The seventh generation Nissan Maxima was launched in 2009. This continues the Maxima’s charge from the late 80’s. For most of the 90’s there were many Japanese midsized sedans to choose from. While they were mostly good at moving people in a practical fashion, the only really sporty option was the Nissan Maxima, combining V-6 engines, with manual transmissions, and suspensions more tuned to sport than the competition. Other automakers have since redesigned some of their models to compete more directly with the Maxima, forcing Nissan to continually improve on the original design.

The current Maxima offers a high quality interior design and sport tuned suspension. There is a great deal of technology based options, although much of it included only with specific packages. The price of the Maxima maybe it’s biggest drawback as it puts it into range of many of the more esteemed auto makers.

Driving this sporty sedan is Nissans 290 HP, 3.5 liter V-6 engine. The front wheels are driven by a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. A sport package ups the ante with 19″ wheel and an 8 speaker audio system.

Bodystyle: Sedan
Engines: 3.5L V-6
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: 3.5 S, 3.5 SV

Revisions for the 2011 Nissan Maxima focus on the Maxima SV with the sport package, which now wears smoked headlamps (in place of clear lenses), a “dark chrome” grille, special gray interior stitching, and new metallic interior trim. Maxima’s color palette gets three new hues — Metallic Slate, Brilliant Silver and Pearl White — while the rear fascia receives a fresh tailpipe finisher.

From the bulging hood and aggressively sculpted fenders to the L-shaped wraparound headlamps and 12-LED taillamps, every exterior cue of the Maxima is designed to suggest power and speed. Optional 19-inch alloys and a rear spoiler add flair.

Maxima’s interior concept — “Super Cockpit, but with Space” — is designed to impart the intimate feeling of a sports car with the utilitarian space of a sedan. Premium features include available leather-trimmed seats and navigation with 9.3GB music hard drive.

The Maxima’s sole engine continues to be a 3.5-liter VQ-series V-6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission. A sport package adds paddle shifters, firmer suspension, and 19-inch wheels. All Maximas use a front strut/rear multi-link suspension.

Nissan fits every Maxima with front, front-side, and side curtain airbags. The Maxima also boasts front-seat active head restraints, stability and traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

3.5 S, 3.5 SV: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway

  • Curvy good looks
  • Strong V-6
  • Paddle shifters
  • 19-inch wheels
  • Short on sports-car promise
  • CVT not for everyone
  • Similar money gets G37

Four-door sports car? Almost


  • Acura TSX V-6
  • Hyundai Azera
  • Lexus ES
  • Volkswagen CC

Get a Free Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.