2018 Nissan Maxima Platinum Road Test Review
January 24 2018, Trevor Hofmann
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.
Style and Quality That Rivals Premium Brands
The Maxima is a rarity on today's market. Certainly there are other near full-size front-wheel drive mainstream branded sedans on the market vying for our attention, but the Maxima gets closest to looking and feeling like it comes from a premium marque, and it's one of the sportiest in this category as well.
My tester, finished in full-load Platinum trim, made its premium intentions perfectly clear. After being wowed by its eye-arresting exterior design, the Maxima Platinum interior is easily one of the most impressive from any non-luxury brand. And while unique SR trim has been designed to appeal to a more sport-oriented buyer, even this luxuriously appointed Platinum features a sportier look and feel than most rivals.
The only performance-focused features missing from the Maxima's sportiest SR trim when upgrading to this Platinum are suede-like Alcantara steering wheel and seat inserts, metallic inlays, aluminum sport pedals, and steering wheel paddle shifters for the continuously variable transmission (CVT). This was ok, because I like CVTs best when enjoying the smooth, linear acceleration they provide. When infused into a car like this the Maxima the CVT is ideal, much thanks to having the chops capable of handling curves with a high level of athleticism.
Maxima Delivers Impressive Standard Performance
Of course the suspension is fully independent with the usual MacPherson struts up front and multi-link design in the rear, while the Platinum uses the same machine-finished 18-inch alloys within 245/45 V-rated all-season tires as the base model, which are a bit better for ride quality than the SR's 245/40 19s.
A multi-award-winning 3.5-litre V6 makes a soul-stirring 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, standard across the line. It pulls strongly and matches the aforementioned CVT well, driving the front wheels as per the norm in this class. Highway passing power is as exhilarating as straight-line acceleration from standstill, while high-speed stability is rock solid. Truly, whether piloting down the open freeway, coursing through a winding back road or tooling around town, the Maxima is a fully capable, totally comfortable companion.
Standard Maxima Features Go Beyond Generous
Complementing its performance, Nissan added some important new standard features for 2018, including automatic high beams and predictive forward collision warning with autonomous forward emergency braking, allowing for an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating with its optional LED headlights despite ever-more-challenging criteria, while the infotainment system now includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
It wasn't as if the previous model year was lacking in standard equipment either, with 2018 base SV trim carrying forward with standard auto on/off halogen projector headlamps, LED DRLs, fog lamps, LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror caps, signature LED taillights, dual chromed tailpipes, remote start linked to Intelligent Climate Control, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton start, heatable powered side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, overhead sunglasses storage, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, front and rear parking sensors, a heatable leather-wrapped tilt and telescopic multifunction sport steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a 7.0-inch primary gauge display, cruise control, micro-filtered dual-zone automatic climate control, a large 8.0-inch infotainment display, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, hands-free text messaging assistant, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with an aux plug, two USB ports, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and RDS, plus heatable front seats, leather upholstery, an eight-way powered driver's seat with powered lumbar and manual extendable thigh support, a four-way powered front passenger's seat, and lastly all the active and passive safety features, all for $36,990 plus freight and dealer fees.
Multiple Upgrades Provide Most Everything a Premium Buyer Could Want
The next grade of trim is dubbed SL, and for $39,690 includes everything in base trim plus a dual-panel powered panoramic moonroof, adjustable ambient LED interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, 11-speaker Bose audio, blindspot warning with rear cross traffic alert, and more.
I'm going to leave the $41,890 SR model and its sport-oriented features for another review as only LED low beam headlamps and ventilated front seats transfer over to the top-line Platinum trimmed model I tested, the rest of its equipment being totally exclusive including the 19-inch alloys and sport suspension noted earlier, plus items like aluminum sport pedals, unique diamond-patterned Liquid Chrome inlays, a special Ascot leather and suede-like Alcantara flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, plus the same material used for the upholstery.
Platinum Trim Provides a Whole New Level of Luxury for the Mainstream Sector
Top-line Platinum trim boasts the two features just noted, everything from the base SV and mid-grade SL models, plus mahogany wood-tone faceted inlays, a premium Ascot leather-wrapped flat-bottomed sport steering wheel (sans Alcantara), perforated diamond-quilted Ascot leather seats, a front passenger's powered seat lifter, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, reverse tilting for both side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, memory for the driver's seat, the side mirrors and the powered steering column, an Around View parking monitor with Moving Object Detection (MOD), NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM, Intelligent Driver Alertness that monitors a number of parameters in order to figure out if you're getting tired and may need a break, a powered sunshade for the rear window, and more for $44,150.
As noted earlier but deserving of repeat attention, it all comes in an absolutely gorgeous cabin with more padded, quilted and perforated contrast-stitched leather than you'll likely see this side of a Bentley, not to mention enough knurled metal detailing to make you think you're at the wheel of something classic and British. Of course, from its stunning semi-digital instrumentation, superbly functional and graphically brilliant infotainment touchscreen, excellent audio reproduction, and top-notch driving dynamics you'll know you're aboard something wholly modern, not to mention ideally reliable, while the Maxima is wonderfully comfortable from front to commodious back too. What's more, the 405-litre trunk is more than adequately sized, with 60/40-split rear seatbacks for expanding its usefulness.
Excepting colours, with metallics costing $135 and pearl tones, like my tester's stunning Deep Blue Pearl, adding $300, plus the choice of Camel or Cashmere Beige leather instead of the usual Charcoal black with SR and Platinum models respectively, all trims come fully featured with no options or packages available, but take note that Nissan provides a bevy of dealer-installed accessories from exterior aerodynamics components to interior trim upgrades, not to mention the usual protective and cargo carrying items.
Manufacturer Discounts Make This a Great Time to Buy
Of importance, Nissan was offering a cash purchase discount of $5,500 at the time of writing, or alternatively lease discounts of $1,500 with 2.9-percent interest and a $264 per semi-monthly payment, making this a great time to purchase a new Maxima.
Choose a 2018 Nissan Maxima and you'll be well served, as it delivers one of the most dynamic designs, most attractive high-quality interiors, and sportiest demeanors in its class. I highly recommend it.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Copyright: CanadianAuto Press Inc.