After a year’s production hiatus, Nissan has brought brought back the Maxima back, and one has to say the company make good use of the time away.
The 2016 Maxima is better looking outside and more luxurious inside than its predecessor, well worthy of its role as the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan.
In fact, you could put Infiniti badging on the top-of-the-line Platinum edition and it would fit right in the company’s other luxury entrants.
The new Maxima is slightly longer and lower than its predecessor and also has lost a few pounds on some trims. (Couldn’t we all?) It sports a slightly more powerful engine with the 3.5-liter V6 picking up an extra 10 horsepower to an even 300, though torque remains the same at 261 pound-feet.
Mated to a CVT (a continuously variable transmission, like the previous models), the new engine provides a boost in fuel economy to 22 miles-per-gallon city, 30 highway when filled with the recommended premium fuel. Ratings for the previous model were 19/26.
Nissan also says the new Maxima also has a lighter chassis that brings “sports car-like acceleration and handling to the large sedan segment.” (For the record, the EPA classifies the Maxima as a mid-size sedan.)
Yes, that is hard to do with the CVT, but the Xtronic transmission features a “sport” mode that adjusts the transmission for higher revs, and simulated gear ratios allow the driver to “shift gears” manually via available steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The only thing that might work against the idea of the Maxima as a “sports sedan” would be the front-wheel-drive configuration. But that’s hardly a big issue when seeking performance in a street setting. The Maxima delivers there quite well. Its pickup is peppy enough, and the ride in the Platinum edition is firm but not uncomfortably so. (Note: Some reviewers have criticized the Maxima SR model as perhaps too firm for some buyers.)
Inside is where the Maxima really shines, especially the Platinum trim. Its premium leather seats have diamond-quilted leather inserts, and the front ones are not just heated but cooled as well. The driver’s seat is power-adjustable eight ways with two-way lumbar support and two memory settings.
Thanks to the extra overall length, front legroom also is generous on all five trims (S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum). Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to rear legroom or the overall trunk capacity, which are somewhat lacking when compared to some of its rivals.
Ambient LED lighting and “mahogany” wood-tone faceted finishes give the Platinum a distinctive interior aura. The Platinum also gets some extras when it comes to standard technological features, including NissanConnect Services that include automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, emergency call, and stolen vehicle notification (with paid subscription). Many of those features can be operated either via the touchscreen or a rotary knob located on the center console.
Voice recognition for navigation, audio, and Bluetooth is standard across the line.
Safety features like blind-spot warning, intelligent cruise control, predictive forward collision warning, and forward emergency braking are standard not only on the Platinum but also SL and SR models. The Platinum, however, is the only one that gets the Around View Monitor that gives a 360-degree birds-eye view of your position and everything around it as standard. Other trims get the typical rear-view monitor.
Pricing for the Platinum Maxima starts at $40,685 including the destination and delivery fee. But aside from floor and trunk mats ($220) and some accessories like splash guards, illuminated kick plates, and spoilers, there includes everything. No option packages are offered. Everythig is already all there. The base S model starts at $33,335.
For a look at the 2016 Nissan Maxima and some more details, check out the accompanying slide show.