If someone disputes the facts when you remark about how cars have been getting bigger over the years, you might want to point them in the direction of the increasingly excellent 2017 Nissan Maxima. The Maxima has now been in production since as long ago as 1981, but while plenty of vehicles have found themselves growing into the next size category over time, the Nissan has moved up by two over the years. The original Maxima was a compact car up until 1988 when it moved up in the realm of the midsize. That's where it stayed until the eighth-generation was launched in 2015 as a 2016 model year, which is when it blossomed into the full-size, four-door sport sedan we know it as today.
Anyone who cares to take the time to browse images of the predecessors of the 2017 Nissan Maxima would probably admit there are few cars in the current market that have changed so much over time. Earlier incarnations of the Maxima were very much regular family sedans, but the latest version is altogether more edgy and performance-focused than its forefathers. The current car has a style and swagger way beyond its class and pay-grade, and although it shares its architecture and powertrain with the big-selling Altima, there isn't a lot about its exterior to remind you of the fact.
Inside the 2017 Nissan Maxima, things move even further from its Altima relative than they do on the outside. The cockpit wraps around the driver more tightly, and there are details everywhere that shout "sport sedan," from the sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel to the metallic trim that's in evidence all the way across the dash. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is a feature in all versions of the Maxima, which is then nicely framed by simple set of secondary controls.
There's no getting away from the fact Nissan has done a fantastic job with the redesigned styling of the interior and exterior of the Maxima, but it would be a little wasted if it didn’t have a powertrain to live up to its sporty look. There may be only one available in the 2017 Nissan Maxima, but there's no messing around here with inline-fours or anything like that. The engine in the Maxima is the excellent 3.5-liter V-6 that's also in the Altima, but here it makes an impressive 300 horsepower and 261 lb.-ft. of torque. That impressive amount of power is then sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.
Although there's just the one powertrain available, there's certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to trim levels with the Maxima. The lineup starts off with the entry level S model, and then the trims go up through SV, SL, SR and ME, and they then top out with the superb PLT.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.