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  • ST-L: Fuel economy; price point; interior room. Ti: Performance, features, price
  • Uninspired handling; lack of promotion

6 / 10

2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review

The Nissan Maxima is into its last few months, to be replaced by an all-new model in 2013.

Maxima has been the Japanese brand’s large car entrant, going up against the Falcon and Commodore, but in 2013 it hands the reins to the Altima that also forms the basis of Nissan’s new V8 Supercars competitor.

For now, though, the Maxima offers an artillery of features to make it a car which will actually make it onto the list of family men and women who are after an accommodating car that offers an abundance of features, size and a respectable brand marque.

We drove two Maximas over a two-week period – the ST-L base model and the Ti top-spec model.

Normally, this type of test becomes somewhat tiresome if the vehicle being tested doesn’t really offer much excitement.

The Maxima test was interesting; I started off in the ST-L 250. At first I thought I’d confused things and ended up in the top-spec car first as it was fitted with a full leather interior and what seemed like a punchy V6.

2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review

A keyless fob is used to get in and out of the vehicle, with the key slotting into the dashboard to start the car. From the get go, there is a feeling of prestige and comfort. A near silent engine note on start-up is fitting for a cabin that feels far more spacious than each of its competition.

A comfy steering wheel and very comfortable seats make driving the Maxima a pleasure and not simply a chore. Front and rear legroom is very impressive, as is headroom. Visibility is good out of all sides, except the rear, mainly when reversing.

The ST-L’s lack of rear parking sensors or reverse camera makes it hard to judge parking, especially due to the Maxima’s large boot. Luckily though, parking sensors and a reverse camera are standard fitment on the up-spec Ti model.

Surely people would buy a Camry over a Maxima to save money at the fuel pump though?

Well, if you think that, you’ll most certainly be in for a shock, as the 2.5-litre, V6 featured in the 250 ST-L produces 134kW and 228Nm.

If you purely look at the numbers, it sounds disappointing, doesn’t it?

2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review
2013 Nissan Maxima Review

Well, I thought so too before I really got stuck into it. Instead of a regular cog-swapping affair, the entire Maxima range is fitted with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). It extracts absolutely every last Newton-metre out of this engine.

Regular cruising is relaxed and well…cruisey, but when you really need things to happen, the revs jump and the 2.5-litre unit really begins singing. The best part about this configuration is the fuel consumption – 9.5-litres per 100km.

Yep, about half a litre per 100km less than the Camry and not only does it haul, it’s bigger inside than the Camry, it uses less fuel and despite the extra zip, has lower carbon emissions than the Camry and petrol Mondeo.

Cornering is nothing to write home about. There’s a bit of body roll to contend with and the tyres could do with a bit more grip. But, this type of thing is probably unlikely to worry potential Maxima owners.

Brake feel is spot on and the brakes do a great job of pulling up the Maxima in respectable fashion.

Surely the Maxima has some downsides? The foot operated park brake is an archaic thing of the past that Nissan insists on using. Then there’s the screen, which is obviously a placeholder for the satellite navigation in the up-spec Ti model, it just seems wasted on the ST-L variant, which uses the screen for radio and climate information.

Already impressed with the ST-L, I was keen to see how the Ti would differ in terms of performance and features. I went from being very pleased with the ST-L, to be ultra-impressed with the Ti.

I’m a man who likes having power on demand and the Ti well and truly fulfilled that need. Fitted with a 3.5-litre, V6 engine, it produces 185kW and 326Nm. It’s more than enough to put a smile on your face, especially with its sonorous Z-like engine note.

The addition of bum warmers and satellite navigation were also a welcome contribution. Although the satellite navigation is a bit fiddly at times, the colour screen fills the ST-L’s black abyss quite nicely. The reverse camera with parking sensors is also a pleasant add-on.

Starting the car is also a keyless affair. A proximity sensor based in the key allows the driver to approach and unlock the car with the press of a button on the door. Then it’s a jab of the starter button to get the car started.

While the 250 ST-L uses a frugal 9.5-litres/100km, the Ti uses marginally more at 10.2-litres/100km.

The handling doesn’t really improve too much with the step up to the Ti, so it’s more of a straight-line affair when it comes to harder driving.

Much like most Nissan V6’s, there’s no room to drop a spanner in the engine bay, it’s very cramped. It’s not much of an issue for the regular punter, but I could see it increasing servicing costs down the track when things need changing and replacing.

Let’s talk money. There’s no use having frugal V6’s, massive interiors and plenty of features if it costs a fortune.

The base 250 ST-L starts at $33,990, the 350 ST-S begins at $37,990, while the 350 Ti starts at $46,990.

Standard features included in the 250 ST-L include: ABS with EBA & EBD, ESP, six airbags, dusk sensing xenon headlamps, front and rear fog lamps, LED tail lamps, black leather trim, cruise control, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, power folding mirrors with integrated indicators, an eight-way electric driver’s seat, four-way electric passenger seat, six-CD tuner with MP3 compatibility and an auxiliary input, push-button start and 17-inch alloy wheels (including full-size alloy spare).

While the Ti adds: rear spoiler and rear park assist, intelligent key system and heated front seats, electric tilt-slide sunroof, memory enabled electric front seats, satellite navigation, rear parking camera, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and, perhaps best of all, an 11-speaker Bose full Dolby 5.1 channel surround sound audio system on top of the features already found in the 250 ST-L and 350 ST-S combined.

I’m not sure if I’d fork out for the $46,990 Ti, but you could bet your bottom dollar that I’d be putting my money on the ST-L if I had to pick between the Maxima and its extensive list of competition.

By the same token though, the Ti is still extremely good value for money.

The features, drive and room are impossible to overlook. Although the styling is rather ‘hate it or love it’, the rest of its credentials well and truly go beyond what you would expect in this price range.

Nissan have quite possibly created one of the best large sedans in this segment, which is almost the easy part.

Now they just need to let everyone know about this newfound feat. If previous experience is anything to go by, this car will be lost in the mystical beyond because of poor marketing.


Nissan Maxima 350Ti

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How does it Drive:

How does it Look:

How does it Go:

Nissan Maxima 250ST-L

CarAdvice Overall Rating:

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How does it Look:

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2013 Nissan Maxima Review
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  • Carl

    Wowyoumanaged to beat the claimed fuel consumption something impossible in any Toyota as they make impossible claims!! But sounds like the larger V6 is thirstier than the current Falon so i

  • Carl

    ^^^^NO edit function so sorry for the mistakes^^^^ Anyway what i meant to say was the Camry would be even thirstier than Toyota claims and the Falcon beats the larger V6 and comes close to the smaller one so I’d take a G6E over this any day!

  • zahmad

    New ad campaign is very smart – suiting the car they are selling.

  • http://Caradvice.com.au Baddass

    Interior is quite lovely, surprisingly. I’m still sticking with my ideas of a Nissan style revolution! Even this new car looks old.

  • Big End

    Has less power and torque than a FG and uses the same if not more fuel…….G6E easily beats this car. And as Baddass says it looks old.

  • The Realist

    Ugly car.

    But standard kit in the base model over say a top range rep mobile like a G6ET includes xenon headlamps, LED tail lamps, and even power adjustment for the passenger!!

    And it costs $20K less than the rep mobile too.

  • Toxic_Horse

    Wow , that is ugly !!
    look at the rear end with the single reflector in the middle, what were they thinking.
    This thing must have been designed to appeal to America.

  • ScottB

    Why oh why couldn’t Nissan give us the US market Maxima? A much better proposition than this bland barge.

  • Deco

    I don’t mind this car. I saw one sitting in a shopping centre in cairns which you could win by a raffle, and it looked quite nice.

    My question is, does the Maxima occupy the same car segment as the Falcon and commodore, or is it in the segment under?

  • http://www.carsandlife.com Brandon James

    What on earth could you Aussies have possibly done to Nissan to deserve such a hideously ugly car? I hope I never see that thing rolling down the streets of Montreal.

    • jetlag

      answer to that is simple….the morons at Nissan Australia does not think people will pay for a premium ‘infiniti’ class Nissan, so they keep offering us bland and CHEAPER alternatives.

      The Skyline range is far more better than the Maximas we get and easily owns the likes of Holden and Ford in this segment, rivaling BMW 3 series, so why aren’t they being imported?

      I personally own a v36 Skyline coupe and Nissan can make wonderful cars, which then just leaves us with the idiots over at Nissan Australia….great work fellas!

  • http://Caradvice Yeye

    I never pictured myself driving let alone owning one of these Maxima’s.
    However, whilst i was looking at at Second hand Honda Accord and complaining about the engine power the salesman asked if I would like something more powerful but cheaper.
    My wife immediately loved the exterior of the car she is 31 by the way. I didn’t mind it at first. We looked inside and thats what sold it. Comfy luxurious and cheap.
    Since buying the 2.5 stl alot of people have commented how nice it looks. I even see younger people looking at it whilst stopped. It goes well and is powered well. It does not handle like my old audi a3 turbo but it is much more comfortable.
    The car looks much better in the flesh and with dark tints and some muffler tips increases the appeal.
    The base speakers on the 2.5stl are not very good and need to replaced if you like acceptable sound.
    Overall i think caradvice is right on the money. Go have a look at one if your in the market but save your money and get the 2.5 stl. It has the same towing capacity as the Ti aswell.

  • bruster

    Do both engines use standard unleaded?

    i thought they use Premium Unleaded!!!

    that should take away some advantage it had over camry and mondeo as commented.

  • http://Caradvice Yeye

    No 2.5stl uses 91 unleaded and the 3.5ti uses 9.5 premium recommended

  • Simon

    CA post a 22 Jul regarding Camry:
    “As Australia’s best-selling mid-size car for the past 15 years, particular attention has been paid to the Camry’s fuel-efficiency on volume-selling automatic models.
    The 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with the five-speed automatic transmission now boasts an 11 per cent improvement in fuel-efficiency – down to 8.8 litres per 100km on the official combined cycle.”

    Paul Maric says:
    “The best part about this configuration is the fuel consumption – 9.5-litres per 100km.
    Yep, about half a litre per 100km less than the Camry”

    We all (ok, some of us) love a good Toyota bash now and then, but let’s stick to facts.

  • /

    Kia VG large sedan is coming…It looks awesome…worth waiting…

  • Paul Maric


    The article was written prior to Toyota’s new Camry efficiency claims.

  • Captain Nemo

    Toxic Horse Thats actually a fog light not a reflector in the middle of the back bumper.
    But your right you think they could of found somewhere better to put it like intergrated with the tailights or not at all considering we don’t really get heavy fog here in Oz.

  • Frenchie

    Ugly car!

  • SamR

    It is advertised as all new, yet it is still as ugly as the last one. Whats up with that?

  • Sgt.Sweetchuck

    For those that are dead from the neck down.

  • tekkyy

    I think it wouldn’t hurt to edit the article.
    9.5L/100km is not exactly flash with or without the 2009 Camry update.

    Mazda6 auto 8.7
    Camry auto 8.8
    Accord auto 8.8
    Accord Euro auto 8.9

  • Shak

    But Tekkyy this car doesnt occupy the same category anymore. If you go to the Nissan website, you’d see that this car is now in the large car category. And besides this car is considerably cheaper than any falcadore with similar equipement. Even the other Jap large cars such as Accord and Aurion cant match this on Bang for your Buck. Also the VG from Kia wont enjoy as much badge cred as this will.

  • gearboxdawg

    slightly cheaper than the Mazda 6 classic with auto. The mazda 6 still beats it in looks and fuel economy for auto. 8.7 – 8.9 L per 100 km.

  • Angel

    This model has had more comebacks than Cher.

    Never hit the bullseye, always missed.

    GREAT buying 2nd. hand

  • Cheyney


    The mazda6 is a 4-cylinder and drives like a 2-cylinder…the Maxima is a 6-cylinder.

  • MazMagic

    Cheyney, have you actually driven a Mazda6 to make such a claim?

    I can tell you that a 4 Cylinder Mazda6 could easily beat a 6 cylinder Maxima at a lights without any problems – wouldn’t even need to push it hard.

    It would probably be those V6 drivers who would get offended!!

  • Forza M

    Mazmagcian. I am tipping Cheyney hasnt driven a Maxima or 6, I am tipping you definently havent driven a Maxima.

    I actually have and let me tell you a 350TI would blow the doors off your 6 every day of the week. As would any large car V6 eg Commodore Falcon Aurion etc etc

    You probably need to drive a V6 car before making stupid claims stupid boy

  • Bobby Wilson

    Mazda have to do some changes on the smiley design before making claims on their Ford 4 Cylinder engine.

    No wonder the chief designer of Mazda has left to Renault!

    The unfortunate thing about Australia is we get the Nissan Tiana and not the “REAL” Maxima.

    If you look at Nissan Japan or America the Maxima is very much a different car, my problem with this is we getting rip off!!! I paid 50K for my previous TI-L and let me tell you that is not worth that much.

    Come on Nissan Australia, people now have access to websites and other countries to see Nissan cars in other countries…. Bring over real Nissan Maxima!
    I will be very surprise if they are selling allot for this model or they may do the rental sales again where Europecar and Budget buys them cheap and detroyed the resale value completely just like to previous Maxima….
    Good on you Nissan, keep up the good work…!

    • Baji

      FYI Bobby, the 4cylinder engines are mazda developed. and the smiley design was penned by laurens van den acker – the former chief designer.

  • Jeremy

    The 2.5 litre looks like a good car for it’s market. I’d personally prefer to smoothness and refinement a small v6 than a big four cylinder (Accord, 6, Camry etc.), especially if it’s hooked up to a decent CVT transmission.
    It’s a pity then, that Nissan is focusing more on the communter market to the detriment of the enthusiast market with their mainstream cars like the Micra, Tiida and Maxima. The four door, rear drive Infiniti/Skyline would make a fantastic alternative to the usual enthusiasts-against-torque-steer options of an XR6, SV6.
    The 3.5 Ti starts to look a little overpriced and underpowered compared to the Aurion range.

  • Dan

    I got STS 350 two weeks ago and loved it the price as well as the power.

    Leather seat, drive comfort, space, petrol, quiet, xenon light, led backlight, back-home light auto off, price…Just all i wanted…but shame without sunroof

    I did not want to pay another $10,000 for bluetooth, sunroof, sav, reverse camera…

    HAPPY driver

    Sorry I am kind of budget person rather cars selection. I selected the price range first.

    Mazda 6 – it is a little bit small for me especially a long drive
    Accord 2.4 – it was my first choice because the price range is quite cool but the engine was NOT responsive at all. V6 is good if the budget is fitting yours…
    VW tiguan – Like it because it is tall and fit my requirement but if I added all the bits like leather, sunroof….its way over budget price tag$50?
    CX7 – turbo gives plenty of power but petrol is quite thristy and large space for outdoor but CX7 luxury is around $48…nonono
    Xtrail – engine 2.5L and quite nice but the only thing is interior is quite out of date (you can go to have a look) nonono

    Did not considered ford and holden…sorry!!

    P.S. i admit ford G6E is quite cool outlook too … they are everywhere now..in VIC

  • Mick

    I own the Ti and let me tell you that if you can point out anything near the same value for money that this car offers, let me know because I couldn’t find it. The Presara was very similiar, but after driving both the Presara (even though I thought was a fantastic car) felt like a camry with leather. I have had a heap of compliments on this car and I absolutely love it. It definietly looks better in the flesh

  • Jon Leong

    hay guys..

    What drive away price did you guys achieve when purchasing your new maxima’s??

    Coz i am thinking of buying a st-s and wants to know whats the price out there.

  • Dan

    I personally think maxima 09 outlook is better than Aurion-Presara.

  • Sonny

    I bought the 350 Ti last month after test driving quite a few cars and have been a very satisfied customer since.

    I just wondered why Nissan did not include rain sensing wipers in the package.

    Overall a great car and I will probably won’t be in a rush to replace it for a while, as I really enjoy the dynamics of this car. Great sound system, quiet and compliant ride and power on tap.

  • Gilly

    Great car, well built, finished and equipped. I had a close look and drive of the Ti and for the money not much comes close. The drive train is slicker and smoother than most cars under $100K and in gear accelleration is top of the class.
    The design, especially the rear is spoilt by the typical under tyred Japanese large car look. A decent set of dished wheels and tint would improve its stance substantially.

  • mark

    Wow its amazing to see the bashing this car gets. Yes its a bit dull to look at but you soon forget that when you own one (have 350 ST-S). If you are in any doubt rent a Com’ or Falcon for a week then give this a go. Your next car will be a Maxima if you do

  • Fernando

    Just bought Maxima St-l, very very happy. Completely agree with the author. This car is fantastic.Much better than Falcon or Commodor. As per look, it looks good to me and I am 34 years old.

    • Dave S

      Not sold on the looks (looks a lot like a big Tiida) or the small engine capacity. But as a second hand car – very cheap and very good value.

  • Noely

    Why they didn’t use the JDM name TEANA? it’ll help it to sell more…People easily feel unhappy when they see the name”MAXIMA” and find its not da same car with US Maxima…what were nissan autralia thinking?

  • Sonu

    I just bought the 250 ST-L and its a bloody good car. Drives nicely and has just enough power when you need it. One of the best cars i have ever driven under $40K.

  • GARY


    • paul

      Thats just nonsense, it is an officially imported car with an extenisvie dealer network and share common part swith a number of cars in Nissans range. I absolutely guarantee i could get any part for this car without a problem. If you dealer told you 6 to 12 months then go to another dealer

  • Greg Werner

    Good review… Thanks.
    But if you want to cry, go take a look at the Maxima that is offered to the Americans… Wow what a Car. Why on earth would Nissan Aust not want to see this vehicle on our roads. It would make the competition sit up and take notice. Australia comes off second best once again.

  • Ned

    So glad the majority of low profile tyre huggers seem to delight in rubbishing this fabulous car…it means we limmo lovers have an endless supply of undervalued used Maxima’s to choose from. Keep rubbishing this car folks – I am so determined to find a 2009 Ti bargain and do appreciate your help with my purchase……

  • simon

    I just bought a new 2011 st-l and i just cant believe how ppl but commodores for a higher price when u can have loads of features in a maxima for less. To tell u honestly it cost me $30k and cant be any happier

  • Shak

    I can see why many like this car. I had one as a hire car while i was in QLD recently and it was simply outstanding in almost all areas. Except one. It does not drive anywhere near the level of a Falcadore, or one of the good mid-szied Japs for that matter. However, it beats almost all of them on features and comfort. It makes a brilliant long distance cruiser, and is actually relatively powerful and economical. If only Nissan could give it some edge to its dynamic skills, i would be very very impressed.

  • AndyP

    I just drove 2012 model, Falcon, Commodore, Optima and Maxima.  I bought the Maxima ST-S simply because it was the most refined and best value car out of these.  $36k drive away with $2k extras.  I had never considered a Maxima before and had always owned Holden, Ford or Toyota sedans.  just go and drive one.  Oh and I agree that they look much better in the flesh.  They actually look a class ablove the others, especially when viewed side-by-side.

  • AndyP

    I have a bone to pick with Car Advice! you claim:

    “Service Interval12 months / 15,000 kms” when in fact they are “6 months or 10,000km”.

  • Snoopy54000

    I would love to find one second hand.On Neighbours the guy who plays AJAY has one of these and he’s only a thirty something.I have driven an earlier example of the Maxima and love it.It felt with the 3.5 L V6 rather effortless to drive….It’s even better than a Mercedes or a BMW both of which are only 1.8 to 2.0 L 4 cylinders.

  • FugaSuki

    It’s actually a really good car.  The US Maxima is the Fuga in Japan, the Maxima here is the Teana: the Fuga is a class above the Teana in Japan.  If the Fuga was sold here (and I wish it was) it would cost substantially more than the Teana does. 

    • teanna

      yup you are right, i own one and i have no complaints, compare to the camry and arcord, its far more better, you have to drive it to love it

  • Perthwa

    Agree this car actually looks better in the flesh than in pictures

  • john

    I bought Maxima 2011 STS 3.6 , Its got just about every thing you could want. It will snap your neck on take off if you want, cruise extremely comfortably. I have achieved 8.8 ltrs per 100 klm. I test drove commodore , Falcon, Subaru Liberty, Honda Accord Luxory V6, Kia Optima ,didn’t bother with Mazda , too small and reviewed them all carefully. Maxima was far better overall for design interior finish and price. It is also was cheaper to comprehensively insure than my1992 Nissan patrol and Mazda 2010 bt50 Tray back . I have owned Commodores and driven Falcon company cars , and the Maxima is just so much better overall. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder , but I think the exterior style of the car is elegant and not common like the rest. I am 54 and some might think I’m just and old fart who doesn’t know anything ,but I spent a lot of time sideways Rallying in my hotted up Dastun 1600 when younger. Now if I want a Thrill I take my Chevrolet Corvette for a spin. One other interesting point is it doesn’t have a bloody timing belt to change every 60,000 klms at great expense.

Nissan Maxima Specs

Car Details
250 ST-L
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$14,740 - $16,750
Dealer Retail
$16,280 - $19,360
Dealer Trade
$11,700 - $13,400
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
228Nm @  4400rpm
Max. Power
134kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
215/55 R17
Rear Tyres
215/55 R17
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Xenon Headlights
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin