2010 Nissan Maxima | road test

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 by
The Maxima boasts dynamic looks, even if the performance doesn't match

The Maxima boasts dynamic looks, even if the performance doesn't match



  • Smart looks
  • Well made
  • Comfortable


  • Not sporty
  • Pointless paddle shifters
  • No standard aux socket on stereo


calls the Maxima a ‘four-door sports car’, but it’s wrong. Aside from some suave visuals and a powerful engine, it’s not in the least bit sporty. Expect a performance vehicle and you’ll be disappointed. But consider the Maxima as a comfortable, attractive and well-made sedan for cruising in, with plenty of a space and practicality, and you should be pretty happy.


The Maxima’s engine is a 3.5-litre V6 and with 290bhp boasts plenty of poke. It’s smooth, powerful and quick to react from the throttle.

However, the sporting tone set by the engine is not matched by the continuously variable transmission. Although the CVT is fine and unobtrusive when cruising around, it’s not sporty at all and rather undermines the ‘four-door sports car’ image that Nissan is trying to promote.

There is a ‘manual mode’ which allows you to ‘change’ up and down using steering wheel-mounted paddles, but don’t be fooled. CVTs don’t have conventional gears and you can’t change what isn’t there. It’s a gimmick and nothing more.


The chassis is supple enough to soak up speed bumps, potholes and the like with no trouble. Around corners there’s a fraction more body roll than we’d like, considering once again Nissan’s insistence that the Maxima is sporty. Abandon those thoughts however and the handling is fine. The steering is rather light, rubbery and artificial however. This tends to be a trademark of cars aimed at the American market, as the Maxima is, but again it’s at odds with the car’s sporty image.

2010 Nissan Maxima

2010 Nissan Maxima


The interior design of the Maxima is nothing to write home about, but everything is laid out logically and it’s very easy to familiarise yourself with the controls. The optional satellite navigation system and stereo are simple to use and build quality is good; everything has a nice, solid feel and the materials used are of a high standard.

The seats are comfortable but not hugely supportive, which once more detracts from the sporty angle. There is however, a muscle car feel when looking over the bulbous bonnet or admiring the rear wheel arches through the wing mirrors.

One thing that buyers should check – our test car didn’t have a traditional auxiliary input socket for MP3 players. We reckon these should be standard on every car, so we were somewhat irked by its absence. However, some models of Maxima do feature this option, so check with your dealer if you’ve moved on from the world of CDs.

The interior of the 2010 Nissan Maxima is well put together and feels quality

The interior of the 2010 Nissan Maxima is well put together and feels quality


The rear of the car has plenty of room for adult passengers and the boot too is of a decent size, if not particularly cavernous. We filled it with camping equipment during our time with the car and it swallowed tent, sleeping bags, food and so on with no trouble.

There are two compartments in the centre console; one with two large cupholders and one with an ashtray. A large two-layer box in the centre console houses a power outlet and the glove box is a good size. There are large door pockets in the front with space for a bottle of drink, but no door pockets in the back.


Specification levels are high on the Maxima, with a sunroof, cruise control and front fog lamps standard on both SV and SR models, as well as parking sensors and 19-inch alloy wheels. The SR model adds a spoiler, rear bucket seats and a powered rear sunshade.

Our test car’s seats were upholstered in leather, while Nissan’s intelligent key means you can unlock and start the car without taking the key from your pocket, which is a very useful timesaver that you’ll quickly get used to. We also liked the rear-view camera and excellent Bose sound system. Options available include the impressive and easy to use satellite navigation and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

The interior has plenty of room for adults in the front and the back

The interior has plenty of room for adults in the front and the back

As always in this part of the world, the exact specifications available will vary depending on your local dealer. An entry-level S model is also available in some markets.


Nissan is quite proud of the Maxima’s safety credentials. There are more than 50 standard features under its Safety Shield banner, including front, side and curtain airbags on all models. ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control are all standard features, as is VDC (Nissan’s version of electronic stability control). There are also LATCH child seat fixing points.

The Maxima received the maximum five stars in the US NHTSA crash test programme.

2010 Nissan Maxima

2010 Nissan Maxima


With prices for the Maxima SV starting at 113,000AED, Nissan’s latest sedan represents reasonable value for money as it’s well specified. However, the release of the impressive Kia Cadenza puts the Maxima under pressure. We prefer the Kia, especially with its top-range model costing just 109,000AED.

The official combined fuel economy of the Maxima is 10.7l/100km, which should give it a range of around 710km from its 76-litre fuel tank.

Nissan offers a fairly standard three year/100,000km warranty on the Maxima. Major services are due at 40,000km and 80,000km and should cost a reasonable 850AED and 975AED respectively at the time of writing.

2010 Nissan Maxima

Trim levels available*: S, SV, SR
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Max power (bhp/rpm): 290/6,400
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 350/4,400
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Driven wheels: Front wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1650kg – 1665kg
Price: 113,500 – 119,500
*Italics = model tested

3 Responses to 2010 Nissan Maxima | road test

  1. Memory Improvement Reply

    October 7, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Specification levels are high on the Maxima, with a sunroof, cruise control and front fog lamps standard on both SV and SR models.

  2. rizwan Reply

    August 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

    the cvt transmission needs to be driven differently it feels different in that there there is a initial rise in revs foll by a sudden release and  is no torque induced seat pushback yet the car does the 100 km /hr sprint in 6.3 secs so its very fast and sporty.also mid range acceleration from this cvt is instantaneous so passing other cars  is very easy  which is not seen with conventional auto transmission

  3. George Reply

    April 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    In a land where only highway high speed battles make sense of the word “sporty”, the new Maxima, ticks the box ……twice!
    The feel of the interiors are so well improved, they may have upset their prettier upmarket sisters G35/G37. What was Nissan thinking…or even Infiniti in this case!

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