Is a Maxima a Luxury Car?

Even after all these years, the Nissan Maxima fills a unique niche in today’s auto market. The Maxima offers sporty performance and exceptional comfort. But buyers often ask: is a Maxima a luxury car?

Where the Nissan Maxima falls 

The 2019 Nissan Maxima is displayed at AutoMobility LA, the trade show ahead of the LA Auto Show
The Nissan Maxima | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Technically speaking, the Maxima isn’t a luxury car, but it’s not hard to see why some consumers think that it is. The Maxima competes in the large sedan class against models like the Toyota Avalon and the Chrysler 300. Large sedans like these emphasize upscale amenities, making them reminiscent of true luxury models.

That said, the Maxima is a worthy choice if you want frills at a bargain price. A standard 2020 Maxima presents lots of class. On the other hand, there are many optional features available on the Maxima that make it more like its luxury counterpart, the Infiniti QX50

Nissan Maxima drivetrain

2020 Nissan Maxima | Nissan
2020 Nissan Maxima | Nissan

As Consumer Reports highlights, the 2020 Maxima isn’t as sporty as previous versions. However, smoothness is still the Maxima’s strong suit. The Maxima gets its power from a 300-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 261 pound-feet of torque. This Nissan is also standard with a continuously variable automatic and front-wheel drive. 

In CR’s road test, the Maxima went from 0-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and its top speed is 145 mph. In addition to its quickness, the Maxima is pretty good regarding fuel efficiency. It has a real-world fuel economy rating of a combined 25 mpg, according to CR. 

The Maxima did well in CR’s testing and scored an 80 overall. CR reviewers appreciated the Maxima for its eager and forceful engine. However, the vehicle’s handling isn’t the most thrilling, but it’s satisfactory.

“The Maxima corners soundly, but it doesn’t excite. By virtue of its low stance and stiff suspension, body lean is kept at bay in normal driving. However, up the ante just a bit and it becomes clear that the Maxima requires additional steering input and tends to pile on some body roll.”

Consumer Reports 

Creature comforts 

A 2020 Maxima with brown quilted leather.
2020 Nissan Maxima interior with quilted leather | Nissan

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On the inside, the Maxima pleases with a mostly quiet cabin and can seat up to five passengers. Cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel come standard. Nissan offers a long list of amenities on the Maxima, including premium Ascot leather upholstery with a diamond-quilted Alcantara inserts, a driver’s memory seat, heated seats, and a dual-panel panoramic moonroof. 

You’ll also enjoy the Maxima if you love modern technology. Standard infotainment features on this Nissan include an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and voice recognition. Safety is also a bright spot of the Maxima. It comes with blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, and rear-cross traffic alert. Additionally, you can upgrade for more safety functions, such as front and rear parking sensors.


The 2020 Maxima is a recommended choice by CR, and the organization gave it an average rating for predicted reliability. The starting price for a new 2020 Maxima begins at $34,450. A fully-loaded 3.4 Platinum trim costs around $41,840.