Longer, lower, livelier…these are the three L’s to live by in the all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima. This is the eight-generation for the flagship four-door that leads the Nissan lineup and the automaker swears this four-door sports car – created by driving enthusiasts for driving enthusiasts – is its best yet.
Nissan has given the new Maxima a lighter yet more rigid chassis and put a nearly all-new engine under the hood for a driving experience not normally expected in the sedan world. Inside and out, engineers and designers worked to make this latest Maxima a vehicle that stands apart from the crowd and delivers an experience normally only found in pricier luxury imports.
Let’s begin with that engine, all 300hp of it. It is Nissan’s 3.5-liter VQ-series V-6 that has been completely worked over and given more than 60 percent new parts. While delivering a very enthusiastic driving experience at the drop of the gas pedal, engineers were able to give Maxima a very attractive 30 mpg EPA highway rating, thanks in part to a new Xtronic CVT gearbox. While I have not always been a fan of this type transmission, the Maxima version really never reminds you it is outfitted with a CVT and leaves you with the feeling that this powertrain combination is a masterful pairing be it in normal or sport mode.
The suspension system does a good job of soaking up all the distractions in the road surface and holds the car tight when the road begins to turn. We enjoyed the steering and suspension work during a weekend getaway to the Texas Hill Country where driving enthusiasts can fulfill a small yearning to put their vehicles to the test. So many times did we find ourselves looking down at the speedometer and saying “whoa, Nelly” as the excitement was overwhelming common sense and good citizenship.
Our tester arrived in the Platinum package, meaning it was loaded to the gills and featured a cool diamond pattern on the seats and trim in the interior. We enjoyed all the latest amenities Nissan has to offer including surround camera view when backing and predictive forward collision alert when coming up behind someone not as enthusiastic about driving as we were. The driver alert system also came on once when I was working back and forth in my tire rut-laden lane.
Nissan talks about NASA and Navy jets inspiring certain design elements of the 2016 Maxima. While we never considered ourselves “The Right Stuff” or even “Top Gun,” we did find the extra miles were not wearing on us as in other similar vehicles we have traveled these same roads on previously. Nasty weather during part of our travels did have us a bit on edge but the Maxima never had a hiccup and kept us safe and secure (and no Hill Country critters were harmed during the testing of this vehicle).
EPA classification has the new Maxima in the midsize sedan class yet this car feels like a large sedan and it drives like one too (which is a good thing). It is very well-balanced on the road and accommodates up to five adults in comfort while also offering plenty of cargo space in the trunk. It is a front-wheel drive chassis with plenty of head-, leg-, and hiproom inside.
Some of our favorite features of the new Maxima include dual panel panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seating, heated steering wheel, remote engine start with intelligent climate control, zero gravity front seats, Bose premium surround sound system, active noise cancellation, active noise enhancement, 7-inch driver assist display in the instrument panel, 8-inch color touchscreen display center dash, and rear window power sunshade.
Pricing for the 2016 Nissan Maxima begins at $32,510 for a base S model with this loaded Platinum vehicle arriving with a final window sticker of $40,905. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The new Maxima is offered in S, SV, SL, sport SR, and Platinum packages, all FWD and utilizing the same 300hp powertrain. Some of the newest safety technology includes predictive forward collision warning, intelligent cruise control, forward emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning along with moving object detection in the Around View monitor system and the coffee cup mode of Driver Attention Alert system.
The 2016 Nissan Maxima features bold styling and bold performance in a four-door sedan. It is the epitome of Nissan’s tagline of “4-door sports car” and lives to please its driver (and occupants). Perfect, no, but no car really is. The new Maxima delivers on its promises and we did not find any fault during our extensive driving of the car. Rain or shine, the 2016 Nissan Maxima 4DSC brings it.