2006 Nissan Maxima

Change year or car

Change year or car

$27,900

starting MSRP

2006 Nissan Maxima

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Sporty handling
  • Stability
  • Automatic-transmission operation
  • Resale value

The bad:

  • Road noise

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • SE

    $27,900

  • SL

    $30,150

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Nissan Maxima trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6
  • Automatic or manual
  • Optional four-passenger version
  • Skyview sunroof
  • Shapely styling

2006 Nissan Maxima review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

We hit the highway for this review with extreme prejudice. No, that’s not spy lingo for the elimination of a foe. Just an admission that I climbed into the 2006 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE knowing that it is powered by what I consider to be the best V-6 engine on the planet. It’s superbly smooth and plenty powerful at 265 horsepower, and ready toannounce its presence through quad-tipped dual exhausts. Somehow, the Maxima, the flagship of Nissan’s fleet, has rumbled beneath the radar of most consumers. When we think American muscle in a foreign skin, we often envision BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Audi. And yes, Nissan’s upscale Infiniti brands that bear the 35 and 45 badges have been given their muscle-car recognition. Yet the 3.5 SE purrs with a perfect combination of sports car and family sedan that — even loaded with extras you might not need or want — still comes in at below $35,000.

Nissan has never been afraid to test the edges on design, and it has done so here in a couple of ways. How about a long, fore-to-aft shaft of sunroof that is standard? The test car had an optional power transverse sunroof, but I would have preferred the longer one, since it provides sunlight for front and rear passengers.

And how about a dashboard that ”floats” forward, seemingly disconnected from the windshield and anchored by a faux-brushed-metal control pod at its center. (See ”annoyances” for what I did not like about what I am now praising.)

Nissan has learned to use round design in an effective way, contrary to the Taurus-trend that hampered Ford Motor Co. (even though lots of folks bought those plug-ugly cars). It may be the short front and rear overhangs that give the Maxima an aggressive stance, even as its lines flow so softly.

Inside, there are broad front bucket seats that, even without the preferred heavy bolstering along the legs and up the torso, somehow hold you in their grip during tight cornering. With the test car’s leather package, gray suede flowed from behind the dash to the door panels to create an enveloping effect.

The SE, as tested, comes with tight suspension tuning, so it ran flat through tough corners (and I would imagine the softer-tuned SL would not). With this engine and its kick, I’m not sure I’d want anything besides tight tuning, but there are those for whom power is a straight-ahead highway kind of deal. Sunday cruisers, I think they are called. But there is no reason to settle for the Maxima as a mere cruiser, though it is a fine example of that kind of vehicle.

For those looking for a powerful, soft, easy ride up and down on a road like Interstate 93, the SL is probably just fine. And with basic interior appointments, comfortable seating, and subtle, quiet power, this is a car that will roll with any Camry, Accord, or even lower-end Lexus and Acura models on the open road.

But also picture this: A Maxima with the tight suspension, burbling exhaust pipes, optional rear bucket seats complete with console between them. (OK, there is torque steer you’ll need to get used to.)

You can feel the tightness in corners, the sure and firm braking, and the overall feel of driving a sports car. Nissan has pulled it off, although perhaps too subtly.

Were it not for the 18-inch chrome wheels that ate up the wheel wells, I doubt anyone would have noticed when I pulled into a parking space.

But this car is about far more than the bling of glistening wheels. Consider that its base price of $27,750 not only includes side-curtain air bags, but ABS and traction control.

And if I wasn’t interested in such luxuries as XM satellite radio and a ”sensory package” that featured leather and heated seats, and pushed the test model’s price into the $34,000 range, I could have driven away in a swell ride for around $30,000.

Royal Ford can be reached at ford@globe.com.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.7
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.4

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Best 4 DSC

Best VQ engine, adaptability to mods, rides smooth, good torque, great engine power. If you have this car fully loaded it’s one of the best vehicles to own. The only thing that sucks about these cars is the transmission ends up slipping on these models after 100k miles.

4.9

Love the power of this car drives very smooth

Best car I’ve ever had it drives smooth I love the Bose sound system perfect commute car Good for Uber or lift The heating steering wheel is a blessing in the winter when your hands are frozen I love the heated leather seats they heat up before the Car

4.7

Semper Fi!

I bought the Maxima as a principle driving car for my wife. When she passed in November 2018, I continued to drive it with great satisfaction and fond memories.

See all 43 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2000

Acura RL

$42,000

starting MSRP

1998

INFINITI I30

$28,900

starting MSRP

2003

INFINITI I35

$29,100

starting MSRP