Overview

Overview

The 2013 Nissan Maxima is a midsize family sedan that's aimed at families seeking a little more luxury than the automaker's other midsize offering, the Altima. Its understated exterior styling is a cloak for the high-quality interior and many standard features. Precise steering and quick acceleration are other highlights.

What Experts Think

There's certainly no lack of competition in the larger family sedan category, even if that includes midsize sedans amping up standard features (and price) in the hopes of attracting family-car buyers. With this in mind, members of the automotive press who test-drove the 2013 Nissan Maxima find that the sedan is both appealing and has its faults.

"The 2013 Nissan Maxima serves as an appealing alternative to many entry-level luxury sedans, thanks to its engaging driving dynamics and high-quality construction." (Edmunds)

In general, Consumer Reports is quite impressed with certain aspects of the 2013 Nissan Maxima. The publication finds the ride comfortable enough, the cabin quiet, controls simple to use and front seats supportive and comfortable. The most praise goes to the Maxima's "smooth, powerful 3.5-liter V6 that gives it very quick acceleration and 22 mpg overall, but on premium fuel."

In a bit more harsh tone, Car and Driver takes issue with Nissan's apparent inability to keep pace with the competition in the large family sedan market, particularly "in terms of interior refinement, ride comfort, and overall finesse." Editors comment that the Maxima's ride is firm, "but any such vim is canceled out by the droning CVT," making the sedan less appealing.

Kelley Blue Book finds the Maxima "a premium car that emphasizes sportiness over sheer comfort." Editors also praise its "strong V6 engine and Z-car-like performance [that] help it to compete well with rivals such as the Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus SHO and Volkswagen CC."

"Although Nissan advertises Maxima as a ‘4-door sports car,' it's not athletic enough to live up to that title." (Consumer Guide)

Meanwhile, a Mother Proof review in Cars.com praised the 2013 Nissan Maxima as "Excellent" in the category of family friendly and "some" in the "Fun-Factor."

What Owners Say

Owners reporting their views of the 2013 Nissan Maxima had more positive than negative things to say. Commenting on such sites as Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, Yahoo Autos and others, the general consensus is that the Maxima is a fine family car purchase.

Praise for the Maxima included mentions of its decent fuel economy, power, and ease of driving, reliability, Bluetooth, distinctive look, and interior comfort.

Some complaints included small trunk, stiff ride, feels testy when pushed, no window tint, and wind noise.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 Nissan Maxima is a midsize sedan that's about the same size as the Nissan Altima, although the Maxima has a distinct and sportier appearance and comes with more standard features. The Maxima is available in two trim levels: 3.5 S and 3.5 SV.

Standard equipment on the Maxima 3.5 S is fairly comprehensive, including 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, automatic headlights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, power front seats (eight-way driver's and four-way passenger's), a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system with six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack, and a sunroof. There are no major options available for the 3.5 S.

Bumping up to the Maxima 3.5 SV means the addition of leather upholstery, fog lights, adjustable thigh support on the driver's seat, and the choice of several optional equipment packages. These include a Monitor package (a seven-inch color monitor, rearview camera and iPod/USB audio interface); Cold package (heated front seats, steering wheel and mirrors); Bose Audio package (nine-speaker Bose sound system and satellite radio), and SV Value package (combining Cold and Bose packages, essentially.

Buyers of the Maxima SV can also choose the Premium or Sport package (both with xenon headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, driver seat memory functions, ventilated driver's seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters, Bose audio system and all the contents of the Cold and Monitor packages. Instead of a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, though, are rear bucket seats with a center trunk pass-through.

Premium package also includes ambient lighting, wood trim, and a dual-panel sunroof, while the Sport package swaps out the regular suspension for a sport-tuned version, 19-inch alloy wheels in place of the 18-inchers, and adds special trim details inside and out.

There's also a Technology package that can be tacked onto the SV Value, Premium and Sport packages that includes a seven-inch touchscreen color monitor, a navigation system, voice controls and Bluetooth streaming audio.

Performance

Powering the 2013 Nissan Maxima is a single engine, a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. The V6 engine is mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic. All Maxima's are front-wheel drive.

Although many in the motoring press comment on the power and "gutsiness" of the Maxima V6 engine, they also gripe that the CVT automatic "saps joy" from the powerful motor.

EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.

Other notable complaints include the stiff suspension (in the Sport package) that tends to take away from the feeling of luxury the Maxima otherwise tries to convey.

Interior

Most auto critics applaud the 2013 Nissan Maxima for its comfortable front seats that also offer good support. In addition, most reviewers note that the controls are easy to use, always a plus in a family sedan.

Indeed, as some reviewers point out, Nissan aimed to create a cockpit-like interior for the Maxima. With the premium leather seats standard on SV, the beefier steering wheel and the plethora of available high-tech features, it seems that the automaker hit the mark.

Interior quietness is viewed by many in the motoring press as impressive. As for the materials used in the cabin, the opinion here is varied, with many saying they could be improved.

Roominess in the back seat is an issue for some, as headroom and legroom aren't all that great. And the seatbacks in the back lack the firm lumbar support found in front seats.

One unexpected benefit is the good visibility, which one tester said is "uncommonly good in all directions," thanks to thin roof pillars.

Trunk cargo room is 14.2 cubic feet. This is considered decent enough, although as impressive as trunk space in the Hyundai Genesis and Chrysler 300, two of the Maxima's rivals in the market.

Safety & Reliability

As befits a family sedan, the 2013 Nissan Maxima is equipped with a full complement of standard safety features. These include antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and active front-seat head restraints.

SV models have a rearview camera available as an option.

In government crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 Nissan Maxima received an overall score of four out of five stars, with three stars for frontal-impact protection (four stars-driver, two stars-front passenger), and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Maxima its highest score of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-crash protection, but only the second-best "Acceptable" rating in both the roof strength test and the new small overlap front test.

As far as reliability, the 2013 Nissan Maxima received a three-circle rating in the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability Rating. This means the Maxima is "About Average" for reliability in the class.

 

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - FWD
3.5 S 4dr Sedan 3.5 S V6 FWD 31000
3.5 SV 4dr Sedan 3.5 SV V6 FWD 33240
3.5 SV w/Sport Pkg 4dr Sedan 3.5 SV w/Sport Pkg V6 FWD 33240
3.5 SV w/Premium Pkg 4dr Sedan 3.5 SV w/Premium Pkg V6 FWD 33240

Comparison of 2013 Nissan Maxima with Similar Cars

2013 Nissan Maxima MSRP Invoice
2013 Nissan Maxima $31,000 $28,396
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 BMW 3 Series $32,550 $29,945 2013 Nissan Maxima VS 2013 BMW 3 Series
2013 Chrysler 300 $30,345 $29,167 2013 Nissan Maxima VS 2013 Chrysler 300
2013 Audi A4 $32,500 $30,227 2013 Nissan Maxima VS 2013 Audi A4
2013 Toyota Avalon $30,990 $27,892 2013 Nissan Maxima VS 2013 Toyota Avalon
2013 Volvo S60 $31,900 $29,986 2013 Nissan Maxima VS 2013 Volvo S60

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Nissan Maxima ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Nissan Maxima rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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