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2018 Nissan Maxima Overview

In 2016, Nissan comprehensively redesigned the Maxima, so for 2018, it adds a few standard and optional features designed to keep the model fresh. Across the previous seven generations of Maxima, the model’s styling blended into the mainstream with subtle hints of muscle and sportiness. For 2018, however, Nissan decided to go all out with an aggressive front fascia, dramatic body lines, and a distinctive floating roof. The look works, and the Maxima continues to cut a fresh and handsome figure even into its fourth calendar year on the market. That said, the Maxima, which lands between mid- and full-size, is already smaller than most of the full-size cars it competes with on price and performance, and its athletic roofline further impedes rear-occupant headspace.

All six trims - S, SV, SL, SR, SR Midnight, and Platinum - return for 2018, but SR Midnight now includes the full suite of active and passive safety technology. Otherwise, every trim has standard 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlight accents, navigation, a powered driver’s seat, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additional features include larger wheels, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, a Bose premium audio system, and full LED headlights.

Under the hood, the Maxima has a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque paired with a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). Although the CVT has no actual gears, drivers can use the standard paddle shifters to run through simulated fixed ratios. In addition, every Maxima has a knob that allows drivers to select either Normal or Sport mode, which adjust throttle calibration, engine tuning, stability control, and even auditory response. Front-wheel drive is the only configuration the model offers. The fuel economy ratings of 21 city, 30 highway, and 25 combined mpg fall right in line with other V6 sedans in this price range.

In the realm of safety, the S trim comes with a reversing camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. From there, buyers can scale the trim grade for adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, a surround-view camera system, driver alertness detection, and rear cross-traffic alert. For all this, the model received excellent scores in every category of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash tests, and it is one of the agency’s Top Safety Pick + models for 2017.

The Maxima, like its predecessors, offers a tasteful blend of style, performance, and technology at a reasonable price. However, it also chronically suffers from having its Altima sibling upstage it by offering most of the same content and space for significantly less money. Therefore, if you’re in the market for a Maxima, you may want to wait for the new Altima, which is due in showrooms this year, especially if you don’t need the V6.


Kyree has always been fascinated with the automotive world, especially when it comes to premium European cars. But regardless of the vehicle—whether it's an efficient hybrid or the latest luxury sled—he's always ready to dispense information and advice. These days, he enjoys doing that here at CarGurus.

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