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Nissan Maxima vs Toyota Camry: a 2014 update

The Maxima takes a swing at the champ. See how it stacks up.

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The Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in America (and has been for many years.) Everybody wants to take a run at the champ and that goes for close competitor Nissan. The Nissan Maxima stacks up well in many areas making a 2014 Nissan Maxima vs. Toyota Camry debate one of the most interesting car discussions you can have. We step into the conversation with this guide that breaks down the pros and cons of each vehicle to help make your decision easier.

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2014 Nissan Maxima

2014 nissan maxima vs. toyota camry1The Maxima continues to serve as Nissan’s leading edge in the mid-size sedan market. Unfortunately, it tends to suffer from being stuck between competing brands and models on either side of the balance sheet and hasn’t been substantially upgraded since 2009. It may be one reason why, despite its best efforts, it still lands far behind the Camry in total sales (currently ranked as the #45 car sold in the U.S. where sales volume is concerned.)

The 2014 Nissan Maxima is a four-door, five-passenger sedan and it’s available in two distinct finish/option packages, the S and the SV. For 2014, you can upgrade the S with the S Limited Edition and the SV with either a Sport finish package or its Premium Package.

Upgrades you’ll find in the S Limited Edition model include 18-inch dark silver wheels, smoked appearance headlamps, darkened grille, a rear spoiler, xenon headlights (low beams only), foglights, exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, and metallic interior trim.

Upgrades you find in the SV (over the S) include xenon headlights all around, foglights, leather upholstery and an upgraded driver seat with extendable thigh support and power lumbar. The SV option also includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, an iPod/USB audio interface, single-disc CD player, and satellite radio. Upgrade the 2014 Nissan Maxima SV with the Sport or Premium packages and you’ll get upgraded leather upholstery, driver seat memory functions, a ventilated driver seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters, and an upgraded Bose audio system. Rear bucket seats with a center trunk pass-through also replace the 60/40-split rear seatbacks you’ll find in the standard SV. The SV Premium package includes a dual-panel sunroof, ambient lighting and wood trim. The Sport package features a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels and special exterior and interior trim details.

The amenities in the SV and the upgrades you can opt for are pretty clear indications that Nissan is trying to emulate higher-priced or even luxury sedans without breaking your budget (for purchase price or gas costs down the road.)

Whichever model and trim package you choose, every 2014 Nissan Maxima is powered with its tight 3.5L V6 engine pumping out 290-hp and 261 pound-feet of torque. That power is delivered through front-wheel drive with extra tight handling and a smooth Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. Even with all that power at your feet, it still delivers nicely on fuel efficiency for its class. The 2014 Nissan Maxima rates at 19-mpg in the city and 26-mpg on the highways.

The 2014 Nissan Maxima comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and active front-seat head restraints. A rearview camera is standard on all SV models. Advanced safety features include electronic breakforce distribution and a head restraint, whiplash protection system designed to keep you and your passengers out of harm's way in the event of an accident.

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2014 Toyota Camry

2014 nissan maxima vs. toyota camry2It’s easy to suggest that Toyota should not mess with success, and it seems to take that advice to heart. For 2014, very little was done to the Camry line, except for the addition of another trim/option level added to the lineup. For 2014, the Toyota Camry comes in five distinct trim packages:

  • Camry L
  • Camry LE
  • Camry SE
  • Camry SE Sport (new for 2014)
  • Camry XLE

(These do not include the Camry Hybrid lines)

In a marketing and design gimmick worthy of the old Ford Mustang days, Toyota introduced a 2014.5 line of Camrys mid-way through the model year. With these came a rearview camera added as a standard feature and with some of the higher end trim and finish packages, upward modifications were made with the sound and tech packages. Toyota was also able to tout better test results in highway safety and crash-test surveys for these 2014.5 Camrys.

The new SE Sport trim package features bigger wheels, a sunroof and a power driver seat.

All 2014 Camrys have a front-wheel drive power train managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. You can get a 2.5L, four-cylinder engine in any trim class that delivers a surprisingly peppy 178-hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. Step up to either the SE or the XLE trim options packages and you can opt for a more powerful 3.5L V6 engine delivering 268-hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. One reason why the Camry continues to be popular is the amazing efficiency even the most powerful models deliver. Any of the four-cylinder options will get you 26-mpg in the city and 35-mpg on the highway. Step up to the V6 and you still get a nice 21-mpg in the city and 31-mpg on the highway.

All Camrys come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and knee airbags for both driver and passenger. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is also available for the Camry in the SE and XLE trim packages. There is an optional Safety Connect telematics system for the XLE that includes roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification.

Camry earned all five stars in the NHTSA’s crash-test results. It also earned the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick nod in its class.

Prices and warranties

2014 nissan maxima vs. toyota camry4What you personally will wind up paying for your 2014 Nissan Maxima or Toyota Camry will depend on where you live and how generous any particular dealer will be with sales, promotions and discounts. We can give you a general sense of what the starting MSRPs for the basic options with each trim selection with each model will be:

2014 Nissan Maxima

  • Maxima S -- $31,290
  • Maxima S Limited -- $32,040
  • Maxima SV -- $34,380
  • Maxima SV Sport -- $36,380
  • Maxima SV Premium -- $37,230

2014 Toyota Camry

  • Camry L -- $22,425
  • Camry LE -- $22,870
  • Camry SE -- $23,740
  • Camry SE Sport – $25,430
  • Camry XLE -- $25,810

As for warranties, the 2014 Nissan Maximas are all covered by the standard Nissan warranty. This warranty gives you:

  • 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited coverage
  • 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain coverage
  • 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion perforation protection

The 2014 Toyota Camry warranty stacks up similarly with Nissan as it gives you:

  • 3-year/36,000 mile limited bumper-to-bumper coverage
  • 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
  • 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion protection

(It’s important to note that the Camry also comes with 24-month/25,000 mile coverage of standard maintenance.)

Quick comparisons

2014 nissan maxima vs. toyota camry5While it’s true that the 4-door Camry and the 4-door Maxima are similar in many ways, it essentially boils down to cost, economy and power. It would seem unfair to run a tale-of-the-tape between one of the four-cylinder Camrys and a V6 Maxima. We can get some sense of a more fair comparison if we line up a Camry with a V6 and a comparable Maxima. Lining up the 2014 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S with the 2014 Toyota Camry CE V6, here’s a quick comparison in some standard categories:

  • Power – advantage Maxima
  • Fuel economy – advantage Camry
  • Safety – very close. The ratings lean toward Camry, but the Maxima has a few extra safety and security features that come standard.
  • Room – about a push, though the Maxima does offer more front seat headroom
  • Standard amenities and upgrades – here again, very close and it may all depend on your tastes, though with the introduction of the 2014.5 Camrys, there are more standard sound system and navigational assistance components included with each package.
  • Cost – advantage Camry

While there are probably some four-door sedans out there that will give the sales-leading Camry a better run for the money, there is a lot to consider and compare with a 2014 Nissan Maxima vs. Toyota Camry analysis. If you’re looking at these two cars as an option for yourself and/or your family, there isn’t a lot to be wary of with either one. One of the best ways is to get behind the wheel of a Camry or Maxima and feel the comparisons yourself. Reply! can help by connecting you to local dealers with plenty of Camrys and Maximas available for you to kick the tires of, today!

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