I remember the first time I ever drove a Maxima. It was in the late 90s, and a friend of mine has just traded in her Mazda for the Nissan. I got behind the wheel, touched the gas…and felt my eyes open wide.
Today, the Maxima has just as much oomph on the gas pedal, but has continued to maintain a somewhat-classy image, too.
The 2013 version is another winner for Nissan. Here’s what I found after spending a week cruising around town…
Granted, all of that eye-popping comes with a price. The Maxima comes with two trim levels, the S and SV (I drove the SV). With a base price of $35k, you’ll expect a certain snazzy look and feel, and, thankfully, the Maxima delivers.
The overall look of the car hasn’t changed in the last few years, but that’s okay because it was a good design to begin with. Sleek lines give the “4-Door Sports Car” (their tag line, not mine) a potent, racy edge. The ride itself also complies with what most car buyers associate with sportiness; a nimble, tight feel on the curves, and a snug grip to the road.
Inside the Maxima seems to want to compete with some of the luxury kids. I drive an Infiniti and found that the Maxima nudging into that ballpark. The seats are comfortable, the display is laid out well, the sight lines are good.
It’s a touch snug for backseat passengers, but nothing that would keep you from jumping in. I’ve always felt - even going back to those first-look days in the 90s - that the Maxima was the family car that would satisfy a sports car enthusiast. That hasn’t changed.
You’ll find a generous supply of standard equipment on both the S and SV; stepping up with some of the options can bump your final sticker price up into the low 40s, so the Maxima BETTER blur the lines with Infiniti and some of the other big boys. And check before you buy; some of those options are available only on the SV model.
Combined mileage will fall somewhere in the low 20s, with highway mpg at about 26.
I’m a fan of the Maxima, and have been for some time. Nissan’s redesign in ‘09 did nothing to hurt the car’s image and performance, and the ‘13 model carries on the tradition. It’s worth a test drive, especially for families who still like a bit of a growl in their family sedan.