Quality » 8
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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
This VQ-series V-6 engine family is outclassed in refinement by just about everyone now.
has trouble coping with highway bumps and expansion joints
Seats front and rear are comfortable and firmly bolstered
Car and Driver
The ride is well-isolated and controlled.
Materials beat the stuff in a Toyota Avalon and quite possibly an ES 350 or Buick Lucerne
In some of the Maxima's marketing, Nissan seems to highlight this sedan's performance qualities, but it's actually a pretty spacious sedan, with a mature, refined ride and a very comfortable interior.
Quite possibly due to its front-wheel-drive layout, the Maxima is both roomier and more refined inside than most other rear-wheel-drive sport sedans that maintain more of a performance edge. Front occupants get great seats—especially with the Sport Package.
The front seats are good in base versions, but with the Sport Package you get superior seats with stronger bolsters. The back seat is officially good for three, but it's really just good for two adults and headroom can be a bit tight compared to other sedans this size--the cost of the roofline, even though seat contouring is great. One other note is that trunk space is on the small side for a larger sedan, at just 14.2 cubic feet.
Aesthetically, it's hard to fault the Maxima in any way. The cabin is finished in soft leather; trims feel carefully chosen and coordinated; and detailing is superb. Up close, you'll probably feel that you're in a luxury-brand sedan.
Ride quality further supports this impression. the Maxima isn't the quietest vehicle on the road--there's a modest amount of road noise from those low-profile, V-rated performance tires--but it rides with a firm, well-damped, and solid feel. It's a ride that nearly everyone but the geriatric set will appreciate, allowing more control but not giving up much comfort.
Engine noise is one aspect that won't be a deal-breaker, though it's worth noting; because of the way the CVT responds to the throttle, especially in hilly terrain, the V-6 sounds more coarse and unsophisticated than sporty.
The 2012 Nissan Maxima has comfortable seating, with a refined and well-detailed feel throughout--although backseat and trunk space are limited.