The all new 2016 Nissan Maxima
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Jun 6, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Visually, it’s the floating c-pillar on the new 2016 Nissan Maxima that sets it apart from the existing sport sedan crowd. Viscerally, it’s how the new car behaves that leaves the most lasting impression. Editor John Grafman reports that the new 2016 model is better in nearly every way from the prior model, and bests the competition in several areas. Nissan is even reviving its “4-door sports car” tag line to describe the car. Editor John Grafman reports.
Story and pictures by John Grafman
In the teeter-totter world of new sedans, where one day you’re the toast of the town and the next you’re old news, the Nissan Maxima is once again working its way to the top of the heap.
The new 2016 model is better in nearly every way from the prior model, and bests the competition in several areas. Perhaps most significant to Nissan is being able to honestly say this is a 4DSC (four-door sports car) with a straight face.
And in the spirit of being honest, we are disclosing this taste of Maxima is just a five-mile loop along the California coast in Pacific Palisades along the Santa Monica Bay, near Sunset Boulevard and Will Rogers State Beach. So, we will reserve final judgment for a later date, and a few more miles.
This is what we know: Without even taking this for a spin, it’s easy to see this is ready to do battle with cars that range from the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Hyundai Azera Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, and the like. From a size standpoint, Maxima has them conquered.
It’ll even contend with the Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Impala, and other large sedans with V6 power. Over the past five years, Maxima has outsold them all. However, many of those competitors are sold with four or eight-cylinder motors, so the numbers do get muddled. The 2016 Maxima is taking aim at the Acura TLX, Audi A4 2.0T, BMW 328i, and the Lexus IS.
And, so we’ve been told, the exterior and interior design were influenced by a visit with the Blue Angels in Florida. Okay, it does indeed capture some of the flavor, with the taut, crisp folds in the sheet metal stamping, a wrap-around canopy feel, and the floating roof and kick-up belt line. The V-motion grill does pull the design forward form the A Pillars to the center, similar to a jet fighter.
Of course, we’ve been hearing the jet reference going back to, well, the dawn of the jet age.
The improvements in the powertrain with the CVT Xtronic transmission, and the 300 horsepower with sodium filled valves, similar to the GT-R, produce a nice balance in this car.
The step continuously variable transmission does feel exactly the way the engineers intended. The stepping is technically unnecessary, but it feels more natural. The sensors in the transmission account for everything from accelerating, braking, and lateral G forces to grade information.
At 86 horsepower per liter, this is the best in the V6 large sedan class, and its 11.6 pounds per horse is also better than TLX, Avalon and the 328i. This is also lighter, through careful and deliberate weight reduction, yet the overall size is larger. Lighter, faster, stronger. The Nissan Maxima is the Six-Million Dollar Man of the car world!
Well, it is safe to say this is better in every way than the outgoing model. On the flip side, the improvements are hard fought. Not revolutionary, but rather evolutionary.
Driving the Maxima (albeit for just a very short jaunt) is just what we expect. A fairly well sorted out product, with nice, upscale touches, and ease of use. The interior trim pieces with the multiple facets are both a nice change of pace, and distracting all at the same time. It also looks a tad bit too much like a plastic piece in the particular car we happen to be testing (the platinum level). And, the intersection of the trim piece on the dash to the door doesn’t seem like the best resolution possible in terms of design. However, this is made up for by the other touches, such as the seats and massive sunroof.
Motoring about on Pacific Coast Highway is a no-brainer. This is a car that one can get comfortable with in a heartbeat. We really didn’t push the car anywhere close to what it’s capable of, and we’ll reserve our comments until then. Suffice to say; at typical speeds and in normal conditions, this is just what the engineers and designers were aiming for.
This new Nissan comes in five model levels, and no real options aside from color. So, find the right features, and pull the trigger. Prices start at $32,410 and climb to nearly $40K for all the bells and whistles. So, this will be going toe-to-toe with some well-respected nameplates.
From the marketing side, a preemptive strike before the competitors launch the 2016 models is a brilliant game plan. We won’t know what the others will be assaulting Nissan with for a couple more months.
For the time being, Maxima is king of the hill. The team at Nissan has pushed the bar up a notch or two. Will the others have the metal to match?
For more information about Nissan products, go to nissanusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2016 Nissan Maxima Price: $32,410 (base) EPA fuel economy rating: 22 city/30 highway miles per gallon Engine: 3.5 liter DOHC V6 with variable valve timing Horsepower: 300 at 6400 rpm Torque: 261 pound-feet at 4400 rpm Transmission: Continuously variable automatic with sequential shift simulation mode Steering: Power assisted, electronic variable ratio rack and pinion Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Suspension: Four wheel independent with front and rear stabilizer bars Dimensions Length: 192.8 inches Width: 73.2 inches Height: 56.5 inches Curb weight: 3471 pounds