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2012 Nissan Maxima

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$6,570 — $16,970 USED
16
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

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
2012 Nissan Maxima exterior side view

What to Know

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

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

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

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
53 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(4.0)

Very dependable

by Josh G. from Baltimore Md on November 10, 2018

Nice body design ; V6 engine so it’s definitely fast. Very dependable & spacious no bad history report reported on the Nissan Maxima . Great choice Read full review

(5.0)

Very reliable & a real beauty

by Shay from Mount Olive, MS on October 27, 2018

A well dependable car and gets good gas mileage. It's roomy even for a tall person, good for travel for a family of four. We went from MS to South Carolina in it with no problems. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2012 Nissan Maxima currently has 0 recalls


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.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Nissan

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    6 years/less than 80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    84 months/100,000 miles from original new-car in-service date

  • 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

Latest 2012 Maxima Stories

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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

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