2020 Nissan Maxima

Performance


#6 out of 8 in Large Cars

MSRP
$34,250
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Nissan Maxima Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.8

The 2020 Nissan Maxima has a powerful V6 engine and a comfortable ride, along with fuel economy that’s about average for the large car class. However, the Altima's handling is pretty dull, and the transmission earns mixed reviews.

  • "While the Maxima's handling may not be up to the standards set by most European sport sedans, it regains some ground when it comes to styling. Opting to stick with front-wheel drive (FWD) over rear-wheel drive (RWD) or AWD, however, is one of the reasons why the Maxima may fall short in the eyes of some enthusiast drivers." -- Autotrader
  • 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." -- Car and Driver (2019)
  • 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 (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Nissan Maxima comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. The Maxima gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the class.

This Nissan has ample engine power that helps deliver strong acceleration both from a stop and at higher speeds. When it comes to the transmission’s performance, critics are mixed, so you’ll want to test it out before you buy.

  • "The Maxima's V6 seldom leaves you yearning for more power. … From a stop and in the midrange, power is willing to provide passing punch, and the transmission does a good job of sidestepping the drawbacks that are common with CVTs." -- Autotrader
  • 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 (2019)
  • 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. Straight-line power impresses, the front wheels tugging from side to side as they combat the effects of torque steer." -- New York Daily News (2019)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima has a plush ride, but it comes at the expense of agility. The steering is very numb, and there is little feedback from the road.

  • While it's fairly fun to drive, the Maxima is more of a pleasant family car than a sport sedan, and it sure isn't a 4-door sports car." -- Autotrader
  • 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." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "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 (2019)
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2020 Nissan Maxima

MSRP: $34,250 - $41,540

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