2019 Nissan Maxima

Performance


#6 out of 9 in Large Cars

$33,950 MSRP
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2019 Nissan Maxima Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.1

The 2019 Nissan Maxima has a potent V6 engine that helps it accelerate quickly from a stop. Gas mileage is decent for the class, and the ride quality is generally comfortable. However, this sedan is not as sporty as the "four-door sports car" billing given by Nissan.

  • "The Maxima still offers the same dynamic traits that have endeared us to Nissan's flagship four-door in the past: a supple but controlled ride, assertive V-6 power, and predictable handling. But we can't help wondering why the Maxima didn't inherit the Altima's new variable-compression turbo four-cylinder engine or its optional all-wheel drive. Although the redesigned steering wheel borrows more than a few design details from the helm found in the mighty GT-R, the steering itself is just as numb and uncommunicative as before. The same goes for the mushy brake pedal, which is a blemish on the above-average braking performance we've recorded in the past." -- Car and Driver
  • "The new Maxima rides comfortably if a bit firmly, responds promptly, and grips the road well enough for a four-door that, ahem, is no longer trying to be a sports car. And goodness knows the big V-6 has passing power to spare. But the fun factor is largely missing." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With the 3.5-liter V-6 making the same 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque as before, the Maxima's acceleration isn't expected to differ from that of the pre-refresh models. That's not a complaint, however." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The sole engine in the Maxima is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The engine delivers power smoothly and produces decent acceleration. The transmission is noisy under hard acceleration, however, and reviewers are divided on whether this Nissan successfully mimics the shifts of a traditional automatic transmission.

The Maxima gets up to 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are better than many class rivals’ estimates.

  • "The Maxima retains its 3.5-liter V-6, still delivering an even 300 horsepower – not a thrilling number nowadays, but at least you won’t hear us complaining about turbo lag or off-the-line hesitation." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine drives the front wheels through one of the best continuously variable transmissions (CVT) available today. Still, it is a CVT, so even if there is a manual shifting gate (and shift paddles for the Maxima SR), it just isn’t as engaging as a dual-clutch transmission would be." -- New York Daily News
  • "That's how I feel about the driving dynamics, too. The Maxima's 3.5-liter V6 is … tuned to deliver 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque in this application. That's plenty of power for this four-door sedan; the Maxima has pep to its step, but not enough to get me in trouble. Unfortunately, the continuously variable transmission is a weak spot in this otherwise adequate powertrain." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

This Nissan provides a gentle ride over most rough surfaces, though you might feel some large bumps in the cabin. It feels poised and balanced on the road, and while it is somewhat athletic, it doesn’t live up to the "four-door sports car" billing that Nissan gives it. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • "Steering effort levels are heavy, but this is a desirable characteristic in a sport sedan. It works well in corners and curves, making it easy to place the car for apex clipping. The brakes are responsive and easy to modulate, too. Sharper road anomalies transfer from the suspension up into the architecture, revealing the Maxima’s aging engineering." -- New York Daily News
  • "The Maxima has a sport mode that adjusts throttle response, steering weight and transmission 'shift' points, though in action, it doesn't really give me any sort of added sportiness to the drive. The steering is pretty hefty in its standard time, so this sport mode doesn't feel necessary here." -- CNET
  • "Nissan likes to call the Maxima a '4DSC,' an acronym that dates way back in the model's history and stands for '4-Door Sports Car.' The powertrain does a solid job in that regard, despite the CVT, but the car's handling lets it down. It corners flatly and feels planted, but the steering is frostbite-level numb and hampered further by significant vagueness off-center. The ride is comfortable and compliant, though. It seems 4DGT would be a better term for the Maxima." -- Autoblog
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