The last time Nissan completely redesigned the Maxima was back in 2008. Since then, the car received a mild mid-cycle update in 2012, but the changes were so subtle, many consumers (and us, journalists as well) really did not notice any major differences between the pre and post refresh models. However, all of that changed when Nissan debuted the all-new 2016 Maxima at the 2015 New York Auto Show earlier last week.
So, now that Nissan has once again gained our undivided attention with the new Maxima, it is time to see if the changes are just aesthetic or if there are some mechanical enhancements as well, shall we?
The 2016 Nissan Maxima is the second model after the Murano CUV to feature the company’s new design language. Some major cues that define the new, aggressive design language consists of the boomerang style headlights, double U-shaped grilles, intersecting body line creases, swooping chrome accents up front and out back, blacked-out c-pillars, bulging quarter-panels and flared fenders.
An interesting design inspiration I want to point out is that the floating canopy-style green house found in this car and in the Murano to some extent were based on the cockpits of the FA-18 fighter jets flown by the U.S. Blue Angles.
When you step inside the new 2016 Nissan Maxima, it looks like you are sitting inside a four-door version of the GT-R supercar. This becomes evident when you look at the center console, which is angled 7 degrees towards the driver, like it does in the GT-R. This ensures that all the vital controls and switches are within easy reach for the driver and I wish more cockpits were designed like this.
The powertrain and drivetrain found in the new 2016 Nissan Maxima are basically carried over from the previous generation Maxima with minor modifications to slightly boost power and fuel efficiency.
As in the previous generation Maxima, the only available engine is a naturally aspirated 3.5 L V6 which produces 300 horsepower (which is 10 more than the previous version), but still produces the same 261 lb.ft. of torque.
All of the power from the engine is routed to the front wheels via a CVT or continuously variable transmission with six faux gears.
Even with the slight increase in power output, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is actually more fuel efficient than the previous generation. While the previous generation was rated at 19/26 mpg, the new car achieves a rating of 22/30 mpg in city and highway on premium unleaded gas.
To liven up the chassis and improve the driving dynamics, Nissan offers the new 2016 Maxima with drive mode which adjusts the steering effort, throttle sensitivity, transmission tuning and piped-in engine noise to be set between normal and sport mode by the driver.
Suspension setup in the new 2016 Nissan Maxima consists of damper-struts up front and multilink setup at the back. However, in the SR performance trim level, the front suspension is upgraded with stiffer dampers and anti-roll bars.
All 2016 Nissan Maxima sport sedans (except the base model) can be optioned with Active Ride Control, which keeps the chassis planted to the road by breaking individual wheels over road imperfections.
Compared to the previous generation Maxima, the 2016 version is 25% more rigid and 82 pounds lighter, which reduces the overall power to weight ratio while improving the performance and fuel efficiency ratings.
The 2016 Nissan Maxima is 192.8 in long (2.2 in more than the previous model), 73.2 in wide and has a wheelbase of 109.3 inches. Also, the new 2016 Nissan Maxima rides 1.3 inches lower than the previous generation, which should help with its cornering capabilities and overall driving dynamics.
Inside, the front occupants will notice a slight improvement in the overall head, shoulder, and legroom dimensions. Unfortunately, with the new design language, the rear occupants will notice the reduction in the overall head, shoulder, and legroom dimensions when compared to the previous generation model.
For 2016, the top-of-the-range Nissan Maxima Platinum debuts Nissan Connect, an application which includes remote locking, remote start, location mapping, crash alert, maintenance reminders and live concierge services, which can be easily accessed via the car or through your smartphone.
At launch later this year, the 2016 Nissan Maxima will be available in five trim levels. The base model is the S trim level, while the range topping model is the Platinum trim. The 2016 Nissan Maxima does not offer any additional standalone options, but packages various features in the five trim levels mentioned in the following paragraphs.
The base S trim level has a starting price of $33,235 ($1,120more than the previous model), but comes with a host of new features which were not available in the previous generation. Some of the key nee features include:
Dual 7 and 8 inch screens
Dual-zone automatic climate control
18 inch alloy wheels
8-way driver/4-way power passenger seats
Next level up is the SV trim, starting at $35,215 and adds these following features on top of the ones available in the S trim level, they include:
The mid-level SL trim, starting at $37,715 adds the following features:
Forward collision alert
Heated steering wheel
11 speaker Bose audio w/noise cancellation
Rear-cross traffic alert
Adaptive cruise control
The performance oriented SR trim, starting at $38,495 adds the following features:
Diamond-stitched faux-suede trim and semi-aniline leather seats
19 inch alloy wheels
LED low bean headlights
The range topping Platinum trim, with a starting price of $40,685 includes all of the features previously mentioned, but also adds these following features:
Nissan’s around view 360-degree camera
Memory settings for the driver
Power rear-window sunshade
Overall, it is safe to say regardless of what trim level you choose for your new 2016 Nissan Maxima sport sedan, you are definitely going to get a lot of goodies for your money.
The new 2016 Nissan Maxima will be available in all of the five trims mentioned above starting sometime in June of this year. In the meantime, if you are in or around New York this week, make sure to stop by the Nissan booth and have a look at the new Maxima, which is on display right now.