2018 Nissan Maxima

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MSRP: $33,420 - 41,090

2018 Nissan Maxima Review

As one of the most athletic and luxurious cars in the large car class, the 2018 Nissan Maxima earns a high ranking. The car’s few downsides include a slightly small rear seat and trunk.




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

Pros & Cons

  • First-rate interior
  • Powerful and efficient V6
  • Straightforward infotainment system
  • Top-tier safety scores
  • Small rear seats and trunk
  • Requires premium gasoline

New for 2018

  • Android Auto, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking now standard

Is the Nissan Maxima a Good Car?

The 2018 Maxima is a very good car that boasts an energetic V6 engine and confident, lithe handling. This large car also delivers good fuel efficiency, and its refined cabin approaches entry-level luxury territory. There’s a long list of standard features and advanced safety technology, and the infotainment interface is easy to use.

Should I Buy the Nissan Maxima?

There's a lot to like about the Maxima, especially if you want a well-rounded large sedan that combines performance and comfort. Despite its large-car class designation, it's not the best choice for shoppers who prioritize a cavernous trunk or a spacious back seat. Instead, cars like the Honda Accord or Chevrolet Impala may be better choices. Both of those cars also cost thousands of dollars less than the Maxima, which has one of the higher starting prices in its class.

Compare the Maxima, Accord, and Impala »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Maxima?

For 2018, Nissan made forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking standard in the Maxima. It introduced Android Auto for the first time, also as standard. Apple CarPlay was introduced in the 2017 model. If you don’t care about Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you might want to consider shopping for a used 2016 Maxima. You could potentially save thousands of dollars while getting a nearly identical car.

To do more research on the other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016 and 2017 Nissan Maxima. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn more about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Nissan Maxima »
We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 27 Nissan Maxima reviews to give you an idea of this car’s pros and cons. We’ve also included fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and more to help you decide if the 2018 Maxima is the right option for you. This 2018 Nissan Maxima review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our editorial staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews impartial, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an external partner places and sells the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Nissan Maxima Cost?

Prices for the 2018 Maxima range from $33,270 for the base S trim to $40,940 for the range-topping Platinum model. The Maxima's base price is a bit high for the class, though fully loaded trims of many competitors cost more than the Maxima Platinum.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Maxima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Maxima or Honda Accord?

The fully redesigned 2018 Honda Accord ranks highly in the midsize car class. Though it’s about the same size as the Maxima on the outside, the Accord has a roomier interior with ample rear-seat legroom. Honda offers you a choice of two peppy turbocharged engines that get the Accord moving with ease and earn higher fuel economy ratings than the Maxima. The Accord starts at nearly $10,000 less than the Maxima, and you can get a fully loaded Accord Touring model for about the same price as a base Maxima. The loaded Accord adds features like leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a head-up display. Adding those amenities to the Maxima would cost you a lot more.

Which Is Better: Nissan Maxima or Chevrolet Impala?

The Chevrolet Impala doesn’t have the same athleticism as the Maxima, but it still feels poised and pointed around turns. You’ll want to stay away from the Impala’s weak standard four-cylinder engine and go with the optional V6 for better acceleration. If you want a spacious large car to haul your family around in comfort, the Chevy is the better pick. It boasts generous space for even tall adults in the front and the back. You’ll get lots more trunk space too. The Impala starts at several thousand dollars less than the Maxima, and even the midrange LT model with the optional V6 would save you about $1,700 compared to a base Maxima. That Impala trim includes many of the same features that are standard in the Maxima. Keep in mind, however, that the Impala has a lower predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Maxima, Accord, and Impala »

Maxima Interior

How Many People Does the Maxima Seat?

The Maxima accommodates up to five people, and it comes standard with cloth upholstery and power-adjustable front seats. Leather-appointed upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are optional.

Though it is classified as a large car, the Maxima is not as roomy as most competitors. The front seats afford good room to get comfortable, and the seats themselves are nicely cushioned. In the back, it's a different story. The rear seats offer less head- and legroom than most large cars – and even some midsize sedans.

Maxima and Car Seats

Each of the rear outboard seats has a full set of LATCH connectors, and the middle rear seat has an upper tether anchor.

Maxima Interior Quality

The cabin’s high-end materials and stylish design make it feel like the interior of a more expensive luxury car. 

Maxima Cargo Space

With only 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space, the Maxima has a smaller trunk than nearly every large car rival, some of which offer nearly 20 cubic feet of room. It's easy to load the Maxima's trunk thanks to a wide opening. The cabin is fitted with lots of convenient places to stow your personal effects.

Maxima Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every model comes with an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system that has excellent graphics quality and intuitive menus. The system can be controlled using either the touch screen itself or a console-mounted control knob similar to those in many luxury-branded cars. Navigation comes standard, as does Bluetooth, HD Radio, and satellite radio. An 11-speaker Bose premium sound system is available.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both included. These smartphone integration systems display some of your smartphone's apps on the car's touch screen. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Maxima Performance

Maxima Engine: Punchy V6

A 300-horsepower V6 powers the Maxima. It has generous punch throughout the power band, so taking off from a stop, merging, and passing are easily handled. The refined engine delivers power smoothly, without unpleasant vibrations or noise. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is mated to the V6. Unlike most CVTs that feel springy under hard acceleration, the Maxima's CVT features simulated gears that make it feel more like a traditional automatic transmission.

Maxima Gas Mileage: Good for the Class

Few V6-powered large cars are as fuel-efficient as the Maxima, which gets up to 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, you will still pay dearly at the gas station, as the Maxima requires premium-grade fuel.

Maxima Ride and Handling: Reasonably Athletic

The Maxima may be marketed as a "four-door sports car," but that isn't quite accurate. This car's handling is more poised than many other large sedans', with adequate grip and little body lean around turns. However, don’t push the car too hard, or you may find yourself facing some understeer around turns – even when driving the SR model with its upgraded sport suspension. The power steering system is unusual in that it requires more effort to turn the wheels at low speeds than it does at high speeds. The Maxima provides a cushioned ride over bumpy pavement. 

Read more about performance »

Maxima Reliability

Is the Nissan Maxima Reliable?

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

Nissan Maxima Warranty

The 2018 Nissan Maxima comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Maxima Safety

Maxima Crash Test Results

Like most large sedans, the 2016 Maxima earns excellent safety scores. It received a perfect five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as five stars in every crash test category. The Maxima aced all six Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests and received a Superior rating for its front crash prevention features. IIHS named it a 2018 Top Safety Pick. It missed out on the Top Safety Pick+ designation because it only earned an Acceptable rating for its headlight performance.

Maxima Safety Features

For the 2018 model year, every Maxima comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, along with a rearview camera. Available safety features include a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Nissan Maxima Model Is Right for Me?

The Maxima has one of the highest starting prices in the class. Still, the base S trim comes very well-equipped, so the majority of buyers should be happy sticking with that. If you want sportier performance, consider the SR model. The Platinum trim offers a chic cabin that rivals those of many luxury large cars, but at a significantly lower cost. All trims have a 3.5-liter V6, a CVT, and front-wheel drive. 

Nissan Maxima S

The base Nissan Maxima S trim starts at $33,270 and comes with cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, navigation, an eight-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera.

Nissan Maxima SV

The $35,270 SV model adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and front and rear parking sensors to the S model’s features.

Nissan Maxima SL

The SL trim, priced at $37,690, gets you a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, a heated steering wheel, an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Nissan Maxima SR

The Maxima's sporty trim, the SR, costs $38,530. It adds a number of performance upgrades, including paddle shifters, sportier wheels and tires, a sport-tuned suspension, and a dynamic control system that coordinates steering, braking, and suspension for better handling. The SR lacks the SL’s panoramic moonroof.

Nissan Maxima Platinum

The top-of-the-line Platinum trim rounds out the range at $40,940. It includes the panoramic moonroof, along with premium leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver drowsiness monitoring, and a 360-degree camera.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2018 Nissan Maxima specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Nissan Maxima checks nearly all of the right boxes for the large car class. It has plenty of engine power, confident handling, and a high-end cabin. It's loaded with features and gets great safety scores too. However, unlike many roomy rivals, the Maxima's rear seats and trunk are a bit undersized.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "A 300-horsepower V6 and taut chassis place the Maxima's driving dynamics closer to those of the … new Kia Stinger, and a cut above sedans like the Honda Accord and Chevrolet Impala. Yet, for all its performance rumblings, the Maxima's long list of standard and available equipment makes it feel more like a premium-level luxury car. If the 2018 Maxima has any shortcomings, it would be its minimal rear-seat accommodations and front-wheel-drive layout, the latter often a deal-killer for die-hard enthusiasts." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Now in its eighth generation, the Nissan Maxima is more of a luxury car than it's ever been. It features a truly impressive cabin, ready and willing power, and a bold new design that gives the model some of the cache that the brand can't." -- Autotrader
  • "Just because you want a car that's exciting, refined and stylish doesn't mean you have to pay for a true luxury sedan. The 2017 Nissan Maxima is a step above the typical family sedan experience but still reasonably affordable. Its modestly sized interior and non-luxury badge may be issues given its price, but we ultimately think you're going to like the niche-oriented Maxima." -- Edmunds (2017)
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