• May 25, 2012
Nissan has already tipped its hand, revealing that it will introduce five new models over the next 15 months. Those five models include the Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra, Versa hatchback and Rogue. Of those, we've already spent some time with the Altima, and its improved performance, upscale interior and slightly larger dimensions once again had us wondering if there was still a need in Nissan's portfolio for the pricier Maxima.

Apparently, there is. Despite the Max sharing the Altima's basic platform and powertrains for some time now, Nissan says its most expensive sedan is viewed differently by consumers. Officials we spoke with at the Altima's launch in Tennessee this week noted that the company sold about 59,000 examples last year, of which some 51,000 went to actual retail customers. For those keeping track of such things, Nissan says that actually makes Maxima America's top retailing non-luxury V6 sedan, Number One in a catch-all segment that includes everything from the Buick LaCrosse to the Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon and Volkswagen CC (not to mention six-cylinder versions of cars like the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Hyundai Genesis). The current Maxima has been on sale since 2008 and received a very minor facelift for 2012.

According to J.D. Power and its Power Information Network data, those purchases transacted at around $30,000, well above the Altima's $24,000 sales sweet spot.

Add all this up, and you get a solid business case for the next-gen Maxima, on which work has just kicked off in earnest now that the company's decks have been cleared of the Altima. Officials declined to nail down a timeframe for us, but given what we know about Nissan's product cadence over the next 12 months or so, we suspect the eighth-generation Maxima will arrive for 2015. Given the current car's quiet sales success, we don't expect the next Maxima to radically change the formula, so exorcise any thoughts you have about a shift to rear- or all-wheel-drive architecture. The original Maxima arrived in 1980 as a RWD sedan but made the shift to FWD in 1984 and hasn't looked back since.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 56 Comments
      SJ
      • 2 Years Ago
      The regal doesnt even have a V6. The CC only offers a V6 on upper trim levels starting at $37k or so. The Avalon and Lacrosse are larger cars. The Maxima doesnt have many direct competitors but the TL and Regal GS would be the closest.
      joel
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, you guys are tough customers! I have a '12 Maxima SV and love it. It does so many things well, not spectacular mind you. FWD allows for sporty year round driving, and it boasts an aggressive body style. Think of what you get with a loaded Maxima, and what you would have to dish out for a comparable overrated, overpriced BMW, or a Mercedes for that matter. IMHO.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      peteMT
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just bought a '12 Maxima. I gave up waiting for the GS to show up at local dealerships, and on the hope that there would be a Lacrosse GS like the recent show car. I wanted a near luxury FWD performance sedan, which the Maxima has been for years. Fun thing to do while driving: count the number of different grain patterns on the interior pieces and parts! I think they're all supposed to be the same pattern. I can forgive that. However, no matter how much I love the car and the driving experience, Nissan needs to fix a few things. 1. the stereo is terrible. make a good stereo available as a standalone option. the Bose is not a good stereo either. Better than the base unit but still not that great for a 35-40k car. 2. stop it with the overpriced option bundles, in fact. 3. what happened to cool color choices? I would have paid MORE if I could have had the car in orange, or with a red cloth interior similar to the 40th 370z. 4. manual transmission is needed for 4DSC. I love the cvt for the MPG and highway cruising, but it's time to get real. 5. .........Brembo brake package? Again, why not? 4DSC. If you're going to put that on the rear door glass, you should back it up a bit more. If you do, Nissan, I'll happily trade my '12 in on a '14 without hesitation. Orange, Brembos, 6 speed manual, better stereo. I'm waiting.
        AMG THIS
        • 2 Years Ago
        @peteMT
        I really hope you didn't let some silly perception BS get in the way of you test driving a Charger R/T. You sound like the prime candidate for that car. Everything you mentioned, except the manual...that car has. The Maxima is not a 4 Door Sports Car anymore, the Charger took that spot in 2006 when Nissan was mucking around making the Altima a clone of the Maxima for reasons nobody knows. Maximas were cool in the mid 90's to about 2003 when there was nothing else like them, but if you want a FWD V6 car with north of 250 HP, take your pick.
          xenonser
          • 2 Years Ago
          @AMG THIS
          When I think of real 4 door sports cars, I tend to think more along the lines of Evolution/STi over any other four door that claims to be a sports car. Anything else is just marketing before you get into the AMG / Audi RS territory.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @peteMT
        The overpriced options bundles are where the real profit comes from. If anything, they will probably offer even more bundles in the future. As for manual transmission: that would be nice but I think they are not targeting that demographic at ll.
      QCRamAir
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Nissan wants this to be taken seriously as a "performance" sedan, regardless of it being FWD, they need to NOT make it CVT-only. That's about as anti-performance as it gets, and completely neuters the experience behind the wheel. It's probably a given that they won't bring a manual back for this car, and if they won't put a dual-clutch auto in it, they should at least put in a 6-8-speed slushbox. Even that would give the car some personality and sporty pretentions compared to a lifeless, power-sapping CVT. I haven't been able to take the current Maxima seriously because of its single transmission choice of a CVT, and I guarantee I'm not the only one. Let's hope they've gotten smarter about this next one.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @QCRamAir
        [blocked]
        Spartan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @QCRamAir
        The problem with your argument is that the people that buy this car DO NOT CARE about the type of transmission that the Maxima. Nissan is marketing the Maxima as a performance sedan as much as Toyota marketed the Solara as a sports car.
      g.torino
      • 2 Years Ago
      Performance???????????? C'mon people, this is a economy, tin-can, asia rice racer. Asian cars and Performance are two seperate things. Asian cars are best for economy and durability. Let them keep it that way. you can't get every thing. It just not possible.
        Burabus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g.torino
        Moron
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g.torino
        [blocked]
        HydraulicDragon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g.torino
        You're both morons. I have a 2002 Maxima with the short ratio 6 speed manual and it's a hoot. Doing 0-60 in under 6 seconds it's Faster than some Mustangs and Camaros from the same era. With a 255 hp 3.5 liter VQ35DE it will spin tires through second gear, and spin again when slammed into 2nd. It handles very well and I am never afraid to challenge any middling level sports car with my Max. 11.4 inch rotors in the front with a dynamic brake load control system. Not to mention i get 30-34 mpg on the highway, and Nissan reliability. Suck my big VQ.
          HUMANMPC2000
          • 2 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          I seriously doubt your 2002 Maxima was faster than a 325 hp 2002 Z-28 Camaro...
          Maddoxx
          • 2 Years Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          Any girl that gets with a Camaro driver is regarded as trash. Shouldn't brag about sleeping in the garbage can Oscar.
        xenonser
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g.torino
        Ever heard of a Nissan GT-R? Yeah I guess the Asians messed up on the whole performance thing. What exactly is your idea of performance? God this website attracts some tards.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dodge charger kills this ugly pretender
        zizixx89
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        if your talking about the V6 charger it has no chance against the 2012 maxima
      Jarda
      • 2 Years Ago
      will they hire a designer team this time?
      jmobleyatlga
      • 2 Years Ago
      I owned a 2010 Sentra and i was dissapointed with its performance and lousy MPG
        Steve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jmobleyatlga
        Is it even possible to own a Sentra and not be disappointed with it? No matter how much you polish a Sentra, it is still a turd.
      FIDTRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      And after they're done, they'll take it and rebadge it as an Infiniti M.
        Maddoxx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FIDTRO
        If you're comparing a Maxima to the M you haven't been in either cars. The M has the best interior in it's class and that is a highly regarded class.
      RodRAEG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ah, cool. The next generation of same. I can't wait to not drive it ever.
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