$21,541 - $26,926

2017 Nissan Maxima Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Nissan Maxima was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2017 Nissan Maxima's robust V6 engine accelerates as well as some of the best in its class. While it doesn’t keep pace with performance sedans from BMW or Acura, it competes well with entry-level luxury cars in terms of driving feel. This is due in large part to its surprisingly zippy handling on twisting roads and its quiet and polished ride quality.

  • "The Maxima's standard V6 engine offers similarly strong acceleration as the most powerful midsize sedan engines, but its athletic handling capabilities and refined driving experience are more evocative of entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TLX." -- Edmunds
  • "Even though Nissan bills the Maxima as a "4-Door Sports Car," this is no budget-conscious BMW M3. Rather, it's a sporty entry-level luxury sedan, and a pretty good one at that." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "For the average Joe that heads down to their local dealership, we predict they'll walk away impressed by the blend of sharp handling and a composed ride." -- Autoblog (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the front-wheel drive 2017 Nissan Maxima. Standard is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with simulated gear changes that attempt to lessen the droning sound that’s common with traditional CVTs.

Acceleration is sprightly across the entire power band. Torque steer (a car’s tendency to pull to one side when accelerating) can be a bit of a problem when accelerating hard from a stop. This may bother some drivers, so watch for it during your test drive. For a car of this size, equipped with a six-cylinder engine, the Maxima has great fuel economy, earning 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, this mileage comes at a price as the Maxima only takes premium fuel.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 provides ready and willing power across the rev range, and it works well with the CVT, although torque steer (the feeling of the car pulling left or right as you accelerate) is noticeable during hard acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "… a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) … does a great job due in no small part to its ‘D-Step’ shift logic that simulates gear changes. The sportiest Nissan Maxima SR takes it a step further, using paddle shifters on the steering wheel to select different fixed settings in the CVT, further simulating a more traditional automatic." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steps built into the transmission still feel a little artificial, but the Xtronic makes the right noises and the right movements, producing momentum when needed without undue noise." -- AutoWeek (2016)

Handling and Braking

Nissan markets the Maxima as a “four-door sports car.” While it may not live up to this name entirely, it certainly delivers on handling. Body lean is minimal, and it hugs corners better than most cars in its class and even many midsize cars. At low speeds, you may notice some sluggishness in steering responses. Still, the Maxima has responsive handling in other situations.

Overall, the Maxima rides well, especially on the highway, imparting a smooth and pleasant feel. In the city, the suspension is tight without feeling harsh. Braking is secure and quick to respond.

  • In our experience, the 2017 Maxima does feel rather sporty, with nicely controlled body motions and commendable grip around turns that equate to dynamic talents greater than the typical mid- or full-size sedan. However, the steering is oddly slow in parking lots and gets light as speeds rise (the opposite is true with most modern cars), and quick left-right transitions can flummox it." -- Edmunds
  • "This Nissan's suspension is comfortably firm, and combined with the accurate-but-numb steering, the Maxima is enjoyable in brisk driving. On the highway, the smooth ride and quiet interior make it feel like a premium car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Maxima reacts pleasantly to sudden steering inputs - turn-in is particularly sharp - as are brake and accelerator inputs." -- Autoblog (2016)

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