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An orange 2022 Nissan Maxima is shown driving through a garage.

Use This Life Hack If You Want a Luxury Sedan for Half the Price

Who doesn’t want to drive a luxury car? Sliding behind the wheel is more enjoyable when you can settle into a perfectly contoured quilted leather seat and wrap your fingers around a heated steering wheel on a cold winter’s morning. But wait, you say, I don’t have a spare $80k to spend! Don’t worry because Nissan has your [perfectly heated or cooled] back with the 2022 Nissan Maxima Platinum.

It’s not often that a mainstream, mass-produced sedan earns the right to be compared with high-end luxury brands with legendary nameplates like Audi and BMW, but the Maxima Platinum gets there, thanks to features like diamond-quilted leather seating surfaces and real maple accenting. It doesn’t hurt that the flagship Maxima also contains an array of driver-assist and infotainment technology designed to optimize safety and convenience.

We’d be exaggerating if we reported that the Maxima Platinum bests its German luxury rivals eye-for-eye, but considering you’re shelling out half the money, it comes surprisingly close. Add to that its performance overtones and sporty ride handling characteristics, and the Maxima Platinum moves from compromise to comparable. Here’s why we’re confident the Nissan Maxima Platinum deserves a closer look.

Sports Sedan Performance Features

When you test drive a 2022 Nissan Maxima, the first thing you’ll notice is the driver-centric cockpit. It hints at what’s to come once you shift into drive. First is acceleration, which draws from a 300 horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 engine and filters that first burst of speed through a Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS). Put simply, CVTCS optimizes performance while simultaneously lowering fuel usage.

Adding to the variable transmission, input, and exhaust system is the Maxima’s innovative Drive-By-Wire throttle. The system replaces traditional cables and hydraulics with electronic sensors, and in doing so, creates more responsive acceleration. Other benefits include fewer moving parts and reduced overall curb weight, with the former meaning less to repair and the latter contributing to enhanced performance capabilities.

The Maxima Platinum wears a set of 19-inch W-rated all-season tires. The W rating is significant, indicating the tires have a speed rating of up to 168 mph. Although it’s highly doubtful you’ll ever reach that speed behind the wheel of any car (at least legally), knowing your sports sedan is outfitted with speed-rated tires just adds to its appeal, especially when they’re mated to trim-exclusive machine-finished 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights adorn the exterior, contributing not just to its sleek styling but also enhancing visibility in night driving conditions.

Overall, this is a performance sedan. Don’t believe us? Car and Driver called it “one of the quicker full-size sedans” and, of the 3.5-liter V6, the editors report that it “moves the Maxima along with purpose.” If you like hard data, consider this: the Maxima dashes from zero to 60 in a scant 5.7 seconds. By comparison, the Volvo S90, which costs well over $20,000 more, falls far behind at 6.9 seconds.

A close up shows the headlight and grille of a silver 2022 Nissan Maxima Platinum.

Luxury Exterior and Interior Features

Read through Nissan’s 2022 Maxima press kit, and words like “sculpted” and “flagship” punctuate the narrative, and it’s not just marketing fluff. Starting with the Maxima’s exterior styling and continuing in the immersive premium cabin environment, luxury and refinement are apt descriptors. Even the signature V-motion chrome grille feels upscale. There’s just enough chrome to make it interesting, but not so much that it’s gaudy.

Seven exterior color options include three premium hues: Pearl White TriCoat, Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, and Sunset Drift, Nissan’s signature burnt orange. The Maxima sits low to the ground in true sports sedan fashion, and the intentional use of black on the A and B pillars give the roof the appearance of floating above the vehicle itself, especially with the standard power moonroof’s expansive glass panels.

Luxury sedans win us over for their unexpected luxuries, thoughtful touches that add to driving enjoyment. The Maxima Platinum contains many of its own, including a Memory System that stores the seat, steering wheel, and mirror settings, along with a thigh support extension built into the driver’s seat. Rear seat passengers aren’t left out either, with standard heated rear seats.

Visually, the Platinum’s interior feels cohesive and refined. Quilted leather seating and a series of satin-finished maple wood trim pieces level up the cabin and distinguish this trim from the others. An 11-speaker Bose premium audio system features surround sound technology and get an acoustic boost from the standard Active Noise Cancellation that minimizes intrusions from exterior noise.

Infotainment and Safety Technology

One key characteristic distinguishes most German luxury sedans from the pack: a robust array of semi-autonomous safety designed to keep occupants alert and out of harm’s way. Features like automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring are nearing ubiquitous status in the new vehicle landscape, but high-end models apply an extra level of technology to optimize the on board sensor/camera/radar equipment.

The 2022 Maxima Platinum is no exception. In fact, the entire Maxima trim range features standard Safety Shield 360, a series of six driver-assist systems that constantly monitor road conditions for potential hazards, alerting the driver, and performing emergency mitigation to avert or minimize the severity of a collision. The list includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and automatic high beams, which Nissan calls High Beam Assist.

Beyond these features, the Maxima Platinum also includes Intelligent Cruise Control, which automates speed adjustments to match traffic conditions, Intelligent Lane Intervention, a system that can automatically apply the brakes to keep the vehicle from drifting, and Intelligent Forward Collision, which can see two vehicles ahead and react earlier with automatic braking to avoid a crash. Also, the standard Intelligent Around View Monitor provides a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the area around the vehicle.

As for infotainment, the Maxima’s 8-inch touchscreen is on the smaller side compared with those found on European luxury imports, but don’t let the size difference fool you. The infotainment operating system is robust and responsive, and includes door-to-door navigation and easy smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Connected services via NissanConnect are free for a trial period and include a Wi-Fi Hotspot.

A man is shown driving a 2022 Nissan Maxima.

Skip the Overpriced Prestige Nameplate

We all define luxury a little differently, but most consumers agree on the characteristics that define a true luxury car. These include elegant styling, a refined, upscale cabin, and – in the case of sports sedans – exhilarating driving and road handling characteristics. The scorecard for Nissan’s 2022 Maxima Platinum: check, check, and check. So, where does that leave luxury sedan seekers?

We concede, you won’t get the most brag-worthy hood emblem when you opt for a Maxima, but the extra cash in your wallet might compensate for any brand-related letdown. For some buyers, nothing but owning a true prestige vehicle will do, and we respect that decision. However, luxury and practicality don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you agree, then the 2022 Maxima Platinum awaits.

The Maxima provides owners pride-of-ownership in a less obvious, non-conventional manner. It’s a sleeper within the luxury sedan competitive set, discoverable by buyers who are willing to keep an open mind. In short, the 2022 Nissan Maxima Platinum is a savvy choice made by discerning buyers who aren’t caught up in flashy brands but rather seek an array of owner benefits, not the least of which is good old-fashioned value.