I don't get why everyone hates on Nissan's CVTs

6d ago


I had a fifth-generation Maxima GLE with the 3.0-liter VQ engine, with a four-speed automatic. I was the fourth owner and it had 210,000 miles on it when I got it. The exhaust was pretty much rotting away, so it was incredibly loud, but it made a brilliant noise and revved like crazy, and I loved every second of driving it. All was going well with the exception of a failing catalytic converter, until a school bus scraped up alongside me while I was trying to park at my high school and ruined the whole driver's side front quarter of the car. Suspension, bumper, door, mirror, the whole thing was shot.

My 2000 Nissan Maxima and the bus that killed her / Photo By Kyle Ferlita

It was a proper pain in the butt, and the car was totaled. In the meantime, between that day and getting my Buick, I drove my Dad's 2007 Maxima, the first year with the CVT. I always thought my Dad's Maxima was quick, but being behind the wheel of it was truly something else. It had the Shiftgate, which was a lot of fun to use as well. Every now and then I get to drive it, and I can't help but think that people are giving Nissan CVT's a bad rap for no real reason.

2019 Nissan Maxima SR / Photo Sourced from CNET

Hear me out.

The Maxima is the fastest six-cylinder full-size FWD sedan on the market today and has held that title since the GM's 5.3-liter W-Body cars went out of production in 2009. With a zero to 60 time of 5.7 seconds, and an imposing looking rear end, I can't help but love the Maxima. From the quad exhaust outlets to the subtle but stylish rear spoiler, I love this thing. 300 horsepower, 30 MPG Highway, its hard not to.

At this point, its really easy for Nissan to CVT everything, because Infiniti has a hold on the Nissan faithful that still want a conventional automatic. That being said, if that bus hadn't taken out mine, I'd still be driving it. My Dad's Maxima has about 130,000 miles on it, and with the exception of needing some transmission fluid, and rewelding an exhaust hanger, because New Jersey winters are brutal on the undercarriage, the car has been absolutely fine.

2019 Nissan Maxima SR / Photo Sourced from Autotrader

Unless the CVT has managed to get worse in the past twelve years that its been out, (Nissan, if you're reading this, call me for a test drive!) I think that we as enthusiasts are asking a little too much. I don't think that the Maxima is a "4-Door Sports Car", but I'm definitely willing to call it a "4-Door Sporty Car" considering this segment includes the beautiful but boring LaCrosse and the Kia Cadenza in all of its jagged-daytime running light glory.

Am I crazy? Are Nissan's CVTs actually terrible? I'm willing to discuss this with anyone who has actually driven a Maxima from 2007 onward, everyone else can go find some other Nissan comment section to yell in.