New for 2014

The 2014 Nissan Maxima adds an available S Value Package. SV models gain a standard rearview camera, USB connectivity, and seven-inch color monitor.

Vehicle Overview

The Maxima is Nissan’s flagship full-size sedan, slotting above the midsize Altima. It is sold in S and SV grades with a choice of Sport or Premium Packages.


The 2014 Nissan Maxima is touted as a “four-door sports car” despite its front-drive underpinnings. It is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 290 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque, paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a sport mode that has simulated gears. The Maxima falls a bit short of Nissan’s claims, though, because its handling and driving dynamics are not up to par with sporty cars such as the BMW 3 Series.

On the road, the Maxima’s ride is rough especially with the optional Sport Package, which comes with a firmer suspension and larger 19-inch wheels. On the other hand, the CVT works well when driving at a normal pace and “capably follows the driver’s intent” in manual mode. Fuel economy leaves much to be desired in the Maxima since the EPA rates it at 19/26 mpg city/highway, making it one of the least efficient full-size sedans.
Interior space in the 2014 Maxima is snug especially in the rear seats where there is less room than in the midsize Altima. Inside, the Maxima uses high-quality plastics and upholstery in touch points while lower door panels felt cheap. Available features on the Maxima include a navigation system with a 9.3-GB hard drive, rearview camera, a large panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, HID headlights, and heated front seats. Center stack controls are “clearly labeled, and logically arranged.”

The Nissan Maxima has four-star safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and the IIHS gave it a good score in the side and moderate front overlap front categories, acceptable in the roof strength and small overlap front tests, and marginal in head restraints and seats testing (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

The Maxima remains a reasonably fun-to-drive full-size sedan, but its front-drive underpinnings and the prevalence of torque steer ruin an otherwise comfortable and engaging car. Additionally, the car’s steep pricing, which starts in the low $30,000 range and maxes out over $40,000 (before incentives), puts it in the same field as sport sedans like the Infiniti Q50, and the Acura TL and TSX, which are cars that provide a better blend of performance and refinement than the Maxima.

You’ll Like

  • Well-tuned CVT gearbox
  • User-friendly infotainment system and center stack
  • Somewhat sporty driving dynamics

You Won’t Like

  • Snug cabin
  • Expensive
  • Unimpressive fuel economy

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Avalon
  • Chrysler 300
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Kia Cadenza
  • Hyundai Azera

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