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2010 Nissan Maxima Review

MPG-o-Matic 2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV Review Summary: The Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV is a thoroughly modern sedan that brings a high level of driving enjoyment, a lovely cabin, and sweet array of technology. While the Maxima is once again billed at “The 4-Door Sports Car,” a quick look at Nissan’s website tells a different story. Nissan lists the Maxima at the top of the range under the Cars tab, rather than the Sports Cars tab (which is reserved for the 370Z and GT-R). Whether you consider it a true sports car or simply a sporty sedan, the Maxima takes its own road.



The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV is equipped with a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine producing 290 horsepower (HP) and 261 foot pounds of torque. The Maxima is only available with a Xitronic CVT automatic transmission.

The official fuel economy estimates for the 2010 Nissan Maxima are 19 city / 26 highway miles per gallon.


We traveled roughly 400 miles in our Dark Slate Maxima 3.5 SV review unit and were able to beat the official mileage estimates, with an average of 30.7 MPG on the Interstate highway and 25.1 MPG combined, with temperatures ranging from the low-seventies through the mid-nineties. Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the low-eighties. The test vehicle was delivered with over 15000 miles on the odometer.

The Maxima 3.5 SV is equipped with 18 x 8.0 inch aluminum alloy wheels and P245/45R18 Goodyear Eagle RS V-rated all-season tires. (The Sport Package features 19 x 8 inch alloys with P245/40R19 tires.)

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 30.5 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 31.0 MPG

The Maxima’s 290 HP V6 packs plenty of punch. While purists may take issue with the CVT transmission, the slapstick provides manual control over gear shifts and paddle shifters are optional.

Highway driving range is quite good when driven conservatively. All 2010 Maximas are fitted with a 20.0 gallon fuel tank and are designed to run premium unleaded fuel.

Curb Weight: The 2010 Maxima 3.5 SV weighs 3,565 pounds, while the 3.5 S comes in at 3,540 pounds.

The Maxima is equipped with four wheel anti-lock (ABS) brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution. The rotors measure 12.6 x 1.1 inches in the front and 12.13 x 0.63 inches in the rear.

The Maxima’s monochrome orange multi-functional trip computer provides average and real-time fuel economy gauges, along with, fuel range, trip meter, and outside temperature.

We always recommend using a real-time MPG gauge to encourage a fuel-efficient light-footed driving style and the Maxima’s thermometer-style gauge gets the job done. The optional full color 7-inch LCD Vehicle Information System provides a fuel economy history display.

We have no qualms about the Maxima’s handling, although we did not have the opportunity to test the tuned suspension in the Sport package.

The Maxima 3.5 SV’s cabin sets it apart from the crowd of four door sedans. There’s no mistaking this for an Accord or Camry. The leather seats are deeply bolstered and distinctive.

An eight-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar and thigh support is standard in the 3.5 SV. Two-level heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are included with the Cold, Sport, or Premium option packages. A heated and cooled driver’s seat is included in the Premium package.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is beefy, with well-executed controls. A Bluetooth hands-free phone system is standard, along with an XM satellite-equipped nine-speaker Bose audio system (with a six-CD in-dash changer).

Our review unit was equipped with the Monitor package, Cold package, and Technology package.

The Monitor package includes USB iPod and auxiliary audio/video inputs, along with a rearview monitor. (Adding the Monitor package replaces the six-CD in-dash changer with a single CD unit.)

The Technology package includes a hard drive-based navigation system, with voice recognition, a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive for digital audio storage, and Bluetooth audio streaming. The system allows phonebooks to be downloaded.

There are two twelve-volt outlets in separate center console compartments.

The Maxima’s standard second row while rated for three passengers, is most comfortable for two and includes a center armrest. There are 36.4 inches of rear seat head room and 34.6 inches of rear seat leg room.

The Premium option package adds a rear seat center console with audio and HVAC controls.

The Maxima’s trunk provides 14.2 cubic feet of cargo area, with a 60/40 fold-down rear seat to accommodate longer cargo. (If you choose the Sport or Premium packages, however, a rear-seat trunk pass-through replaces the 60/40 fold-down seat, due to trunk chassis reinforcement.)

All-in-all, the 2010 Maxima 3.5 SV stands out from the crowd of four-door sedans as it seeks to recapture the glory of its heyday as “the 4-Door Sports Car.” While there’s a lot to love about the Maxima, and the CVT transmission is relatively fuel-efficient, sporting enthusiasts can only wish that it was available with a manual transmission.

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