When you're shopping for your next car, you're often comparing neat groupings of models that, for the most part, line up with each other in terms of size, equipment, performance and price. Apples to apples, oranges to oranges, midsize sedan to midsize sedan. Sometimes, though, a car like the 2017 Nissan Maxima comes along that exists outside those neat groupings. It's a disruption to the order, and it presents an interesting -- albeit desirable -- dilemma for shoppers.
The 2017 Nissan Maxima's styling helps it stand out in the midsize sedan crowd.
You see, the Maxima has a price tag and feature set similar to those of a large sedan like the Toyota Avalon, but it's not as roomy on the inside. (It's not even as roomy as a midsize sedan like the Ford Fusion, either.) The Maxima's standard V6 engine offers similarly strong acceleration as the most powerful midsize sedan engines, but its athletic handling capabilities and refined driving experience are more evocative of entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TLX. Yet those entry-luxury sedans obviously give you more brand cachet than the Maxima's humble Nissan badge, and they're also often offered with all-wheel drive and are frequently even sportier to drive.
So is the 2017 Nissan Maxima an oddball to ignore or an intriguing alternative to the status quo? If you go by traditional sales figures, most people go with the former. But we think the Maxima is worth taking a look. Apples to oranges, it's one of the more interesting and appealing midsize sedans out there.
The 2017 Nissan Maxima is a five-passenger midsize sedan available in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, the sporty SR and the top-of-the-line Platinum.
Standard features of the base S model include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, LED running lights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Electronics features include a large gauge cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio, HD radio and a six-CD changer.
The SV model adds heated outside mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats and an upgraded driver seat with extendable thigh support and two-way power lumbar. The Dynamic package adds a "premium" rear spoiler, different 18-inch wheels and side sill extensions.
The SL model gets a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, active noise cancellation, active engine sound enhancement, a premium 11-speaker Bose audio system and adaptive cruise control. It also adds several safety features (see Safety section below).
The sporty SR adds 19-inch wheels (with available summer performance tires), a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters that engage simulated gear ratios, Active Ride Control (uses the brakes to quell body motions over bumps), Active Trace Control (uses targeted braking to keep the vehicle on its intended path) and active engine braking that helps slow the car when heading aggressively into corners or approaching a stop. The SR also has LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, and upgraded leather upholstery with quilted simulated suede seat inserts and special interior trim. The SR does not have a panoramic sunroof, but it can be equipped with summer tires (packaged with a full-size spare tire) and the Midnight Edition package that includes a "sport" rear spoiler, a rear diffuser and gloss black wheels.
The Maxima's Platinum trim level comes standard with the panoramic sunroof. You can't get it on the SR, though.
To the SL's equipment roster, the Platinum adds the LED headlights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory settings, premium diamond-quilted leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a power rear sunshade, a 360-degree parking camera system (with a moving object detection system) and a driver attention alert system. The Platinum also features Nissan Connect (see Safety section for more information). The Medallion Edition package adds that "premium" rear spoiler, different 18-inch wheels, interior accent lighting and exterior ground lighting.