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2018 Nissan Maxima Review

The 2018 Nissan Maxima ranks in the middle of the large car class. While it has good driving dynamics and admirable safety scores, it comes up short on trunk and rear-seat space.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful standard V6 engine
  • Solid safety scores
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Quality cabin
  • Tight second row
  • Small trunk

New for 2018

  • Android Auto became standard
  • Standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.3
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Maxima Overview

Is the 2018 Nissan Maxima a Good Used Car?

Yes, the 2018 Nissan Maxima is a good used large car, and its powerful V6 engine and composed handling make it solid car for everyday driving.

The 2018 Maxima has a lot of strengths:

  • Muscular standard V6 engine
  • Balanced handling and comfortable ride
  • Good fuel economy for class
  • Slightly above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Excellent crash-test results
  • Luxury-like interior quality
  • Intuitive infotainment operation
  • Long list of standard and available features

It also has several weaknesses:

  • So-so second-row space
  • Undersized trunk for its class
  • Requires premium fuel
  • High five-year ownership costs for the class
  • Heavy steering at low speeds
Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 27 Nissan Maxima reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has decades of combined automotive industry experience. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Maxima?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Maxima on our site, the average list price is $24,100, which is about average for the class. Prices range from $19,000 to $31,900 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Maxima Cost to Own?

The 2018 Maxima’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $28,900, or $5,780 per year. That’s above average for a large car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Maxima?

Nissan refreshed the Maxima for the 2019 model year, updating the exterior styling and giving the interior a slight makeover as well. Driver assistance features introduced in the 2019 Nissan Maxima include pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, traffic sign recognition, and reverse automatic braking. If these changes aren't important to you, stick with the otherwise similar 2018 model. Buying used could save you lots of money, as prices for a 2018 Maxima range from around $19,000 to about $32,000, while the new 2019 Maxima starts at a hair more than $34,000.

Read about the new Nissan Maxima »

The 2018 Maxima is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. Cars from this generation are similar to each other with just a few notable differences. Apple CarPlay became standard in the 2017 Nissan Maxima. For 2018, Android Auto, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking became standard. You won't find Android Auto in any 2017 Maximas, but you may find some cars with those crash prevention features.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Maxima »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Nissan Maxima?

The 2018 Nissan Maxima has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Maxima reliability »

2018 Nissan Maxima Recalls

At the time of writing, no recalls have been issued for the 2018 Nissan Maxima.

See more information on Nissan Maxima safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Maxima Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Nissan Maxima comes in five trims: S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum. All models come with a V6 engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The base Maxima S features most infotainment technology you'll find throughout the trim lineup, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. If you want a Maxima with features like leather upholstery and heated front seats, go with an SV model. The Maxima SR is the sport-oriented model and comes with an upgraded suspension and electronic chassis management.

  • Nissan Maxima S: The 2018 Nissan Maxima comes standard with cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and alloy wheels. Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker stereo, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, voice recognition, a navigation system, and two USB ports.
  • Nissan Maxima SV: The Maxima SV adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver's seat power lumbar adjustments, and front and rear parking sensors.
  • Nissan Maxima SL: Standard features in the Maxima SL include a heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, two rear USB ports, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
  • Nissan Maxima SR: The Maxima SR comes with premium Ascot leather seats, ventilated front seats, LED headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, an electronic adaptive suspension, and paddle shifters.
  • Nissan Maxima Platinum: The top-of-the-line Maxima Platinum adds driver's seat memory function, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, remote start, a power rear-window sunshade, a surround-view parking camera, driver attention monitoring, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

See 2018 Nissan Maxima trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Maxima?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Nissan Maxima an overall five-star rating out of five. The Maxima received four stars in the frontal crash test and five stars in the side crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Maxima a 2018 Top Safety Pick. The car earned the highest rating of Good in all six major crash tests, as well as the top rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention features. Depending on trim, the Maxima's headlights earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable or the lowest rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • front and rear parking sensors
  • adaptive cruise control
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • surround-view parking camera
  • driver attention monitoring
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

See Maxima safety scores »

2018 Nissan Maxima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Maxima or 2018 Toyota Avalon?

The 2018 Toyota Avalon edges out the Maxima in most areas, and it comes out a little higher in our large car rankings. Both of these large sedans have a robust V6 engine and comfortable cruising abilities. They share the same admirable fuel economy estimates, and there's an available Avalon Hybrid, which we review separately. Driving an Avalon would save you about $4,500 in five-year costs compared to the Maxima, partly because the Nissan requires premium fuel. The Avalon comes with a long list of standard driver assistance features, including pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. The Avalon's high-end interior is accented by standard amenities like leather upholstery and heated front seats. Rounding out the Avalon's advantages over the Maxima are a spacious second row and a slightly larger trunk. However, you won't find Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in the Toyota. These are both good cars, but the Avalon is just a bit better.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Maxima or 2018 Dodge Charger?

There are few reasons to choose the 2018 Dodge Charger over the Maxima. The Charger has the lowest combination of safety and predicted reliability scores in the class, as well as the highest five-year ownership expenses, about $2,000 more than the Maxima's. Inside, this Dodge can't match the Nissan for quality, but you'll get more back-row and trunk space with the Charger. The Charger's other positives, like user-friendly infotainment, decent handling, and a strong standard V6 engine, are equaled by the Maxima. You should buy a Charger if a muscular four-door car with a V8 is your top priority. Otherwise, you're much better off with a Maxima.

Compare the Maxima, Avalon, and Charger »

2018 Maxima Performance

How Does the 2018 Nissan Maxima Drive?

All 2018 Nissan Maxima models feature a 300-horsepower V6 engine. It delivers ample muscle, whether you're accelerating from a stop or merging and passing at highway speeds. The engine is refined, with little obtrusive noise or vibration felt in the cabin. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. The Maxima's CVT is responsive and feels similar to a traditional automatic transmission, with smooth simulated gear changes.

The Maxima's handling is more poised and composed than many other large sedans', with solid road grip and little body lean around turns. This big sedan provides a cushioned ride over bumpy pavement and soaks up imperfections in the road. Some test drivers noted, however, that the car is prone to understeer if you push it too hard into a corner, no matter which trim you select. And at low speeds, the Maxima's steering feels a little heavy.

  • Base engine: 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Nissan Maxima Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 Maxima returns good fuel economy for a V6-powered large car. However, it'll cost you more than most rivals, as the Maxima requires premium fuel.

  • 21/30 mpg city/highway

Read more about Maxima performance »

2018 Maxima Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Maxima Seat?

The 2018 Nissan Maxima seats five people in two rows. Despite its large car classification, the Maxima isn't as spacious as most competitors, especially in the back. The rear seats are a little short on head- and legroom, and even some midsize sedans offer more rear-seat space. On the positive side, the front seats have plenty of room to get comfortable, and the seats themselves are nicely cushioned.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat
  • four-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob

Available seating features:

  • leather or premium Ascot leather seats
  • heated front seats
  • driver's seat power lumbar adjustments
  • ventilated front seats
  • driver's seat memory function
  • heated steering wheel
  • power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Maxima?

The 2018 Maxima has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The lower anchors are a little deep in the seat cushion, but you probably won't encounter any other troubles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the setup the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

2018 Nissan Maxima Features

The Maxima's infotainment system features a sharp touch screen with excellent graphics and straightforward menus. You control the system using either the touch screen or a console-mounted control knob similar to those in many luxury-branded cars. Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration provide another user-friendly way to access infotainment amenities.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker stereo, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, voice recognition, navigation, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system and two rear USB ports
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital instrument display, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start
  • Other available features: a panoramic moonroof, remote start, and a power rear-window sunshade

See 2018 Nissan Maxima specs »

Read more about Maxima interior »

2018 Nissan Maxima Dimensions

Nissan Maxima Cargo Space

The 2018 Maxima has 14.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is less than most other large cars. However, thanks to a large trunk opening, it's easy to put in and take out your stuff.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Maxima Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 3,478 to 3,608 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,641 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Maxima Built?

Nissan built the Maxima in Tennessee.

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