2018 Nissan Maxima Price and Release

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It’s time to stop pressuring the Maxima to live up to its billing as a four-door sports car and accept it for what it is: a bargain-priced luxury car. A gutsy 3.5-liter V-6 makes 300 hp and drives the front wheels through a CVT. The cabin is quiet, has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with nav and Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto), and can be fitted with diamond-quilted seat inserts, mahogany wood trim, and ambient lighting. Automated emergency braking is standard, and adaptive cruise control is optional.

The region between luxury and merely premium cars is a misty space in which the Nissan Maxima, the brand’s flagship sedan, contends against the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, and Chevrolet Impala, to name just a few.

2018 Nissan Maxima Photos New Release

What are the determining factors? Clearly, it’s more than price. The Maxima’s MSRP range opens at $33,795, which is right around the current average new-car transaction figure. Like all cars in its class, it easily can be equipped to climb over the $40,000 frontier, and the top-of-the-line Platinum edition, our test subject, starts at $41,225.

That’s barely a down payment for any Rolls-Royce; they might not even let you in the door with so little cash. But for 95 percenters, 40 grand is a substantial sum, and in their eyes—had the industry not invented the premium category—this Maxima would qualify as a luxury. Or it would with an Infiniti label on it; another distinguishing characteristic of this class is that the cars share their mainstream brand names with lower-rung models such as the Corolla, Elantra, Forte, Cruze, and Sentra.

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Leaving aside the badge-prestige factor, let’s check the major luxe elements here. Leather—check; and the seats are heated, ventilated, perforated, and off-white. Wait, off-white? Nissan calls it Cashmere (the other choice being Charcoal), but it’s a very light hue that dictates no chocolate ice cream cones be allowed inside, ever.

2018 Nissan Maxima Photos Picture

It’s hard to love this Nissan’s woodgrain trim, too, which is allegedly inspired by mahogany. Its appearance on the instrument panel, door trim, and center console is one of the upgrades that comes standard with the Platinum trim level—and it makes a case for choosing the slightly less pricey and marginally more driver-oriented SR model we tested in mid-2015.

14 Photos of the 2018 Nissan Maxima Price and Release

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