Product Reviews

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The Maxima is a quick car, but it doesn't add much over the less costly Nissan Altima overall. While pleasant, it falls short in some ways. Handling is responsive, but at low speeds the steering is overly light. The car is quiet, and the ride is decent. But the new coupelike silhouette has compromised visibility, trunk room and rear-seat comfort.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
2008
NA
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2000. Side air bags available, standard from 2004. Head protection air bags standard from 2004. ESC available from 2004, standard from 2009.
Road Test

The Maxima is a quick car, but it doesn't add much over the less costly Nissan Altima overall. While pleasant, it falls short in some ways. Handling is responsive, but at low speeds the steering is overly light. The car is quiet, and the ride is decent. But the new coupelike silhouette has compromised visibility, trunk room and rear-seat comfort.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 3.5-liter V6 (290 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Nissan Maxima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“Trim cover on door handle broken, cost to repair is about $370.00. Did not have it repaired”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Loose trim in A pillar”

Anonymous, VA (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

“Had the trunk lid repainted due to rust and paint peeling”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“Paint chips & peels on bumper”

Michael T., NY (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“the paint that nissan uses on my maxima chips really easy”

Charles O., CT (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“rust and body parts”

Thomas L., NY (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“More in the bumper and if someone accidentally bumped my car in a parking lot, the paint chips”

Jaime F., PA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“Rust problem on the left rear quarter panel on the wheel opening lip. Manufacturer of panel is covering all costs of the replacement through our local dealer”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“rust”

Thomas L., NY (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“rust on trunk under logo”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“Rust appearing around trunk trim”

Gerald U., MA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

“Wife complains of hearing rattles from around the glove box area”

Max S., FL (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

“Rear seat panels keep coming off and squeaks and rattles from sunroof”

Miguel V., CA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“Rear shocks squeeking. Took 3 trips to dealership to remedy”

Tyler P., CO (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

“I heard a noise in the seat my husband a auto technician said the seat metal was cracking/ coming off the floor of the car..in other words my seat driver side is ready to crack off the metal is breaking holding the seat to the floor”

Theresa R., OH (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“The car has squeaks and rattles, but after I got the car I noticed when I turned the car off there was a boom noise, and they moved some heat... further away, but it still happens but lower. I also wanted to mention what is very important, that this”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Air or water leaks

“Waters leaks into both rear doors and break lights”

Mark R., FL (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“The passenger front window is slamming shut when the electric window is almost closed, like it is uneven”

Theresa R., OH (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Drivers side front window wind noise-faulty window seal”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen goes blank

“Mileage odometer, tire pressure gauge, door open light, etc”

Max S., FL (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

“The vehicle information display stopped functioning. It provided me with tire pressure, key fob status, door / trunk ajar warnings, low fuel and ambient temperature”

Daniel R., MD (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“the entire instrument panel failed and had to be replaced”

Samuel R., MS (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Backup or other camera/sensors

“The display became wavy and the screen went blank. The dealer said it was a software problem and updated the software but it happened again. The problem is intermittent”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“The back-up system failed soon after I got the car, and at first they said it was fine, then they said they had to order a radio, and it took a long time and it arrived dead. Then they never ordered another. Later they did a Nissan tech fix, but that”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

“faulty”

Robert G., NV (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)
Radio

“radio to be changed static in radio when car is cold,going in to change radio”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“The vehicle failed emissions. The repair of the airflow part was 500$”

Daniel R., MD (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“Mass air sensor failed”

Scott C., UT (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“MAP sensor code frequently, even after cleaning and lter replacing MAP sensor. Online folkes are saying this is a bug in the car's controller that required updating. To eliminate this problem and get the update, you must pay even after paying to replace the MAP sensor”

Bob S., PA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“At 40000 mi the emmision senser came on. It was reset and 1 week later came back on. cost $500 to replace and found out it was defective at time of purchase. because of proper operation of electronics when replaced”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

“MAP Sensor failure - self diagnosed and repaired. Shop repair was estimated more than $300. Self repair, through knowledge gained on the internet, cost $20”

Bob S., PA (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

“The memory for the driver's settings of seats, mirrors and steering wheel intermittently looses the settings programed. It has been checked by the dealer more than once and the control module has been replaced but the problem continues”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Turn signal indicator on rear view mirror (right side) failed. Replaced by dealer, no cost”

David W., BC (2012 Nissan Maxima Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Heated or cooled seats

“Heated seat quit. It was covered by warranty”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)
Warning lights

“Faulty oxygen sensor-check engine light”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Wheel bearings

“I had to have wheel bearing (passenger front) replaced because it went bad. Three months later, another mechanic found leaking transmission fluid. I believe it was the passenger front transaxle, also the engine mount was broken. I think the leaking fluid and engine mount may have been broken by the first mechanic when replacing the wheel bearing”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“Complete fail. With 42K miles should not have happened”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“the squeaking has been ongoing and dealers have not corrected”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“After stopping quickly, car would not accelerate. Dealer could not repeat the problem and fell off warranty. Did not feel safe when stuck in middle of intersection with no power”

Tyler P., CO (2012 Nissan Maxima S 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“rust under logo on trunk”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Nissan Maxima SV 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

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