2016 Nissan Maxima Pairs New Styling with Sporty Implications: Review
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the all-new Nissan Maxima is a dramatic departure from what it once was. Whereas the previous generation was a bit more sleek and sophisticated, Nissan designers and engineers went all-out in designing this latest iteration. But does it perform like the true sports sedan Nissan is making it out to be? We drove it over 500 miles to find out just what makes this latest Maxima tick. RELATED: See more of the 2016 Nissan Maxima Sedan
With a front-wheel drive layout and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), immediately you’d write this off as just another failed sports sedan, right? Wrong. The Maxima definitely has a few sporty cues. The CVT surpasses any other on the market and the front wheel drives leads you to believe that it’s better than it actually is.
The CVT is advanced—a serious departure from CVTs of the past. It ticks through simulateed gears like a standard automatic, and only gives off a bit of a whine at higher RPMs. Not that you need to be revving that high anyways.
The torque on this car is impressive. You’re getting 261 lb-ft and 300-horsepower from the 3.5-liter V6. That may not sound all that dramatic, but it’s the way Nissan engineers were able to get that power down, instantaneously, that really separates it from the competition.
The Platinum trim we tested was well balanced, and seemed to soak up corners with ease. That’s good news considering the upper-trim SR gets bigger tires and even sportier suspension cues.
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Cue The Dramatics
Bland. Boring. Blase. If you're using any of those to describe the new Maxima, you might want to go see your optometrist. The new Maxima is aggressively styled from top to bottom. The in-your-face front end contorts to the side profile and dramatically styled wheels. The "floating roof" design uses the same cues from its Murano sibling, and the rear end continues with the angular approach.
We can't say we're in love with the new look—it likely won't age well—but we always admire an automaker for taking a dramatic approach when it comes to design.
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Walk out the door and you could be paying as little as $32,410 for a brand-new Maxima—but you wouldn’t be able to tell. The interior oozes upper class luxury. The leather seats are spacious and plenty comfortable. The interior fitments aren’t cheap, and give you a real sense that you’re paying more than you actually are. It’s refreshing.
The 8-inch infotainment screen is perfectly usable. The touchscreen system is mostly faultless, and the knobs and buttons surrounding it make things as easy as possible for the driver. Not to mention the well-placed steering wheel controls.
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Per any large sedan, the Maxima wouldn’t be complete without a boatload of safety equipment. Rear-cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and intelligent cruise control all come standard in the top three trim levels.
Admittedly, the system wasn’t fantastic, but not bad. If anything, it was overly-sensitive, with the forward collision warning going off more times than we would have liked it too.
For the price, it comes loaded with technology, comfort, and style. But while the drive is relatively exciting, it leaves a bit to be desired as far as sports sedans go. Tack on an all-wheel drive system, slap on a Nismo badge, and we can’t imagine anything would be better.
Engine: 3.5L V6
MPG: 22 / 30
Price (base): $32,410
Front-wheel drive only
Skittish in the wet