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Nissan isn’t the most popular carmaker in America, but it has several dependable vehicles in its lineup. That said, although the Japanese manufacturer is reliable compared to most other automakers, it isn’t as reliable as rival Asian car brands. And interestingly, the most reliable Nissan model isn’t the best overall.

The most reliable Nissan model is the Maxima

A white Nissan Maxima poses against a dark background.
2023 Nissan Maxima | Nissan

Based on reliability data from millions of vehicles, iSeeCars created a list of the most reliable Nissan models. 14 Nissan vehicles received a reliability score.

The Rogue Sport subcompact SUV was the worst, with 5.7 out of 10. Its popular compact SUV sibling, the Rogue, got a 7.3, followed by a tie between the GT-R sports car and the Versa compact car, with a 7.5.

Then there’s the all-electric Leaf (7.6), followed by the Sentra compact sedan (7.7). The Frontier midsize pickup truck got an 8, and the Murano midsize SUV scored 8.2. Then there was a three-way tie for third place among the Altima midsize sedan, Pathfinder three-row SUV, and 370Z sports car, all with an 8.3.

After that, there’s a two-way tie for second place between the Titan full-size truck and the Armada full-size SVU, both getting an 8.5.

Last but not least is the Maxima, the most reliable Nissan model. This upscale sedan earned an 8.6 reliability score. That also makes it the third most reliable large car. For context, there are only eight large cars that iSeeCars reviewed. 

But the most reliable Nissan model is not the best

Although the Maxima tops the list as the most reliable Nissan model, iSeeCars also gives each car an overall score reflecting other categories. The overall rating also looks at safety and resale value. The Maxima still performed well overall, receiving an 8.3 out of 10.

That score is high enough to tie with the Altima for second place for the best Nissan model. However, the vehicle with the best score overall is the Pathfinder.

But it was a close race, with iSeeCars giving the SUV an overall score of 8.4 — only 0.1 over the Maxima’s rating.

Why did the Nissan Pathfinder get the edge over the Maxima?

Because the overall score includes safety, it’s unsurprising that the Maxima and Pathfinder earned the highest safety ratings. After all, Nissan models often win safety awards. The Maxima has the edge in reliability, but the Pathfinder isn’t far behind because it was in a three-way tie for third place.

What separated the two and ultimately allowed the SUV to prevail over the sedan was their resale value. iSeeCars gave the Maxima only a 6.3 out of 10 in that category. A new Maxima starts at about $38,000, but its average used price is approximately $19,500. That shows how much this car depreciates.

Meanwhile, the Pathfinder got a 6.8 for resale value. A new model starts at about $35,000, and a used Pathrinder averages $19,000. That’s better value retention than the Maxima.


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