2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum new car reviews

For 2019, the Nissan Maxima benefits from a mild refresh to keep its looks more inline with those of its bigger sibling, the Altima. Yep, that's right, the Altima has .1 of an inch on the Maxima's overall length (192.9 vs. 192.8), and 2 inches on its wheelbase (111 vs. 109). What the Maxima loses in length it makes up for with its 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6—the Altima has to make do with a 2.0-liter inline four as its top engine. Both cars, incidentally, are considered mid-size. 

What else is included in this mid-year refresh?

From Nissan:

  • Aggressive styling updates, including standard LED headlights, new front fascia and grille, revised rear fascia with LED taillights and integrated quad-tip exhaust finishers, and new wheel designs
  • New interior treatment with available semi-aniline diamond-quilted Rakuda Tan leather-appointed seating
  • Newly available Nissan Safety Shield 360 and 10 air bags, including front row knee and rear seat side supplemental air bags
  • New convenience features, including standard Rear Door Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition and two USB Type-C ports
  • New SR grade Premium Package and Platinum grade Reserve Package

Our tester had the Rakunda Tan diamond-quilted seats (a $1140 option as part of the Reserve package) and we can report that they really smartened up the interior. Starting prices on the 2019 Maxima are $34,000, whereas a 2.0-liter Altima will set you back $29,400 (the 2.5-liter Altimas are less expensive still). Our Maxima Platinum started at $41,440, with the total price coming to $45,225.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I grew up in a Maxima household. We had two of the boxy ones from ’80s, including one wearing a sweet two-tone paintjob and a digital dash. We also had a Four Door Sports Car Maxima SE: 190 horsepower along with a manual box. So, I admit, I carry a bit of a torch for this one.

So, welcome back, Maxima.

I received several compliments on this one.

“Looks tough.”

“How fast is it?”

Yeah, it does look great. After a bit of wandering a few years back, Nissan’s styling is dead-on: bolt lines with a great face. The wishy-washness is gone.

Inside it’s a similar story, as the Maxima delivers a comfortable interior that’s easy to understand. It’s modern without being too much gee-whiz. Personally, I’d say dial back the chrome accents a tad as they cheapen the look and feel a bit.

Nissan remains committed to the CVT, but it keeps getting better, feeling more and more like a “normal” box. The 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 almost sounds old-tech on paper these days, but it totally delivers. It’s smooth and plenty powerful.

What we have here is a very competent take on the classic sport sedan–yes, it’s a front-driver with an auto, but it’s what the masses want. Or do they? That’s my big question: How will the Maxima survive against the rest of the field, including the Altima, and an ocean of utility vehicles?

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irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/6/19 6:12 p.m.

As a former Maxima owner and moderator of the biggest Maxima forum, this gets just as much of a shrug as the prior several years. You can pretty it up, give it great seats, and give it an outstanding engine, but in the end when the only transmission choice is CVT, you've counteracted anything else good the car may have.

Still don't understand what Nissan is doing here, selling a car that is essentially an optioned-up Altima. Except the Altima gets AWD at least, while the Maxima is still FWD, still probably an open diff even with 300hp, and still CVT.

Put a diff and a manual or good automatic (and the Altima AWD?) in it, then you can once again claim "4DSC" status. 

 

JimS
JimS Reader
9/6/19 11:16 p.m.

I like the looks but the CVT turns me off. My brother had an 87 Maxima with v6 and 5 speed and that was a great car. Felt solid, wonderful engine, and great looks. Loved that car. 

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy SuperDork
9/7/19 8:27 a.m.

I can't think of another time a second tier car has eclipsed the flagship. I feel they should have made them identical, except drivetrain-you know, the Altima Maxima, and saved the money if they were going to make them virtually indistinguishable. Still, in a world where the Mustang is Ford's only CAR, I guess Nissan gets a partial kudo.

Still weird.

GarageGorilla
GarageGorilla Reader
9/7/19 8:30 a.m.

Stripping the manual option from the Maxima, made me lose all interest in the cars (Altima/Maxima) sisters.

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