2016 Nissan Maxima SL Review

2016 Nissan Maxima SL
Driving Dynamics
Upscale/Fancy Interior
Available Features vs. Cost
No AWD Option
Passenger Room
Requires Premium Fuel

The Nissan Maxima is back from a one year hiatus and it’s worth the wait if you are in the mid-size sedan market. Nissan’s premier sedan gets a complete redesign on the outside, under the hood, and inside the cabin. The Nissan Maxima could be the one of the most dramatically improved cars to come out this year.

Over the holiday weekend, we tested the middle of the range Maxima SL model.

What’s New for 2016?

Nissan has given its premier sedan a striking redesign, inside and out. The new sedan rides on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, it’s 192.8 inches long, and 56.5 inches high. That’s 2.2 inches longer and 1.3 inches lower than the previous model for a sleeker profile. 

Features & Options

The 2016 Nissan Maxima SL ($36,890) comes well-appointed with navigation, automatic climate control, power front seats, a rearview camera, SiriusXM capability, Bluetooth connectivity, and pushbutton/remote start. Other features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, and front/rear parking sensors.

It comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, 11-speaker Bose audio, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. Options on this tester included floor mats, trunk mat, and trunk net ($220).

Total MSRP including destination: $37,935.

Interior Highlights

Stepping inside the new 2016 Maxima reveals a redesigned cockpit that is more luxurious than the previous model. It features a new, contemporary design with a stylish metallic trim wrapped across the dashboard. An 8-inch color touchscreen is surrounded by easy-to-use controls. We couldn’t wait to crank up the heated steering wheel and seats and we kept toasty warm in the cold, single digit temps in Denver this weekend.

We thought the Maxima presents a more luxurious interior than most of the competition is this class. There’s new, soft-touch surfaces and the quality is first class. We liked the things that make life easier for commuting, like ample storage and a convenient slot to place a cell phone vertically so you can see screen.

We did have a complaint from our taller passenger up front who said he couldn’t adjust the 4-way seat to find a comfortable position. His head kept hitting the roof. Riders in the back had ample legroom room but said the backseat isn’t very spacious, given the car’s size.

Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

The 2016 Nissan Maxima sports a newly-enhanced 3.5-liter V6, that now delivers 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque – an additional 10 horsepower while using less fuel. The sedan uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is not available.

EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg for highway driving and 25 combined.

Premium unleaded fuel is required.

Driving Dynamics

The first day we had the Maxima we were parked near the street and saw somebody stop and take pictures of the new sedan. The car’s good looks are definitely eye-catching. It was bitter cold the first day we tested the new Maxima and we used the remote to start and warm up the sedan from inside the house. It was a pleasant surprise that Nissan heated up the steering wheel for me, in addition to heating the cabin to the temperature I had set the previous day.

Nice touch Nissan!


The 3.5-liter V6 offers energetic acceleration and we didn’t notice the continuously variable transmission which is a big deal, considering their typically annoying characteristics – but it’s how Nissan could crank up the horsepower and reduce fuel-mileage. The Active noise cancellation dampens harsh sounds, but the engine gets loud when we pushed the sedan hard.

There is a Sport mode for driving enthusiasts that we used in the mountain curves to dial up the fun-to-drive meter.

With the sun setting early this time of year, we tested out the Maxima’s halogen headlights that we think are some of the brightest and most precise we’ve experienced. Visibility was especially good in the mountains where there are no street lights. In the city, Maxima comes loaded with safety features and Nissan nailed the forward collision warning and emergency braking. A car slammed on their brakes ahead of us and the Maxima warned us, helping us avoid an accident.

The surround cameras make it easy to park too.


The redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima is a sedan that’s more exciting than a typical, family four-door. If you can’t afford a luxury sedan, the Nissan is a good choice for mid-range consumers. The Maxima has attractive styling inside and out, handles well, and performs enthusiastically. Take a look at the sporty and more upscale, 2016 Nissan Maxima SL if you’re searching for a sedan that presents itself well but that’s not as expensive as a luxury car.

2016 Nissan Maxima Manufacturing Gallery

*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy