2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

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Spartan0536
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2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:46 pm

Hello NICO members,

I am looking to replace my 1992 Lexus LS400 with a few options that include Maxima's from 2018 to 2020, in trims of SL, SR, and Platinum. The focus is more on SL and Platinum (if I can get it), with my budget hard cap at $30,000 (USD). Autotrader, Cars.com, KBB, CarMax, and OffTheLease all have very enticing offers, all the way from higher mileage that is Nissan Certified to an 2018 SL model that just came in that has 9,753 miles on it for under $30,000 but no warranty.

I have test driven every single trim from S, to SV, SL, SR, and Platinum. The Platinum I drove was a 2019 model with a pearl white exterior and a white & black interior, and HOLY **** was I blown away, pretty much getting into Lexus GS territory without the price tag! I like how these Maxima's drive, I was able to ask myself "can you see yourself daily driving this car?", in every trim I was able to say YES, even on the S trim. I am however trying to have my cake and eat it too as I would LIKE cooled seats because here in Florida we have "swamp-a**" syndrome and it gets bad around this time of year, as for the heated stuff, that would rarely get used so its kind of a meh thing for me, but the cooled seats, now that is a feature I like.

All of that being said my one concern that people have routinely brought up to me is about the CVT transmission and how temperamental they can be. From what I have been able to gather so far is that a 2018 - 2020 model should be using Nissans "3.0" version of their CVT which fixed most of the issues surrounding the earlier ones, and they do not share the same issues that the Altima faces, is this correct? Also are the transmissions for these years really as bad as some people say or are they just stuck in days past and are living in ignorance?

Out of all the car brands that I have researched and test driven its come down to Nissan and interestingly BUICK... yeah... but with a caveat, its a 2018 Buick Regal GS that is FULLY LOADED, the person got every single upgrade for that car in that year, it's impressive to say the least complete with a HUD (Heads Up Display) and everything. So right now I am looking for some solid insight as to what I should be concerned about, look out for, and if the 2018 - 2020 Maxima is badly designed car from a reliability stand point, as well as your opinions on the matter. Thanks for the input in advance, I look forward to seeing your insights as I will use that information in my final deliberations.

Oh 1 last thing, that sport tuned exhaust on the SR model makes the VQ35 sound like a Skyline and I love it, nice little growl in there.


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VStar650CL
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby VStar650CL » Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:14 am

Spartan0536 wrote:
Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:46 pm
From what I have been able to gather so far is that a 2018 - 2020 model should be using Nissans "3.0" version of their CVT which fixed most of the issues surrounding the earlier ones, and they do not share the same issues that the Altima faces, is this correct? Also are the transmissions for these years really as bad as some people say or are they just stuck in days past and are living in ignorance?
The 6-cyl CVT's never had the kind of issues the 4-cyl units did, but maintenance is still the key. There's an old Murano in our shop that's about to top 500K on the original CVT, but the customer does spills-and-fills every 30K like a religion. The low-miles cars you're looking at should be trouble-free if you maintain them well. I'd do an immediate D&F on anything you buy just on general principles. Insist on service records for anything above 50K or so, and if the seller can't provide them, look elsewhere.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:04 pm

VStar650CL wrote:
Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:14 am
Spartan0536 wrote:
Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:46 pm
From what I have been able to gather so far is that a 2018 - 2020 model should be using Nissans "3.0" version of their CVT which fixed most of the issues surrounding the earlier ones, and they do not share the same issues that the Altima faces, is this correct? Also are the transmissions for these years really as bad as some people say or are they just stuck in days past and are living in ignorance?
The 6-cyl CVT's never had the kind of issues the 4-cyl units did, but maintenance is still the key. There's an old Murano in our shop that's about to top 500K on the original CVT, but the customer does spills-and-fills every 30K like a religion. The low-miles cars you're looking at should be trouble-free if you maintain them well. I'd do an immediate D&F on anything you buy just on general principles. Insist on service records for anything above 50K or so, and if the seller can't provide them, look elsewhere.
So the crap that I see on other forums and reddit about Nissan Maxima CVT's being unreliable even past 2017 are either because the people did not maintain them, raced them to death (you can do that to any transmission, not just CVT), or are just regurgitating stuff from 2008? I am not being accusatory on your behalf as you are an automotive mechanic from the sounds of it so your word carries a good bit of weight. I just wish there was a much more active forum for Nissan cars, unless I am missing something there as well.

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VStar650CL
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby VStar650CL » Sun Jul 24, 2022 7:09 pm

There are plenty of CVT's here in the forum -- even 4-cyl units -- pushing some very high mileage. Certain MY's have issues with the Valve Bodies, which isn't like a whole trans. Maxes from any MY are not among them. If you're a leadfoot, put a cooler on it and spill-and-fill more frequently. To answer your other question, yes, there's a lot of CVT hate out there and much of it is regurgitated. Not that it isn't Nissan's own fault, they made a lot of ridiculous claims in the early CVT days and still post ridiculous maintenance numbers. Just ignore the latter and treat your tranny right.

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PalmerWMD
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby PalmerWMD » Sun Jul 24, 2022 7:34 pm

Spartan,

Fellow Floridian here :wavey:

Just to let you know VStar650CL is our resident forum ASE certified Nissan master mechanic etc etc
He speaks with authority. :mike

Welcome to Nico! :welcome: your new home away form home!
Now go out and buy that Maxima and send us some roundtrip stories! :yesnod

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Sun Jul 24, 2022 9:00 pm

It sounded like he knew what he was talking about, congrats VStar650CL on the ASE Master Mechanic, that is quite an achievement and carries some damn SERIOUS weight in automotive discussions. That being said, what are your thoughts on the 2018 - 2020 Buick Regal GS's in regards to reliability?

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VStar650CL
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby VStar650CL » Sun Jul 24, 2022 10:12 pm

The ASE part is mostly for customer benefit, I work for Nissan and I'm very specialized (electrical), so the only time I see Buicks is as used cars. But I will say, of all the GM hardware, Buick seems to me to be the only division with real $hit together. My son-in-law works for Chevy, hope he doesn't hate me for saying that.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:13 pm

Thanks for the honest feedback on that, it is truly appreciated. I was hoping there would be some kind of major "smoking gun" somewhere that would lead me in a direction, looks like between the Regal GS and the Maxima (likely an SL trim) there really is no "wrong" answer per-se?

I will say this, the VQ35 engine does sound better than the LGX engine does, at least exhaust note wise.

I suppose the biggest hurdle is that there is only 1 Regal GS within 1000 miles of my house for sale and its the one right down the road for me, however I have 12 competing 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima's for sale within 200 miles of me, and a few just down the road. Decisions, Decisions... I am stuck.

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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Rogue One » Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:18 am

Spartan0536 wrote:
Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:13 pm
Decisions, Decisions... I am stuck.
Allow me to add to your confusion...

Official Nissan press releases for the different model years you're looking at. Here you'll find details on what features were added (or removed) for each of those years.
2018 Nissan Maxima Press Kit
2019 Nissan Maxima Press Kit
2020 Nissan Maxima Press Kit

2021 Nissan Maxima vs. 2020 Buick Regal Sportback
https://www.asburyauto.com/compare/2021 ... ack/200765
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/compare/N ... d242_d2608

Reliability (2020 model year as example)
Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 39 points higher than the Regal Sportback.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

A final thought, make sure that you get a Carfax or AutoCheck on whatever vehicle you decide to buy.
2016-2021 Nissan Maxima: Problems, Engine, Pros and Cons

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VStar650CL
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby VStar650CL » Mon Jul 25, 2022 6:09 am

Rogue One wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:18 am
Spartan0536 wrote:
Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:13 pm
Decisions, Decisions... I am stuck.
Allow me to add to your confusion...

Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 39 points higher than the Regal Sportback.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.
Allow me to add a little more. Unless you plan to keep a car for three years and then trade it and want to make sure you won't be at the dealership for warranty once a week, JD Power is pretty useless. It's what it says it is, initial quality. Measuring for the longer term is obviously more difficult, especially with modern CAD/CAM allowing OEM's to engage in 2 and 3 year design cycles if they desire. The fact that the Max has been tweaked-but-unchanged since '16 tells you something. It had few teething problems (notably the Radar and ABS, almost nothing in the drivetrain) and from '18 up is about as "ironed out" as a car design can be. On the other hand, the Regal got a major makeover in '18 and barely a year later GM announced discontinuance in '20, so one wonders how much effort went into whatever wrinkles showed up. My guess is not much. That will probably change now with Uncle Joe's fuel tax resurrecting the sedan and big SUV owners ducking for cover, but the previous MY Buicks won't benefit from that.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Mon Jul 25, 2022 7:52 am

VStar650CL wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 6:09 am
Rogue One wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:18 am

Allow me to add to your confusion...

Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 39 points higher than the Regal Sportback.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.
Allow me to add a little more. Unless you plan to keep a car for three years and then trade it and want to make sure you won't be at the dealership for warranty once a week, JD Power is pretty useless. It's what it says it is, initial quality. Measuring for the longer term is obviously more difficult, especially with modern CAD/CAM allowing OEM's to engage in 2 and 3 year design cycles if they desire. The fact that the Max has been tweaked-but-unchanged since '16 tells you something. It had few teething problems (notably the Radar and ABS, almost nothing in the drivetrain) and from '18 up is about as "ironed out" as a car design can be. On the other hand, the Regal got a major makeover in '18 and barely a year later GM announced discontinuance in '20, so one wonders how much effort went into whatever wrinkles showed up. My guess is not much. That will probably change now with Uncle Joe's fuel tax resurrecting the sedan and big SUV owners ducking for cover, but the previous MY Buicks won't benefit from that.
This brings up the quintessential question here, FUEL ECONOMY. Yeah I get it, this is not a Hyundai Sonata with a 1.6L Turbo that moves like a 1995 Ford Taurus (not joking, I just test drove that and it feels exactly like that), that gets 42 MPG highway and 36 City from the EPA. Both cars I am looking at have 300+ HP V6 engines, if someone could make a 400 HP 4 cylinder that gets 42 miles per gallon and lasts over 250K they would own the car market for decades, this is not the case in reality.... currently, maybe Elon Musk has some secret tech :P

The best fuel economy I have seen from that Buick Regal GS in the car was 35 MPG which was the previous owners last trip, that is impressive, but I imagine that was all very conservative highway. My question here is what do these 2018 - 2020 Maxima's do AT BEST for fuel economy and not just reading the EPA estimates... are we talking 33 MPG?

Also what is your take on using 87 Octane fuel in the Maxima, any performance issues or long term ill effects, because premium gas HURTS, and my current LS400 eats it like its a fat kid eating cake.

Also these are technical specs on the 2018 Buick Regal GS that I am considering as the alternative to the Maxima's.. https://gmauthority.com/blog/gm/buick/r ... fications/

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Mon Jul 25, 2022 8:19 am

Rogue One wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:18 am
Spartan0536 wrote:
Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:13 pm
Decisions, Decisions... I am stuck.
Allow me to add to your confusion...

Official Nissan press releases for the different model years you're looking at. Here you'll find details on what features were added (or removed) for each of those years.
2018 Nissan Maxima Press Kit
2019 Nissan Maxima Press Kit
2020 Nissan Maxima Press Kit

2021 Nissan Maxima vs. 2020 Buick Regal Sportback
https://www.asburyauto.com/compare/2021 ... ack/200765
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/compare/N ... d242_d2608

Reliability (2020 model year as example)
Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 39 points higher than the Regal Sportback.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

A final thought, make sure that you get a Carfax or AutoCheck on whatever vehicle you decide to buy.
2016-2021 Nissan Maxima: Problems, Engine, Pros and Cons
By the way this is the better comparison from CarGuru's: https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/autos/ver ... wertrains=

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PalmerWMD
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby PalmerWMD » Mon Jul 25, 2022 3:43 pm

Spartan0536 wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 7:52 am
VStar650CL wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 6:09 am

Allow me to add a little more. Unless you plan to keep a car for three years and then trade it and want to make sure you won't be at the dealership for warranty once a week, JD Power is pretty useless. It's what it says it is, initial quality. Measuring for the longer term is obviously more difficult, especially with modern CAD/CAM allowing OEM's to engage in 2 and 3 year design cycles if they desire. The fact that the Max has been tweaked-but-unchanged since '16 tells you something. It had few teething problems (notably the Radar and ABS, almost nothing in the drivetrain) and from '18 up is about as "ironed out" as a car design can be. On the other hand, the Regal got a major makeover in '18 and barely a year later GM announced discontinuance in '20, so one wonders how much effort went into whatever wrinkles showed up. My guess is not much. That will probably change now with Uncle Joe's fuel tax resurrecting the sedan and big SUV owners ducking for cover, but the previous MY Buicks won't benefit from that.
This brings up the quintessential question here, FUEL ECONOMY. Yeah I get it, this is not a Hyundai Sonata with a 1.6L Turbo that moves like a 1995 Ford Taurus (not joking, I just test drove that and it feels exactly like that), that gets 42 MPG highway and 36 City from the EPA. Both cars I am looking at have 300+ HP V6 engines, if someone could make a 400 HP 4 cylinder that gets 42 miles per gallon and lasts over 250K they would own the car market for decades, this is not the case in reality.... currently, maybe Elon Musk has some secret tech :P

The best fuel economy I have seen from that Buick Regal GS in the car was 35 MPG which was the previous owners last trip, that is impressive, but I imagine that was all very conservative highway. My question here is what do these 2018 - 2020 Maxima's do AT BEST for fuel economy and not just reading the EPA estimates... are we talking 33 MPG?

Also what is your take on using 87 Octane fuel in the Maxima, any performance issues or long term ill effects, because premium gas HURTS, and my current LS400 eats it like its a fat kid eating cake.

Also these are technical specs on the 2018 Buick Regal GS that I am considering as the alternative to the Maxima's.. https://gmauthority.com/blog/gm/buick/r ... fications/
- Maxima has lower compression by nearly a full point, so it ought to be more able to handle regular or midrange then the Buick.
- Maxima has better fuel EPA economy paired with a larger fuel tank. This make you more resilient on long drives or in supply disruption ( hurricane?) times.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Mon Jul 25, 2022 10:03 pm

PalmerWMD wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 3:43 pm
Spartan0536 wrote:
Mon Jul 25, 2022 7:52 am


This brings up the quintessential question here, FUEL ECONOMY. Yeah I get it, this is not a Hyundai Sonata with a 1.6L Turbo that moves like a 1995 Ford Taurus (not joking, I just test drove that and it feels exactly like that), that gets 42 MPG highway and 36 City from the EPA. Both cars I am looking at have 300+ HP V6 engines, if someone could make a 400 HP 4 cylinder that gets 42 miles per gallon and lasts over 250K they would own the car market for decades, this is not the case in reality.... currently, maybe Elon Musk has some secret tech :P

The best fuel economy I have seen from that Buick Regal GS in the car was 35 MPG which was the previous owners last trip, that is impressive, but I imagine that was all very conservative highway. My question here is what do these 2018 - 2020 Maxima's do AT BEST for fuel economy and not just reading the EPA estimates... are we talking 33 MPG?

Also what is your take on using 87 Octane fuel in the Maxima, any performance issues or long term ill effects, because premium gas HURTS, and my current LS400 eats it like its a fat kid eating cake.

Also these are technical specs on the 2018 Buick Regal GS that I am considering as the alternative to the Maxima's.. https://gmauthority.com/blog/gm/buick/r ... fications/
- Maxima has lower compression by nearly a full point, so it ought to be more able to handle regular or midrange then the Buick.
- Maxima has better fuel EPA economy paired with a larger fuel tank. This make you more resilient on long drives or in supply disruption ( hurricane?) times.
The Buick's Manual states to use Regular Unleaded (87 Oct) fuel in the engine despite having a higher compression ratio. Just wondering on how the Maxima performs on 87 octane and if it would damage the engine over time if I just used regular unleaded.

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VStar650CL
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby VStar650CL » Tue Jul 26, 2022 5:20 am

Maxes run fine on regular with up to 10% ethanol. I'd imagine the Buick would too, modern ECM's all just dial the timing back when they detect knock coupled with power loss. The VQ in the Max isn't some temperamental VVEL monster like a Z or Q50 Red Sport, it's just a modern V6 with a good powerband.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:57 pm

I just had my wife test drive a 2019 Maxima Platinum, the very one I talked about earlier. She thought it was nice but not for the money they were asking, too bad because that white on black is something else, very Lexus like. Tomorrow she test drives the 2018 Regal GS and then we talk with the dealership about their pricing and options for that car, if that falls through then I am definitely getting a Maxima and its either going to be an SL/SR/Platinum trim. The reason why the Regal GS is getting this kind of "treatment" is the dealership is going to sell it off at auction if it does not sell this week, its been on the lot for sale for almost 3 months now, and they dropped the price to 24K, which makes it very appealing, and clearly we have the advantage in this situation.

Spartan0536
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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby Spartan0536 » Wed Jul 27, 2022 2:26 pm

Just did the test drive in the Regal GS with my wife, she did not like the Auto Start/Stop feature but there are ways to turn it off. Her input is about 5% of my decision making in this, the real deciding factor is the price, they had the GS listed for $24,700 which is very attractive, I want 28K out the door with a warranty.

So what was the dealerships offer? $31,500 with no warranty... they can not even kindly go f*** themselves with that 7K markup offer. IF they do not meet my offer before they send it out to auction I will most certainly end up in a Maxima (not that its a bad thing, I like them or they would not have been a finalist). Good news is Maxima's are not in short supply and I have over 20 options that I have saved in a 200 mile radius around my house, including one peculiar offer that comes with an UNLIMITED MILE AND TIME WARRANTY, but the maintenance records were lost on it.

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Re: 2018 - 2020 Nissan Maxima Pre-Purchase Concerns

Postby PalmerWMD » Tue Aug 09, 2022 7:12 pm

Spartan0536 wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 2:26 pm
including one peculiar offer that comes with an UNLIMITED MILE AND TIME WARRANTY, but the maintenance records were lost on it.
Where is that? I want to buy it! :naughty:
(just kidding, well maybe halfway kidding...)

Seems like a great deal and if u have that kind of warranty a lack of maintenance records ( which is common) is not really an issue IMHO.


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