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Auto Review: Nissan Maxima '4-door Sports Car' gets some upgrades for 2018, starts at $33,270

G. Chambers Williams Iii, The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.) on

Published in Automotive News

Nissan rolled out the newest generation of its Nissan Maxima sport sedan just two years ago, and now it returns for 2018 with just a few enhancements.

Those include standard Android Auto connectivity (in addition to Apple CarPlay, added last year), new content for the Midnight Edition package, and a new exterior color, Carnelian Red ($395 extra), which was included on our test vehicle.

Prices for 2018 start at $33,270 (plus $885 freight) for the base S model. Other trim levels include the SV ($35,270); SL ($37,690); SR ($38,530); and the top-of-the-line Platinum ($40,940), which we tested for this report.

With the most-recent redesign, the Maxima moved into its eighth generation as Nissan's flagship sedan. With all of the changes and its stunning good looks, this is the best Maxima ever.

Nissan bills the Maxima as the "4-door Sports Car," and it's powered by the latest VQ-series 3.5-liter V-6 engine, cranking out 300 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque.

The engine directs power to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, however, the Maxima might not qualify as a true sports car to some purists.

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Nevertheless, the Maxima is fun to drive, with sporty roadhandling and precise, predictable steering and braking. With the redesign, the Maxima now rides on a lighter, more-rigid chassis, which gives it that sporty handling.

It has decent fuel economy, as well. EPA ratings for 2018 are 21 mpg city/30 highway/25 combined.

The Midnight Edition package ($1,195), available only on the SR grade, now includes the advanced Intelligent Driver Alertness 1 system previously available only on the Platinum version. It also adds a "sport" spoiler, rear diffuser and 19-inch gloss-black aluminum-alloy wheels with center caps.

This year's Maxima also comes with the safety technology added late in the 2017 model year, including Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking 2, standard on all models. Automatic Emergency Braking takes over when the system detects the possibility of rear-ending vehicles the Maxima is following.

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