2020 Nissan Maxima review: Not your typical four-door

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The Maxima has aged nicely. It truly is nonetheless aggressive still handsome.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Present day spouse and children cars are likely to be quite sedate. Couple of them crack new ground when it will come to appears or functionality, but Nissan wants you to consider of its Maxima as a little something various, a significant sedan with loads of soul. Right after tests a 2020 Platinum design, for the most element, I concur with this framing… mainly. 


  • Respectable infotainment tech
  • Clean, strong V6
  • Brisk acceleration

You should not Like

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

Sporty appears inside of and out

When the existing-generation design launched five many years back, the automaker touted it as a “4-doorway sporting activities car,” a descriptor Nissan first employed with the 3rd-generation Maxima in 1989. Sure, this is a bit hyperbolic, but at minimum when parked next to a Toyota Avalon or Chrysler three hundred the Maxima appears more intriguing, with its aggressive grille, pumped-up fenders and quad exhaust retailers, things that imply it is really a bit rowdier than typical.   

The existing-generation Maxima is no spring hen, even soon after very last year’s refresh. Nonetheless, its inside, in particular in Platinum trim with the Reserve package, has aged very nicely. The overall design and style is appealing, with uncomplicated-to-use secondary controls and a somewhat simple layout. The center stack is angled marginally toward the driver for a more cockpitlike feel.

My top-shelf Platinum-trim tester’s inside trimmings are awesome, with a good deal of smooth plastics on the doorway panels and dashboard, moreover a sprinkle of contrast colour stitching to liven things up. This car’s steering wheel feels excellent in the hand, being the two 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 employed on the seats and doorways. Form of an orangish-brown, this semianiline cow conceal appears upscale, in particular with the diamond-stitch sample Nissan designers applied to it. Sadly, this leather-based is just not all that distinctive, sensation more like a vinyl shower curtain than any purely natural material. 

Rear-seat air vents continue to keep travellers touring in financial state class joyful ditto for the heated outboard seats, which are involved in the Reserve Package, a modest $one,140 additional. The Maxima’s back bench is supportive and snug, giving a excellent amount of money of legroom, but it is really not significantly friendly for taller individuals. If I do not slouch, my noggin hits the headliner. 

Tried-and-true tech 

Generating positive I never ever get missing, this Maxima characteristics a NissanConnect infotainment technique with built-in navigation on an eight-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the design array. That multimedia array appears quite aged, with some a lot less-than-fashionable graphics, but it is really uncomplicated to use and surprisingly 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 using the hardware knob on the center console. It truly is awesome that you have a pair of approaches to interact with the infotainment technique. 

Nissan Basic safety Protect 360 is standard across the Maxima lineup. It features a array of superior driver aids like automatic unexpected emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot checking and rear cross-website traffic warn. Adaptive cruise handle and website traffic-indicator recognition are standard on SV styles and up, however the beneficial but somewhat gritty-on the lookout 360-diploma All-around Perspective Monitor is only involved on SR and Platinum grades. Nissan’s superb ProPilot Help adaptive cruise handle with lane centering is not supplied on the Maxima, so, sad trombone. 

The driver aids this car does give are Okay. Blind-spot checking is often a excellent detail to have, attentively reminding you of website traffic in adjacent lanes. As for the adaptive cruise handle, it is really flawlessly enough, adjusting car pace as demanded by surrounding website traffic. In a natural way, lane centering would be greatly appreciated. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

CVTs get a bad rap 

Most automotive enthusiasts dislike constantly variable transmissions, and it is really uncomplicated to understand why. All way too often, they’re teamed with droning, malnourished 4-cylinder engines, a combination that’s about as pleasant as being locked in a space with an infinite Dave Matthews Band playlist blaring. But they do not have to be torture, as the Maxima proves. When a strong and refined powerplant is factored into the driveline equation, instantly a CVT’s bad behavior gets a lot a lot less objectionable. 

With three hundred horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque on faucet, the Maxima’s three.five-liter V6 presents a good deal of functionality, obtaining up to highway pace effortlessly if not very instantaneously. Even when wound out, this engine is sleek and rather hushed, sounding like it is really running somewhere off in the length rather than a couple of inches forward of your feet. 

Powertrain refinement and first rate torque make the standard Xtronic CVT considerably more pleasant to stay with than you may possibly count on. But a little something referred to as D-Phase shifting logic performs an important purpose as nicely. This element simulates gear modifications under reasonable to hefty acceleration, which allows decrease droning powertrain seems. Over and above that, the Maxima can also acknowledge if it is really heading via a high-G corner and continue to be in a decrease transmission ratio to help you energy out of the convert. 

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

There are, even so, a pair of downsides to the Maxima’s CVT. It can be shifted manually with the gear selector, but only SR styles arrive with paddle shifters, which is a bit unusual. Also, when cruising at speeds around 40 mph, the drivetrain can feel a bit gritty since the transmission loves to continue to keep the engine revs as low as bodily probable for improved gas financial state.  

And that ideal there is why automakers decide for CVTs. These “gearboxes” can appreciably boost a vehicle’s effectiveness, and the Maxima is no exception. This car is rated at twenty miles for every gallon city and 30 mpg highway. Put together, the EPA states it ought to return 24 mpg, however in regular driving I’m averaging around 29.seven, an outstanding determine. 

Competent dynamics 

You can find a syrupiness to the Maxima’s steering, which is of the electro-hydraulic selection, a particular viscosity that’s a minor hard to describe. The feel via its wheel is 1 of denseness: It truly is unexpectedly hefty. Whilst not extremely specific, this sedan is nonetheless very agile, and it tracks as straight as a Japanese bullet teach, other than in corners the place there can be a tiny wisp of torque steer under hefty acceleration.  

Experience top quality flirts with outright stiffness, but it is really nonetheless a step away from crossing that line. The Maxima feels nicely managed and human body roll in corners is generally nonexistent. As for this Nissan’s binders, they have a awesome chunk to them, and the pedal is child’s engage in to modulate, being neither sink-to-the-ground squishy nor extremely eager at preliminary application.  

2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

The visually intriguing styling carries on to this Nissan’s rear.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Nonetheless a handsome, sporty-ish 4-door   

The existing-generation Nissan Maxima is pleasant adequate to travel and it nonetheless appears terrific five many years soon after first heading on sale. It truly is hard to argue with what the automaker has sent here, CVT and all, however some drivers may possibly item to the price tag. A foundation Maxima S stickers for about $35,375, which include $925 in destination charges. Which is about 4 grand more than an entry-amount Chrysler three hundred, however it undercuts the Toyota Avalon by about $one,500. The top-shelf Platinum design kicks off at around 42 grand, but with the Reserve package, a rear diffuser, underbody lighting and a couple of other odds and finishes my critique device checks out for just about $forty six,000, which is very a bit of income for a mass-market place equipment. Nonetheless, if you want a sporty 4-doorway that’s on the more substantial facet and characteristics somewhat aggressive styling, the Maxima matches the bill.