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The 2017 Nissan Maxima has style and swerve beyond its class and price. It doesn't look like the related Altima, though it shares its architecture and powertrain, and we say it's succeeded. The Maxima has a quirky flair that's global in appeal, if a bit thick in some places.
The Maxima reads differently depending on where you gaze. Its big grille and boomerang headlights up front have been duplicated throughout much of the Nissan lineup; and from the rear its tall tail is overshadowed by the roof, which appears to float. The floating effect is established by blacked out rear pillar, though it is toned down in darker shades of paint, if you're nervous about how it will age. From the rear three-quarter perspective, the Maxima's fenders capture every flick of light—nearly to the point of being a distraction.
The Maxima and Altima share a significant powertrain skeleton, albeit slightly changed in the Maxima. Its 3.5-liter V-6 engine is reworked from the Altima for more power—300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque—and its continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a higher final drive ratio to keep the engine on song. The Maxima's ride is fairly good and it borders on sporty.
The 2017 Maxima is one year removed from a significant overhaul, but at its base is a full-size competitor with a mid-size frame. The Maxima is a spin off the related Altima, albeit more sporty and handsome. For better or worse, it's adept at carrying four people—sporting potential is in the eye of the beholder.
By the numbers, the Maxima measures 109.3 inches between the wheels and 192.8 inches long. The first figure is identical to that of the Altima, and the second figure is within an inch of the Altima's.
Interior space in the Maxima is well below mid-size average, just 112.8 cubic feet, and is several cubes smaller than you'll get in the Altima. The Maxima weighs in at 3,500 pounds—yup, right near the Altima, too.
In case you're not picking up what we're putting down here, the Maxima and Altima are closer now than ever before.
In terms of interior comfort, that's a good thing. The Maxima uses the same high-density-foam construction for its front seats as the Altima—famously called "Zero Gravity"—but adds more bolstering to make the chairs more supportive. They're more tightly fitted into the Maxima than they are into the Altima, and while we can't say they'd be the greatest thrones for long hauls, on back roads, the Maxima's seats are king.
Power front seats are standard on the Maxima in cloth or leather; heated seats are standard on trim levels above base, and ventilated seats are available on SR and Platinum editions.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.