The 2022 Nissan Maxima is a big sedan with a muscular V-6 engine and an interior that can downright plush when loaded up with options.
The Maxima takes a more custom-tailored approach than the related Altima, from sleek lines outside to its crisp, conveniently laid-out interior. For 2022, the only tweak to this lineup consisting of SV, SR, and Platinum trim levels is newly standard heated rear seats for the range-topping model.
Nissan fits its 300-hp V-6 to the Maxima, which delivers power to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
That engine offers thrilling acceleration, though it slurps down fuel. Expect 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined. Nissan recommends premium fuel for the 2022 Maxima.
Both the NHTSA and the IIHS rate the Maxima highly when it comes to crash-test ratings. Automatic emergency is standard on all models, while a surround-view camera system is offered on the Maxima Platinum.
The range starts with the $38,215 Maxima SV, which is pretty well-equipped with leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, automatic climate control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and built-in navigation. Its 18-inch wheels look good, too.
Next up is the $43,375 Maxima SR, which adds a stiffer sport suspension, more responsive brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels, and black trim. It’s a bit sportier both to drive and behold, and it fulfills the car’s classic “four-door sports car” marketing tag the best.
The Maxima Platinum costs only slightly more, swapping back in the standard suspension setup and styling, plus 19-inch wheels of a different design, a surround-view camera system, Bose speakers, quilted leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a big dual-pane sunroof.
So successful has the Maxima’s daring styling been that Nissan has adopted similar themes for its smaller sedans.
Up front, look for a V-shaped grille surrounded by LED accent lighting. A strip of black trim separates the roof from the body – visually, not literally – and a thin strip of chrome trim adds lightness to this rather hefty four-door.
From the side, the intricate surface detailing is most evident in brighter hues, though even black works well on this sedan. SR models swap in some black trim and special 19-inch wheels, too.
The Maxima isn’t as bold inside, though its controls are conveniently organized and its 8.0-inch touchscreen is perched up high enough on the dash. Unlike some competitors, Nissan makes many secondary controls easy to access, too.
Materials impress, especially the quilted brown leather you’ll find in the range-topping Platinum.
Leather and power-adjustable seats come standard. The base seats are plush enough, though the SR version swaps in some synthetic suede and chunkier side bolsters for a grippier feel when cornering.
Rear-seat riders have 34.2 inches of leg room. It’s spacious back there, though perhaps not as roomy as this sedan’s dimensions might suggest. Blame the overpadded seats, which truly do offer all-day comfort.
At 14.3 cubic feet, the trunk is also on the small side, a trade-off for the car’s exterior styling.
Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-6 is a familiar mill to those returning to this brand. With 300 hp and no turbochargers, it offers smooth, quick acceleration. The CVT saps some of the fun, though there are paddle shifters and a Sport mode on the SR version to liven things up.
Ride and handling are the biggest draws here, though. The Maxima’s long wheelbase soaks up bumps, even with the optional 19-inch wheels fitted to the two higher trim levels. The stiffer suspension on the SR can be a bit firm, though, so try before you buy.
For a big sedan with a lot of heavy sheet metal, glass, and leather, the Maxima responds quickly to steering inputs and can be a joy to hustle down a winding road. It’s not nimble, but big sedans aren’t meant to be. It’s a mile-eater.
It may not be as frisky as its sport-sedan positioning suggests, but the latest Nissan Maxima is a plush, comfortable, and well-equipped sedan that can be a good value for drivers not interested in a big SUV.
—by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection