2012 Nissan Maxima

S FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6

S FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6

2012 nissan maxima Reviews and News

2012 Nissan Maxima Front Left View
The Maxima is a storied nameplate, at least at Nissan. It's actually older than the Nissan name in the United States, as it dates back to the Datsun days. For a long time, the Maxima enjoyed a reputation as a fast, comfortable, sporting machine, back when most Japanese sedans were depressing econo-boxes. Years ago, it was advertised as "the four-door sports car." Recently, Nissan has resurrected that claim. But is that still the case?
As it has been for decades, the Maxima is powered by a substantial V-6 driving the front wheels. Back in the day (that day being around 1990), that combination, together with athletic chassis tuning and an available stick shift, put some substance behind the 4DSC claim. The muscular V-6 is still here, and it's more powerful than ever, with 290 hp and 261 pound-feet of torque. Alas, the manual gearbox is long gone, and now the only transmission available is a CVT -- hardly the enthusiast's choice.
No manufacturer more fervidly embraces the continuously variable automatic transmission than Nissan. The good news here is that a CVT doesn't call that much attention to itself when paired with larger, torquier engine, like this V-6. When a prod of the go pedal sends the tach needle only up to 3000 or 4000 rpm and it stays there for only a few seconds, it's a much different situation than when a CVT keeps a tiny four-banger screaming along at 5000 rpm or better while the car slowly gains speed. Presumably, the CVT helps in the fuel economy department, but EPA ratings of 19 mpg city and 26 on the highway are only about average for the segment; my experience exactly matched those figures, with an indicated 19 mpg after several days worth of in-town driving and the dash readout showing 26 mpg over an eight-hour highway trip.
The 3.5-liter V-6 delivers acceleration that is plenty strong, but stomping on the pedal can sometimes cause the steering wheel to get a bit squirmy, as the big V-6 is sending a lot of torque to the front wheels. The steering is otherwise pretty good, though, and the handling is competent. Stiff antiroll bars create some side-to-side body motions, however. There's an optional sport suspension (my test car was not so equipped) but it hardly seems necessary and probably wouldn't do the ride quality any favors.
The real issue for the Maxima is that there's not a whole lot to recommend it over an Altima. The Altima's optional V-6 is the same 3.5-liter unit and it's paired with the same CVT. Granted, in the Altima it has 20 fewer ponies, but it's also lugging around 200 fewer pounds.
2012 Nissan Maxima Front Left View
The two sedans ride on the same, 109-inch wheelbase, and they're the same length, although the Maxima is 2.5 inches wider. The Altima, though, has the roomier interior, by nearly 5 cubic feet.
Yes, the Maxima has totally different styling, and a very nicely finished cabin, with Nissan's excellent and highly logical combination of a touch-screen and hard buttons. Surprisingly, however, leather is standard only on the higher, SV, trim level and navigation costs extra on all Maximas. Frankly, it's hard to see $10,000 worth of value here, compared to the Altima, which has just been restyled for 2013.
How might Nissan more effectively separate these two? The Maxima could grow larger, more Toyota Avalon-sized, but that grates against its sport-sedan image. As it is, the Maxima's size already makes it feel like a high-speed cruiser rather than a car you'd throw into a corner.
One idea would be to give the Maxima all-wheel drive -- ideally with a rear torque bias. That could imbue some of that premium, rear-wheel-drive feel during cornering, eliminate the last vestiges of torque steer, and provide a useful traction benefit for buyers in the snowbelt states. It would also help put the Maxima on a tier above mid-size sedans. The downside would be the likely fuel economy penalty.
Even as it is, the Maxima isn't exactly suffering in the marketplace. Last year, it outsold just about every competitor we could think of: the Acura TL, Hyundai Azera, Lexus ES350, Volvo S60, Volkswagen CC, Toyota Avalon, and (just barely) the Buick LaCrosse. It also just squeaked past its in-house competition, the Infiniti G -- a car that lays a much more secure claim on the title four-door sports car.
But even if its sales aren't bad, the Maxima would almost certainly benefit from a clearer image and a higher profile. There was a time when the Maxima was really something special. The current car may be nice but it's no longer a standout.

2012 Nissan Maxima SV

Base price (with destination): $35,210
Price as tested: $40,930
Standard Equipment:
290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine
Continuously variable automatic transmission
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering
Air-conditioning w/dual-zone automatic climate control
Power windows
Power door locks w/remote and passive entry
Keyless ignition
Power moonroof
Power seats
Leather upholstery
Bose AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system w/9 speakers, and USB and aux inputs
Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
Bluetooth
Tilt & telescoping steering column
Body-color power mirrors w/turn signals
Fog lights
60/40 split-folding rear seats
Cruise control
Options on this vehicle:
Premium Package - $3300 - Dual-pane power moonroof
- Power rear window sunshade
- HID xenon headlights
- Premium leather-appointed seats
- Heated and cooled driver's seat
- Heated front passenger seat
- Heated steering wheel
- Power-adjustable steering column
- Shift paddles
- Automatic entry/exit system
- Memory for driver's seat, mirrors, steering column
- Auto-dimming driver's-side outside mirror
- Heated outside mirrors w/auto tilt-down
- Rear-seat trunk pass-through
- Rear-seat fold-down center armrest
- Atlantic Cherry wood trim
- 7-in color monitor
- Back-up camera
- USB connectivity
Premium Technology Package - $1850
- Navigation w/voice recognition and 7-in touch-screen
- XM NavTraffic and NavWeather
- Bluetooth streaming audio
Floor mats and trunk mat - $195
Key options not on vehicle:
Auto-dimming mirror w/compass and Homelink - $295
Sport graphic - $120
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
19 / 26 / 00 mpg
Engine:
3.5L DOHC V-6
Horsepower: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 261 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
Continuously variable automatic
Curb weight: 3565 lb
Wheels/tires:
8 x 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
245/40 R18 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires
Competitors:
Acura TL
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus SHO
Infiniti G25
Lexus ES350
Nissan Altima 3.5 SR
Toyota Avalon
Volkswagen CC
2012 Nissan Maxima
2012 Nissan Maxima
Nissan touts the Maxima as a sport sedan, which explains the aggressive "Liquid Motion" styling, wide track, and large wheels with low-profile tires. A gutsy V-6 engine with 290 hp makes the Maxima reasonably quick, but its front-wheel-drive layout and lethargic CVT preclude us from deeming it a true sport sedan. The Maxima handles well for a full-size sedan, but it is ultimately too large and too heavy for back-road thrills. Whereas early Maximas were genuinely exciting and even offered manual transmissions, today's Maxima is an upscale sedan that offers a mix of luxury and comfort for a reasonable price. In that respect, the Maxima succeeds admirably. The ride is well damped and comfortable. The large exterior surrounds a cabin with adequate--but not generous--space for six-foot passengers in the back seat. The interior continues the exterior's near-luxury theme with a nicely trimmed dashboard, attractive control layout, and generous seats finished in supple leather (base models have cloth seats). The wide-ranging list of features includes navigation with real-time traffic information, an audio system with a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive, heated and cooled seats, a backup camera, and a dual-pane sunroof. Fuel economy is about average compared with that of similarly sized V-6 sedans. The Maxima is a good choice in the near-luxury sedan segment, as long as you keep in mind that it's not as sporting as advertised.
2013 Nissan Altima
Though Nissan has relied on CVTs to bring its green quotient up, the Japanese automaker is also counting on design to get its cars sipping less fuel, focusing primarily on cutting vehicle weight, improving aerodynamics, and reducing engine and transmission friction. Along with expected debut dates for each Nissan car, take a look at the automaker's potential future below. Nissan Cars Godzilla may produce offspring, as the report says Nissan is planning an "undetermined" number of GT-R variations to arrive sometime between 2014 and 2016. Before that happens, though, Nissan's next 370Z will arrive in 2014 as a 2015 model, with a leaner body, and perhaps a smaller front-drive sibling dubbed the Mini Z. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the affordable Versa hatchback will arrive next spring as a 2013 model with bolder and sportier styling, including a more angular front end and more sharply raked roofline at the rear. The Maxima will see changes similar to those made to the 2013 Altima, which is lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. Expect to see the redesigned Maxima in 2014 or 2015. Those who have been waiting for the Nissan Leaf to drop in price may be in luck, as the price will be changed for the better as a result of moving production from Japan to Smyrna, Tennessee. Instead of a redesign, the main focus for the Leaf is extending battery range so green-conscious shoppers can have more confidence in an all-electric car without having to suffer from range anxiety. Nissan Trucks/SUVs Just like how families’ needs have changed, so has the Pathfinder. With about two more months to go until it arrives in showrooms, the Pathfinder has softened up its appearance while still maintaining its off-road prowess. Ditching the body-on-frame construction for a unibody structure will help it achieve better fuel economy, with estimates reaching for 20/26 mpg city/highway. Its 3.5-liter V-6 replaces the outgoing SUV's 4.0-liter, with which it will be paired with an updated CVT. Changes for Nissan's smaller off-roader, the X-Terra, won't be as drastic, with a reskin scheduled for 2014. Don't expect major changes for the Juke either, though a refresh is set for 2014, and the hot-rodded Juke-R continues limited production on a built-to-order basis. The popular-selling Rogue already has a winning formula, but Nissan hopes to improve it by incorporating styling cues found on the Hi-Cross concept, which debuted at the Geneva show earlier this year, in the new car's design. Though powertrain specifics haven't been revealed, it's possible the revised crossover will use something similar to the concept's hybrid drivetrain coupled to a direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine when it debuts in 2014. The third-generation Murano, on the other hand, will arrive one year later in 2015. New sheetmetal is in store for the Frontier, which is scheduled to arrive in 2014. The new skin, designed with aerodynamics in mind, will help it achieve more mpgs, while production moves to Canton, Mississippi. As for full-size Titan pickup and Armada SUV, both are on the same schedule, though it's unclear when we'll see the new versions. The Titan's redesign, scheduled for 2014, is being dragged out as a result of the strain put on engineering resources by the 2011 Japan earthquake. Automotive News reports Nissan is considering offering different variations of the full-size truck, including a regular cab body style. That would be a first for Nissan, and offering the truck with a smaller-displacement engine option along the lines of the F-150 EcoBoost is also a possibility. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)  

Change Vehicle

Research Now

Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Nissan Maxima Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$19,950

Used 2012 Nissan Maxima Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$32,420

Free Price Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.
Select this Vehicle

Compare The 2012 Nissan Maxima

Click Circles to Compare

Your Selected Vehicle's Ranking

rank
32
2012 Nissan Maxima
2012 Nissan Maxima
S FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
19 MPG City | 26 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
rank
1
rank
2
rank
4
rank
5
rank
29
2012 Nissan Maxima
2012 Nissan Maxima
S FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
$32,420
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
rank
11
2012 Nissan Maxima
2012 Nissan Maxima
S FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
290hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2012 Nissan Maxima Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
3.5L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
19 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
26 MPG
Horsepower:
290 hp @ 6400rpm
Torque:
261 ft lb of torque @ 4400rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
36,000 miles / 36 months
Powertrain
60,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 60 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
4
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
2
NHTSA Rating Front Side
3
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Overall
4
NHTSA Rating Rollover
5
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
IIHS Rear Crash
Marginal
IIHS Roof Strength
Acceptable

Find Used Nissan Maximas For Sale

Search through millions of listings in the Automobile Magazine classifieds

5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Nissan Maxima

Depreciation
20.1%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$7,816
20.1%
Insurance
$9,565
24.6%
Fuel Cost
$12,597
32.3%
Financing
$2,204
5.7%
Maintenance
$4,810
12.3%
Repair Costs
$1,572
4%
State Fees
$387
1%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $38,951 What's This?
Value Rating: Below Average