2011 Nissan Maxima Performance

6.0
Performance
With a strong 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and deft continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) plus a sport-tuned suspension, as well as steering and brakes that have been tuned for sportier driving, the 2011 Nissan Maxima has the makings of a solidly performing sporty sedan. By some accounts, it can get to 60 mph in less than six seconds.

However, Nissan pins itself into a corner a bit in calling the Maxima the "4-Door Sports Car." Unfortunately, it's something that this front-wheel drive sedan just can't deliver on, for several reasons. The main one is the CVT, which is a near-ideal companion for everything but very enthusiastic driving. It comes with a manual sport mode and available steering-wheel paddle shifters to access a series of simulated gear ratios for high-performance driving, but overall the CVT simply doesn't allow the level of control in high-performance driving that conventional transmissions do.

Overall, the Maxima has a firm yet supple ride, allowing good handling response without sacrificing comfort. Stabilizer bars are included front and back, and in spirited driving, a new Twin Orifice Steering System helps provide good feedback from the road, while remaining rather light around tight corners. But the other reason the Maxima simply isn't a sports car is that it has front-wheel drive, which, even when combines with the Maxima's generally excellent suspension—with buttoned-down body motions and somewhat communicative steering—tends simply not to be much fun when driven near its limit. Stomp down on the gas, especially out of a corner, and you'd better be holding on the steering wheel tightly.

The 2011 Nissan Maxima packs a punch, and will delight those who merely want a sporty feel, but serious sport-sedan enthusiasts will likely be a little disappointed.

All that said, most people who want strong, smooth performance are going to be very happy with what the Maxima has to offer. The way in which it responds, steers, and brakes is quicker and more direct than most other large V-6 sedans.

Research Other Topics

7.8
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
9.0
Expert Rating
Performance
6.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
8.0
Expert Rating
Safety
8.0
Expert Rating
Features
8.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
6.0
Expert Rating
Looking for other models of the Nissan Maxima?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2011 Nissan Maxima against the competition
Compare All Cars