2012 Nissan Maxima Review

Joel Helmes reviews the Nissan Maxima.

2012 Nissan Maxima Review.

I don’t think I’ve heard of someone not liking the Nissan Maxima.

It’s a vehicle that has picked up a number of major awards and has a strong following for its restrained styling and superb road manners.

Sure it’s a touch on the boring side but that’s exactly what Maxima buyers like about it.

They know they are getting a quality vehicle that just goes about its business without any fuss.

I had a week getting about in the entry level 250 ST-L.

Under the bonnet you will find a 2.5 litre V6 petrol engine, the two higher spec models the ST-S and the Ti boast the bigger 3.5 litre V6.

All Maxima’s are fitted standard with a six speed CVT automatic gearbox.

The smaller engine is more than capable, it delivers 134kW and 228Nm and the fuel use is reasonable I managed about 8 litres on the highway and 10 litres in the city (official combined figure is 9.5 litres).

It’s an engine and gearbox combination that goes about its business with no fuss at all, which of course fits in with the rest of the car.

Overall the Maxima is just beautiful to drive, lovely steering, capable brakes, excellent ride and respectable handling.

It’s a vehicle anyone can drive comfortably anywhere.

The external styling is certainly fairly conservative but I personally quite like it, the overall package is boosted by some great looking standard 17″ alloy wheels, simple chrome touches, and nicely designed front driving lights.

But really it’s inside the cabin I think most people are interested in when it comes to a vehicle like the Maxima.

I’m pleased to say it’s almost completely 100% premium inside.

The leather seats are extremely comfortable, even on long trips.

I was pleased to note that both front seats are electrically controlled (often only the driver gets this feature).

The leg room is fairly generous, boot space is very good, and cabin storage space is impressive.

The only real complaint I had about the interior was the climate control panel, yes it’s located up nice and high but it’s on a bit of a strange angle and this means it just takes a second or two to find the right button.

Overall however the dashboard and steering wheel controls are well placed and easy to use.

The gauges are nice and clear and concise.

Something that stood out to me as well with the Maxima is the low window height and large windows, this makes for a nice and bright cabin during the day.

The only let down inside was the use of hard, boring grey plastic around the stereo.

Speaking of the stereo there’s an aux audio input but no USB slot.

The Maxima ST-L starts at $33,990, interestingly features such as a reversing camera and satellite navigation aren’t available even as an option on the ST-L and that’s a touch disappointing.

Overall however I walked away a fan, if you’re after comfortable, understated and dependable motoring this is the vehicle for you.


Engine: 2.5 litre V6 petrol producing 134kW and 228Nm

Transmission: Six-speed CVT

Safety: Not tested

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms

Origin: Japan

Price: $33,990

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About Joel Helmes 3560 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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