• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Road Masters: 2012 Nissan Maxima


    July 2, 2012

    Drew Dowdell - Managing Editor, CheersandGears.com

    When most people think of stalwart Japanese cars, the first names that come to mind are typically the Accord and Camry. However, Nissan's had a name in the game for just as long with the Maxima. The Maxima was the first of the Japanese mid-size cars to go big, growing to 188 inches in 1988 while the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry remained decidedly more compact for a few more years. This gave the Maxima a leg up in being considered more of a luxury car than your otherwise typical Japanese sedan. The 1988 Maxima was also called a 4 Door Sports Car by Nissan in a nod to the powerful-for-time 160 horsepower V6 and a more sport tuned independent suspension. Over time, the Maxima has gained horsepower and luxury while giving up its status to the Altima as Nissan's mainstream sedan

    So is Nissan's luxury sedan a master of the road?

    gallery_51_134_122746.png

    I picked up this 2012 Nissan Maxima with just 2,600 miles on the clock at Louisville airport for a trip to Evansville Indiana, a drive of about 100 miles. As you approach the car, you notice the sporty haunches, low slung grill and aggressive stance. From the back, there is almost a hint of Mercedes S-Class in that ass. I only had roll aboard luggage with me for this trip but I immediately noticed the smallness of the trunk opening and relative lack of trunk space for a car of this size. Large luggage could be a struggle here.

    Getting in the driver seat, the view is ...well.. modern minimalist. You're greeted with a large sea of nearly black dashboard that looks like hard plastic but is mostly soft touch and padded. The seat fabric is made of an almost faux suede cloth that feels very nice on the hands. The driver and front passenger seats are nicely supportive, but could use a bit more side bolstering for a car being billed as a sports car. My only big complaint with the seat was with the head rest. There is no way to tilt it forward and it sits too far behind your head to be of use while driving.

    gallery_51_134_78792.png

    Back seat passengers will be happy with the generous legroom and headroom offered. There is a rear center armrest, but when you open the cup holder the lid blocks you from putting your hand there.

    During my trip I was scheduled to be on 3 conference calls. The Bluetooth setup in the Maxima is possibly one of the easiest I've experienced. The instructions are: Press the phone button, no phone found, would you like to add?, yes, searching for phone, enter code, done. Thanks to the well sound insulated cabin, my conference calls were easy to hear and participate in.

    Push button start is standard on all Maximas, and pressing that button fires up a lively, 290 horsepower, 261 ft-lb torque, VQ V6 engine backed by Nissan's CVT transmission. Some people don't like CVT transmissions because of the lack of a traditional shifting feel, but it is really their own loss. The CVT gives the Maxima a smoothness that Buick would be jealous of. Pressing the pedal firmly to the floor and the Maxima will dart to 60 in just 6.1 seconds. During such acceleration, if you keep the wheel perfectly straight everything will be fine. If you need to turn while under heavy throttle, you can get a bit of torque steer to fight. Driven lightly, the CVT can actually accelerate the car without engine rpm changing. From a dead stop, bring the engine RPM up to about 1,400 and the car can accelerate up to about 50 miles per hour before the tach needle will start to move. Nissan has programmed the CVT to give you a down-shift feel when you give it a sudden amount of gas.

    Once you're on your trip, the smoothness of the Maxima really shines. The suspension soaks up road imperfections with the skill of a soft luxury car. The cabin is well insulated, but there was a noticeable amount of tire slap over expansion joints. Even at highway cruising speeds, the VQ V6 is still able to be heard under the hood giving the 4-Door-Sports-Car a bit of a muscle soundtrack to ride along with.

    In my fairly base model Maxima, the radio felt a bit weak, and with no USB input for my iPod (an auxiliary input is offered) I didn't listen to the radio much.

    gallery_51_134_310560.png

    The Maxima and I spent 388 miles together, during which I averaged 24.5 mpg, nearly all of that being highway. EPA rated at 19 city, 26 highway and requesting premium gas for best performance, the Maxima's fuel costs would be a good bit higher than similar size and powered sedans from the competition.

    Another issue is price; the 2012 Maxima bases a $32,240 plus destination charge. At that price you would have needed to already pass up the less expensive, but similarly powerful and sized Volkswagen Passat V6, Chrysler 300, and Honda Accord EX-L V6... all of which get better fuel economy than the Maxima.

    Is the 2012 Nissan Maxima a master of the road? It does everything well that a good road trip car should as long as you don't have a lot of junk for the trunk, but there may be better options in this size class if you are watching costs.

    Higher Res Gallery:

    Nissan Motor America did not provide the vehicle and is in no way affiliated with this evaluation.

    Our Road Masters series is a different kind of review focusing entirely on how well the car performs on a road trip. The vehicles may or may not be provided by manufacturers and won't always be new cars.

    Drew Dowdell is managing editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter @CheersnGears

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    Great review, thank you for writting this one up. I am a bit sad to see the current status of the Maxima. This was an amazing sports sedan that actually stood out IMO to the rest of the crowd in the early days as the body style and interior made a mark.

    Now this just reminds me of the bland Infinity line. I can see it in the Jelly Bean Nose, the rear end is nice but they have lost their Language Mojo.

    Thanks again for the write up, glad to see the Maxima getting a bit more coverage.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The pictures are very nice and appear as professional as what one would see on, say, Autoblog.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Good review.

    Picture quality is good. Composition and processing can be improved. :P

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Great review, thank you for writting this one up. I am a bit sad to see the current status of the Maxima. This was an amazing sports sedan that actually stood out IMO to the rest of the crowd in the early days as the body style and interior made a mark.

    Now this just reminds me of the bland Infinity line. I can see it in the Jelly Bean Nose, the rear end is nice but they have lost their Language Mojo.

    Thanks again for the write up, glad to see the Maxima getting a bit more coverage.

    A very good response, and I really agree with you here.

    The photo galler is nice, but IMHO this is one of the weakest products in terms of new cars available in the US currently.

    Would you actually buy this over a Regal, a 300, an Accord, or such...

    I know I wouldn't.

    Nice, well worded and well written review, and thanks for the great photographs.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The only reason the Maxima is weak is price. While the Passat may not be the most exciting car in the segment visually, you can get a similarly equipped V6 Passat for almost $7k less and it is every bit as fast and about the same in the corners as the Maxima. If you don't care much about 0-60, you can get an absolutely loaded Passat TDI with leather, heated seats, sunroof, Navi for $1k less than a base Maxima and then get 40+mpg highway.

    The Maxima is a fine car and with a great power train... it is simply $7k too expensive compared to its competition.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Overall, I kind of agree, but just find the Passat, Regal, et al to be much better cars in terms of the small details.

    for some reason the Maxima has never been very appealing to me, and yes, I know that's subjective, and yes, I know its a fine car.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Good review.

    Picture quality is good. Composition and processing can be improved. :P

    here's the link to help improve it :neenerneener:

    It is not the gear, it is the photographer that will fix those two problems. Even a person with Hasselblad can have those problems. :P

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I like the current Maxima a lot, save for one thing... yep, you guessed it, the CVT. Still couldn't make myself like the non-shifting feel during a one-hour test drive. That aside, it was a much better all-around drive for me -- comfort plus responsiveness -- than the Altima. As it always has been to me.

    Given that Nissan markets the Maxima as a full-size sedan, however, I think that works against them. They didn't grow this generation enough, and so the Altima is actually slightly bigger than this car on the outside. Because of that, I had hoped that Nissan would make this generation a true full-sizer, but they didn't. Instead, we get a car sized like the Malibu, Fusion, Camry, Sonata, Passat, and Accord but marketed against the Impala, Taurus, Avalon, and Azera (no VW or Honda full-size offerings currently). No idea what will happen for MY '15... maybe they'll stretch it out finally.

    But enough of my rambling. Good, honest review, Drew.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I would definitely put the Passat into the full size class by today's standards and the Maxima is much closer to the Passat in size than the '13 Malibu.

    I really enjoyed the CVT. I found it very responsive and a great mate to the VQ.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Passat, then, is in the same boat as Accord... bigger than its competition, while still priced and equipped against it.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It still seems to be a popular car, at least in the NYC metro area. I get quite a few of them when working valet at the local catering halls. The CVT I guess is just something I'd have to get used to. It doesnt seem to work as well paired up with the 4-cyl in the Altima. Why have paddle shifters either?? Esp annoying ones mounted to the column that get in the way. (Yes, I'm aware that's the way they're "supposed" to be) That being said, I do like the wide and low-slung feel that you get from behind the wheel and some of the higher optioned models feel much nicer inside but then you're talking $40k plus which isn't much value for the money.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    To me, the previous 04+ body style Maxima was the looker. It was style. Except it had junk interiors.

    The new Maxima does nothing for me, despite it's mechanical highlights.

    I suppose it leases well. If someone thinks the Altima is bland, just upsell and switch.

    Give Nissan credit, they still move buttloads of them.

    This car, despite how nice it may be would be near the bottom of my desirability list.

    CVT's are still improving, give Nissan credit for keeping them at the top.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I drove a 2013 Altima briefly on the weekend, 4 cylinder SL model.

    I came away quite impressed. The interior quality is much improved, nice seats, it handles very well for its class (much better than my wife's 09 Accord), and is priced well. The CVT would take some getting used to but at under 3200lbs and well under 2000rpm on the highway I can see how it gets very good fuel economy.

    Edited by frogger
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Altima to me lacks some of the awkwardness that the Maxima has. I actually like the current 2013 Altima better than the flagship Maxima...by a pretty fair margin.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.


    Sign In Now



  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. 94commo
      94commo
      (50 years old)
    2. Aerodynamic
      Aerodynamic
      (30 years old)
    3. LPE427Fbird
      LPE427Fbird
      (42 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      The past few years has seen Nissan expanding their lineup of NISMO performance models around the world. But that isn't enough as Nissan plans on expanding NISMO into more markets.
      To that end, the company announced a new unit called the NISMO Cars Business Unit. This will be part of Autech Japan, Inc - a Nissan group company that convert vehicles for disabled drivers and tunes performance vehicles. Nissan hopes that the new unit combined with the efforts Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. and other group companies can deliver more NISMO products in a shorter timeframe.
      "As a Nissan sub-brand, NISMO further builds upon the core values of Nissan cars. With the combined expertise of Nissan group companies, NISMO road cars will make customers enjoy Nissan cars more than ever," said Takao Katagiri, president and CEO of both Autech Japan and Nissan Motorsports International.
      Nissan doesn't make any mention of what models are under consideration for the NISMO treatment. Currently, Nissan sells NISMO versions of the 370Z, GT-R, Juke, and Sentra in the U.S.
      Source: Nissan 
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Nissan sets up new unit to boost NISMO road car business
      More high-performance models to be rolled out globally YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has set up a new unit to expand its NISMO road car business by making a greater range of models available to customers in more markets.
      The NISMO Cars Business Department is part of Autech Japan, Inc., a Nissan group company that makes converted vehicles. Using talent from Nissan, Autech, Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. and other group companies, it will plan and develop more appealing products in a shorter time.
      Nissan plans to expand the range of NISMO road cars to new segments, market them more globally and boost the lineup in existing markets, including Japan, North America, Europe and the Middle East. This will help increase sales of NISMO cars, which are now about 15,000 units a year.
      Nissan introduced the NISMO brand to its mainstream model lineup in 2013 to bring customers more innovations and excitement. Featuring performance and styling developed through NISMO's motorsports activities, the cars offer a sporty driving experience combined with Nissan's quality, reliability and durability.
      NISMO road cars introduced so far include the GT-R, 370Z, JUKE and Sentra in the U.S. – plus the Note and Patrol in markets outside the U.S.
      "As a Nissan sub-brand, NISMO further builds upon the core values of Nissan cars," said Takao Katagiri, president and CEO of both Autech Japan and Nissan Motorsports International. "With the combined expertise of Nissan group companies, NISMO road cars will make customers enjoy Nissan cars more than ever."
      The new business unit will also work with Nissan Motorsports International on marketing. This includes showing NISMO road cars at Nissan dealerships and showrooms and holding events and activities for NISMO car owners.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The past few years has seen Nissan expanding their lineup of NISMO performance models around the world. But that isn't enough as Nissan plans on expanding NISMO into more markets.
      To that end, the company announced a new unit called the NISMO Cars Business Unit. This will be part of Autech Japan, Inc - a Nissan group company that convert vehicles for disabled drivers and tunes performance vehicles. Nissan hopes that the new unit combined with the efforts Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. and other group companies can deliver more NISMO products in a shorter timeframe.
      "As a Nissan sub-brand, NISMO further builds upon the core values of Nissan cars. With the combined expertise of Nissan group companies, NISMO road cars will make customers enjoy Nissan cars more than ever," said Takao Katagiri, president and CEO of both Autech Japan and Nissan Motorsports International.
      Nissan doesn't make any mention of what models are under consideration for the NISMO treatment. Currently, Nissan sells NISMO versions of the 370Z, GT-R, Juke, and Sentra in the U.S.
      Source: Nissan 
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Nissan sets up new unit to boost NISMO road car business
      More high-performance models to be rolled out globally YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has set up a new unit to expand its NISMO road car business by making a greater range of models available to customers in more markets.
      The NISMO Cars Business Department is part of Autech Japan, Inc., a Nissan group company that makes converted vehicles. Using talent from Nissan, Autech, Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. and other group companies, it will plan and develop more appealing products in a shorter time.
      Nissan plans to expand the range of NISMO road cars to new segments, market them more globally and boost the lineup in existing markets, including Japan, North America, Europe and the Middle East. This will help increase sales of NISMO cars, which are now about 15,000 units a year.
      Nissan introduced the NISMO brand to its mainstream model lineup in 2013 to bring customers more innovations and excitement. Featuring performance and styling developed through NISMO's motorsports activities, the cars offer a sporty driving experience combined with Nissan's quality, reliability and durability.
      NISMO road cars introduced so far include the GT-R, 370Z, JUKE and Sentra in the U.S. – plus the Note and Patrol in markets outside the U.S.
      "As a Nissan sub-brand, NISMO further builds upon the core values of Nissan cars," said Takao Katagiri, president and CEO of both Autech Japan and Nissan Motorsports International. "With the combined expertise of Nissan group companies, NISMO road cars will make customers enjoy Nissan cars more than ever."
      The new business unit will also work with Nissan Motorsports International on marketing. This includes showing NISMO road cars at Nissan dealerships and showrooms and holding events and activities for NISMO car owners.
    • By William Maley
      The midsize truck class has been seeing a bit of resurgence over the past couple of years thanks to GM's all-new midsizers (Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon) and Toyota doing a refresh to the Tacoma. Even the Nissan Frontier, a truck that hasn't changed since its redesign back in 2005 saw its sales increased by 47 percent last year. But when compared to the current crop of trucks, the Frontier lacks many of the features and touches other models have.
      But that could be changing.
      “The Frontier has a future. Trucks are in our DNA, we’ve been doing them for a long time,” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president at Nissan North America during a roundtable discussion with reporters.
      A possible candidate is the Nissan Navara, sold elsewhere in the world. But Meunier put a stop to this idea.
      “We’ll do something better than the Navara,” he said, adding that the Navara is a bit more of a lifestyle vehicle, “like a Honda Ridgeline.”
      “We like real trucks.”
      (Author's Note: We're wondering if anyone at Nissan North America has driven the Navara as many of the reviews we have been reading about say it is a real truck in terms of ride and capability. -WM)
      Meunier also said that with the recent acquisition of Mitsubishi could play a role with the new Frontier. Like Nissan, Mitsubishi has a fair amount of expertise with midsize trucks and the two could collaborate with developing a new model.
      One item still up in the air is when we could see a new Frontier. Meunier didn't give a timeframe during the discussion.
      Source: AutoGuide

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The midsize truck class has been seeing a bit of resurgence over the past couple of years thanks to GM's all-new midsizers (Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon) and Toyota doing a refresh to the Tacoma. Even the Nissan Frontier, a truck that hasn't changed since its redesign back in 2005 saw its sales increased by 47 percent last year. But when compared to the current crop of trucks, the Frontier lacks many of the features and touches other models have.
      But that could be changing.
      “The Frontier has a future. Trucks are in our DNA, we’ve been doing them for a long time,” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president at Nissan North America during a roundtable discussion with reporters.
      A possible candidate is the Nissan Navara, sold elsewhere in the world. But Meunier put a stop to this idea.
      “We’ll do something better than the Navara,” he said, adding that the Navara is a bit more of a lifestyle vehicle, “like a Honda Ridgeline.”
      “We like real trucks.”
      (Author's Note: We're wondering if anyone at Nissan North America has driven the Navara as many of the reviews we have been reading about say it is a real truck in terms of ride and capability. -WM)
      Meunier also said that with the recent acquisition of Mitsubishi could play a role with the new Frontier. Like Nissan, Mitsubishi has a fair amount of expertise with midsize trucks and the two could collaborate with developing a new model.
      One item still up in the air is when we could see a new Frontier. Meunier didn't give a timeframe during the discussion.
      Source: AutoGuide
    • By William Maley
      Nissan Group reports March 2017 U.S. sales
      NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group today announced U.S. sales in March 2017 set an all-time record at 168,832 units, an increase of 3 percent over the prior year.
      Nissan highlights:
      Nissan Division finished March with 150,566 sales, up 1 percent and also the best month on record. Overall sales of Nissan crossovers, trucks and SUVs set an all-time record, up 26 percent. Sales of the Rogue compact crossover set a March record at 39,512, up 43 percent. Sales of the Pathfinder SUV had an all-time record month at 10,442, up 20 percent. Nissan TITAN sales climbed to 5,539, up 335 percent. Nissan Armada finished the month up 215 percent, with 3,094 sales. NISSAN DIVISION
      MARCH
       
      MARCH
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Nissan Division Total
      150,566
       
      149,784
       
      0.5
       
      373,330
       
      217,760
       
      71.4
      Versa
      12,336
       
      16,244
       
      -24.1
       
      31,075
       
      36,499
       
      -14.9
      Sentra
      21,960
       
      26,201
       
      -16.2
       
      51,414
       
      62,944
       
      -18.3
      Cube
      0
       
      3
       
      -100.0
       
      0
       
      13
       
      -100.0
      Altima
      28,511
       
      34,856
       
      -18.2
       
      73,985
       
      85,332
       
      -13.3
      Maxima
      6,961
       
      6,588
       
      5.7
       
      15,597
       
      16,225
       
      -3.9
      LEAF
      1,478
       
      1,246
       
      18.6
       
      3,287
       
      2,931
       
      12.1
      Juke
      1,487
       
      2,498
       
      -40.5
       
      4,088
       
      5,871
       
      -30.4
      370Z
      500
       
      576
       
      -13.2
       
      1,248
       
      1,344
       
      -7.1
      GT-R
      75
       
      66
       
      13.6
       
      195
       
      162
       
      20.4
      Total Car
      73,308
       
      88,278
       
      -17.0
       
      180,889
       
      211,321
       
      -14.4
      Frontier
      6,973
       
      8,198
       
      -14.9
       
      15,566
       
      21,395
       
      -27.2
      Titan
      5,539
       
      1,274
       
      334.8
       
      11,295
       
      3,271
       
      245.3
      Xterra
      1
       
      0
       
      N/A
       
      1
       
      28
       
      -96.4
      Pathfinder
      10,442
       
      8,713
       
      19.8
       
      26,720
       
      22,408
       
      19.2
      Armada
      3,094
       
      981
       
      215.4
       
      7,291
       
      2,848
       
      156.0
      Rogue
      39,512
       
      27,713
       
      42.6
       
      101,421
       
      69,036
       
      46.9
      Murano
      7,317
       
      8,657
       
      -15.5
       
      17,249
       
      21,618
       
      -20.2
      Quest
      620
       
      1,763
       
      -64.8
       
      3,870
       
      5,750
       
      -32.7
      NV
      1,863
       
      1,791
       
      4.0
       
      4,533
       
      4,517
       
      0.4
      NV200
      1,897
       
      2,416
       
      -21.5
       
      4,495
       
      5,352
       
      -16
      Total Truck
      77,258
       
      61,506
       
      25.6
       
      192,441
       
      156,223
       
      23.2
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      156,223
       
       
      INFINITI
      MARCH
       
      MARCH
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Infiniti Total
      18,266
       
      13,775
       
      32.6
       
      43,561
       
      32,660
       
      33.4
      Infiniti Q40
      0
       
      22
       
      -100.0
       
      0
       
      48
       
      -100.0
      Infiniti Q50
      3,800
       
      5,590
       
      -32.0
       
      10,450
       
      11,868
       
      -11.9
      Infiniti Q60
      1,829
       
      105
       
      1641.9
       
      3,371
       
      409
       
      724.2
      Infiniti Q70
      1,072
       
      577
       
      85.8
       
      1,962
       
      1,563
       
      25.5
      Infiniti QX30
      2,960
       
      0
       
      0.0
       
      6,532
       
      0
       
      0.0
      Infiniti QX50
      1,724
       
      1,512
       
      14.0
       
      4,318
       
      3,902
       
      10.7
      Infiniti QX60
      3,821
       
      3,905
       
      -2.2
       
      8,668
       
      9,007
       
      -3.8
      Infiniti QX70
      1,077
       
      661
       
      62.9
       
      2,905
       
      1,809
       
      60.6
      Infiniti QX80
      1,983
       
      1,403
       
      41.3
       
      5,355
       
      4,054
       
      32.1
      Total Car
      6,701
       
      6,294
       
      6.5
       
      15,783
       
      13,888
       
      13.6
      Total Truck
      11,565
       
      7,481
       
      54.6
       
      27,778
       
      18,772
       
      48.0
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      NISSAN GROUP
      MARCH
       
      MARCH
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      TOTAL VEHICLE
      168,832
       
      163,559
       
      3.2
       
      416,891
       
      250,420
       
      66.5
      Total Car
      80,009
       
      94,572
       
      -15.4
       
      196,672
       
      225,209
       
      -12.7
      Total Truck
      88,823
       
      68,987
       
      28.8
       
      220,219
       
      174,995
       
      25.8
      Selling days
      27
       
      27
       
       
       
      75
       
      75
       
       
       
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)