taller passengers due to the Maxima’s sloping roofline. The Maxima has a 14.2-cubic-foot trunk, which is good for the class. Standard features in the 2012 Nissan Maxima include a moonroof, Bluetooth, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and proximity key. Available features include a nine-speaker Bose audio system, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a rearview camera, navigation, a USB port and a 7-inch display screen. Reviewers appreciated that the available navigation system does not complicate audio adjustments.

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 Infiniti G has tenacious cornering grip and powerful acceleration with its available 3.7-liter V6. The G is available with all-wheel drive and has standard leather upholstery.

The automotive press agreed that the rear-wheel drive 2012 BMW 3-Series is one of the best-handling cars in the class. With either of its turbocharged engines, the 3-Series returns higher fuel economy than the Maxima, and reviewers said both engines deliver powerful acceleration.

Compare the Maxima, G and 3-Series »

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