2020 Nissan Maxima review: Not your typical four-door

Nancy J. Delong

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The Maxima has aged perfectly. It can be however intense still handsome.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Present-day relatives vehicles have a tendency to be very sedate. Several of them crack new ground when it comes to appears or efficiency, but Nissan wants you to imagine of its Maxima as a little something various, a large sedan with masses of soul. Right after tests a 2020 Platinum model, for the most element, I concur with this framing… generally. 


  • Respectable infotainment tech
  • Sleek, potent V6
  • Brisk acceleration

Do not Like

  • Limited rear-seat headroom
  • Iffy leather-based top quality
  • No ProPilot Assist

Sporty appears inside of and out

When the present-technology model introduced five years in the past, the automaker touted it as a “four-door sports activities vehicle,” a descriptor Nissan initially utilized with the third-technology Maxima in 1989. Yes, this is a bit hyperbolic, but at least when parked next to a Toyota Avalon or Chrysler three hundred the Maxima appears additional attention-grabbing, with its intense grille, pumped-up fenders and quad exhaust retailers, matters that indicate it is a bit rowdier than normal.   

The present-technology Maxima is no spring hen, even immediately after previous year’s refresh. Nonetheless, its inside, in particular in Platinum trim with the Reserve offer, has aged rather perfectly. The general style is appealing, with uncomplicated-to-use secondary controls and a relatively straightforward format. The center stack is angled a little bit towards the driver for a additional cockpitlike feel.

My best-shelf Platinum-trim tester’s inside trimmings are wonderful, with a lot of soft plastics on the door panels and dashboard, plus a sprinkle of distinction coloration stitching to liven matters up. This car’s steering wheel feels excellent in the hand, currently being each chunky and properly sculpted, with a flat bottom for an additional sprint of activity. Thoughtfully, the tiller’s Rakuda tan inserts match the leather-based utilized on the seats and doors. Type of an orangish-brown, this semianiline cow cover appears upscale, in particular with the diamond-stitch pattern Nissan designers used to it. Sad to say, this leather-based is not all that special, feeling additional like a vinyl shower curtain than any normal substance. 

Rear-seat air vents maintain travellers traveling in economy class delighted ditto for the heated outboard seats, which are integrated in the Reserve Package, a modest $one,a hundred and forty additional. The Maxima’s again bench is supportive and comfy, presenting a excellent amount of legroom, but it is not notably helpful for taller people. If I really don’t slouch, my noggin hits the headliner. 

Tried-and-true tech 

Producing positive I in no way get misplaced, this Maxima options a NissanConnect infotainment method with built-in navigation on an 8-inch screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are standard across the model vary. That multimedia array appears very outdated, with some a lot less-than-contemporary graphics, but it is uncomplicated to use and shockingly responsive, with no delays when typing out addresses or zooming in or out on the navigation map, which you can do with the touchscreen or applying the components knob on the center console. It can be wonderful that you have a pair of ways to interact with the infotainment method. 

Nissan Security Defend 360 is standard across the Maxima lineup. It features a vary of sophisticated driver aids like automated crisis braking with pedestrian detection, blind-place monitoring and rear cross-site visitors inform. Adaptive cruise handle and site visitors-sign recognition are standard on SV products and up, although the handy but fairly gritty-searching 360-degree All-around Check out Observe is only integrated on SR and Platinum grades. Nissan’s exceptional ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise handle with lane centering is not provided on the Maxima, so, unhappy trombone. 

The driver aids this vehicle does give are Alright. Blind-place monitoring is normally a excellent factor to have, attentively reminding you of site visitors in adjacent lanes. As for the adaptive cruise handle, it is correctly enough, modifying automobile velocity as required by surrounding site visitors. The natural way, lane centering would be enormously appreciated. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The Maxima’s inside is stylish and comfy, even if rear-seat headroom is a bit constrained.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

CVTs get a undesirable rap 

Most automotive fans dislike repeatedly variable transmissions, and it is uncomplicated to fully grasp why. All far too typically, they are teamed with droning, malnourished four-cylinder engines, a combination that’s about as nice as currently being locked in a space with an limitless Dave Matthews Band playlist blaring. But they really don’t have to be torture, as the Maxima proves. When a potent and refined powerplant is factored into the driveline equation, abruptly a CVT’s undesirable habits results in being a large amount a lot less objectionable. 

With three hundred horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque on faucet, the Maxima’s three.five-liter V6 offers a lot of efficiency, having up to freeway velocity easily if not rather promptly. Even when wound out, this motor is easy and fairly hushed, sounding like it is functioning someplace off in the length fairly than a couple inches in advance of your feet. 

Powertrain refinement and respectable torque make the standard Xtronic CVT far additional nice to stay with than you might assume. But a little something named D-Action shifting logic performs an vital purpose as perfectly. This feature simulates gear variations under average to weighty acceleration, which aids minimize droning powertrain appears. Further than that, the Maxima can also figure out if it is heading via a superior-G corner and continue to be in a lessen transmission ratio to enable you electricity out of the convert. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The natural way aspirated V6 engines are an endangered species these days.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

There are, having said that, a pair of downsides to the Maxima’s CVT. It can be shifted manually with the gear selector, but only SR products come with paddle shifters, which is a bit odd. Also, when cruising at speeds all over 40 mph, the drivetrain can feel a bit gritty because the transmission loves to maintain the motor revs as reduced as bodily attainable for enhanced gas economy.  

And that proper there is why automakers decide for CVTs. These “gearboxes” can drastically improve a vehicle’s performance, and the Maxima is no exception. This vehicle is rated at twenty miles for every gallon metropolis and thirty mpg freeway. Combined, the EPA states it really should return 24 mpg, although in normal driving I am averaging all over 29.seven, an impressive determine. 

Qualified dynamics 

There’s a syrupiness to the Maxima’s steering, which is of the electro-hydraulic wide range, a selected viscosity that’s a minimal tricky to describe. The feel via its wheel is a person of denseness: It can be unexpectedly weighty. While not overly precise, this sedan is however rather agile, and it tracks as straight as a Japanese bullet educate, other than in corners wherever there can be a very small wisp of torque steer under weighty acceleration.  

Journey top quality flirts with outright stiffness, but it is however a move absent from crossing that line. The Maxima feels perfectly managed and entire body roll in corners is in essence nonexistent. As for this Nissan’s binders, they have a wonderful bite to them, and the pedal is child’s play to modulate, currently being neither sink-to-the-ground squishy nor overly keen at first application.  

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The visually attention-grabbing styling continues to this Nissan’s rear.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Nonetheless a handsome, sporty-ish four-door   

The present-technology Nissan Maxima is nice adequate to push and it however appears wonderful five years immediately after initially heading on sale. It can be tricky to argue with what the automaker has shipped below, CVT and all, although some drivers might object to the price tag. A base Maxima S stickers for about $35,375, which include $925 in location service fees. Which is about four grand additional than an entry-amount Chrysler three hundred, although it undercuts the Toyota Avalon by about $one,five hundred. The best-shelf Platinum model kicks off at all over 42 grand, but with the Reserve offer, a rear diffuser, underbody lighting and a couple other odds and finishes my evaluate device checks out for just about $46,000, which is rather a bit of dollars for a mass-market device. Nonetheless, if you want a sporty four-door that’s on the larger facet and options fairly intense styling, the Maxima suits the invoice.

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