2016 Nissan Maxima Review

 Nissan Maxima Overview

For the 2016 model year, Nissan has graced us with an all-new version of its flagship Maxima sedan. Dubbed 4DSC by the marketing team at Nissan, the company would have us consider the Maxima its entry in the moderately priced four-door sports car segment. In a number of ways, there is some credence to this positioning, but does the new Maxima skew far enough in that direction to be considered a genuine contender in the segment?


Good question.


Before getting into all of that, it has to be said the styling of the Maxima, while certainly dramatic, is equally polarizing. There are those who prayed it looked better in person when the first photographs of the car were released after its debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show. For those people, seeing it in person did little to allay their concerns. However, there is another faction of people who absolutely love the unconventional angularity of its countenance.

Inside the Maxima though, everyone agrees this is by far the nicest interior treatment ever applied to Nissan’s big sedan. Quality materials abound, soft touch surfaces are employed on practically all of the cabin’s touch points, and Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats (inspired by NASA) do a remarkable job of providing support while remaining comfortable over long distances.


There’s more than adequate leg, shoulder, and headroom for passengers at all seating positions. And, at 14.9 cubic feet of capacity, the trunk duly qualifies for the commodious designation.


Key features of my SR-trimmed Maxima test car included 19-inch wheels with performance oriented summer tires, Nissan’s Active Ride Control feature to smooth bumps, Active Trace Control to keep the car on line in cornering situations, and active engine braking to help slow the Maxima with a well timed simulated transmission downshift. LED headlights, leather upholstery, suede trim, plus heated and ventilated front seats are all positive nods to the sumptuously outfitted Nissan’s premium experience.

Power was supplied by Nissan’s now-familiar 3.5-liter V6. For this role, it’s calibrated to produce 300 horsepower and 261 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable transmission fed the front wheels. Many decry the employment of a CVT in a car with a supposed performance orientation. While I too, prefer shifting for myself, the CVT does make sense for fuel economy. It also offers seven preselected “ratios” to mimic the functioning of a traditional transmission. Speaking of fuel economy, I averaged 25 miles per gallon in a mix of city, highway, and backroad driving.

Overall, the Maxima does an admirable job of engaging its driver on challenging roads. You can place it nicely; the Nissan takes a firm set and corners quite purposefully. Further, the engine delivers more than adequate power, and does so in a refined fashion. In other words, yes, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is a fun car to drive quickly when the situation permits. It is also exceptionally comfortable, very well equipped, beautifully finished, and more than capable of holding its own in just about any environment.


Pricing starts at $32,510.


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