2012 Nissan Maxima

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$7,726–$16,826 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Nissan Maxima. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    22 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    2-speed CVT w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Cabin materials
  • Ride quality
  • Handling with Sport Package
  • Brakes
  • Luxurious options

The Bad

  • Responsive but ill-suited CVT
  • Steering without Sport Package
  • Trunk volume
  • Smallish cabin
  • Requires premium gas

Notable Features of the 2012 Nissan Maxima

  • Revised styling for 2012
  • 290-hp V-6
  • CVT
  • Optional panoramic moonroof
  • Shares platform with Altima

2012 Nissan Maxima Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview

The Maxima returns in two trim levels, 3.5 S and 3.5 SV, both of which have a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The five-seat Maxima is based on the same platform as the Altima, but it serves as Nissan's flagship sedan. It competes with cars like the Dodge Charger and Ford Taurus.

New for 2012

The 2012 Maxima sports a new grille, new taillights and newly styled 18- or 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The interior, newly offered in beige, can now have Atlantic Cherry faux wood trim. A new Limited Edition Package includes xenon headlights with a smoked appearance, 18-inch dark silver wheels, a rear spoiler, a dark chrome grille and illuminated sill plates.

Exterior

Boomerang-shaped headlights and a restyled grille sit low on the Maxima's front end, and the new taillights are also mounted low. Nissan describes the Maxima's styling as "liquid motion," similar to the undulations of a wave. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Available 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Standard power moonroof
  • Optional dual-panel panoramic moonroof
  • Optional xenon headlights

Interior

The Maxima's cabin could probably get away with an Infiniti badge. It draws elements from Infiniti's G and M sedans, while the wraparound dash looks much like the one in the Altima. All told, it easily rivals the cabin in a Ford Taurus, another player in its segment. Interior features include:

  • Standard power front seats
  • Standard 60/40-split folding backseat
  • Standa...

Vehicle Overview

The Maxima returns in two trim levels, 3.5 S and 3.5 SV, both of which have a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The five-seat Maxima is based on the same platform as the Altima, but it serves as Nissan's flagship sedan. It competes with cars like the Dodge Charger and Ford Taurus.

New for 2012

The 2012 Maxima sports a new grille, new taillights and newly styled 18- or 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The interior, newly offered in beige, can now have Atlantic Cherry faux wood trim. A new Limited Edition Package includes xenon headlights with a smoked appearance, 18-inch dark silver wheels, a rear spoiler, a dark chrome grille and illuminated sill plates.

Exterior

Boomerang-shaped headlights and a restyled grille sit low on the Maxima's front end, and the new taillights are also mounted low. Nissan describes the Maxima's styling as "liquid motion," similar to the undulations of a wave. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Available 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Standard power moonroof
  • Optional dual-panel panoramic moonroof
  • Optional xenon headlights

Interior

The Maxima's cabin could probably get away with an Infiniti badge. It draws elements from Infiniti's G and M sedans, while the wraparound dash looks much like the one in the Altima. All told, it easily rivals the cabin in a Ford Taurus, another player in its segment. Interior features include:

  • Standard power front seats
  • Standard 60/40-split folding backseat
  • Standard dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Optional heated seats
  • Optional ventilated driver's seat

Under the Hood

The Maxima's 3.5-liter V-6 makes 290 hp and 261 pounds-feet of torque and requires premium gas. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard. Mechanical features include:

  • Sport and manual shift modes
  • Optional paddle shifters
  • Optional sport suspension

Safety

Standard safety features include:

  • Side-impact and side curtain airbags
  • Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system with traction control
  • Active front head restraints


Latest 2012 Maxima Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Awesome car it has the looks and the comfort.

by Caseyla from Frenchman bayou ar on July 13, 2018

My favorite car. I owned and 2005 and I still love that one. The newer versions are even better i really want one. Hopefully I'll find one in my price range Read full review

(5.0)

Maxima Owner Since 1989

by Hnak from OKC OK on June 10, 2018

Very reliable, fast, and very dependable car. I've been a Maxima owner for years, and probably will own one for life. The car belongs to my wife, which I purchased brand new for her birthday....she ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Nissan Maxima currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
marginal
Overall Rear
marginal
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
acceptable

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Nissan

Program Benefits

24 Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance, Towing Assistance, Trip Interruption Benefits, 3-month free subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio on properly equipped vehicles, Complimentary CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ and 3-Year CARFAX® Buy Back Guarantee

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from original in-service date; $50 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 167 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Maxima received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker