Nissan is on track to move the industry with beautiful penned designs and efficiency now spanning their entire product lineup. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Sept. 1, 2015 2016 Nissan Maxima – $33,235 to start incl. the $825 D&H fee provides owners with a 22/30 mpgUS city/highway rating. It also arrives with NissanConnect with navigation, 8.0” touch-screen display, Remote Engine Start, and a RearView Monitor are all standard even on the base S trim. What if I were to describe a sports sedan that was as comfortable as it is great to look at? What if I told you this sports sedan provides interior surrounds more fitting of a luxury car while offering similar ride quality. What if this sports sedan achieved the fastest lap at a race track near Bakersfield, Calif. while running against an Audi A4, Acura TLX and BMW 328i? And finally what if I said this sports sedan, equipped with a 300 hp 3.5L V6, was possibly capable of 40+ mpg out on the super slab. Would you take notice? The 2016 Nissan Maxima is the brands new flagship offering style, performance and the latest amenities through five trims, S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum. Probably the most important update the all-new 8th gen Maxima brought to the consumer is a size befitting of a modern sports sedan. Meaning almost 3 cu. ft. was added to the passenger volume, now rated at 98.6 cu. ft. The new Maxima is 1.3 inches lower and 2.2 inches longer than the previous gen. It is also 80 lbs. lighter, 25 percent stiffer, and safer with an across the board NHTSA 5-star crash test rating with caveats. 2016 Nissan Maxima Exterior Nissan designers looked to the Blue Angels flight team and their F-18 Hornets for Sports Sedan inspiration. Externally, the 2016 Maxima is lowered, streamlined and looks fast. The hood has a central raised arrowhead shape and two very sharp feature lines running inward from the A-pillars down the hood and tying into the thick 3-sided chrome grille trim with a large centered Nissan logo. Nissan calls it their V-Motion grille. Behind is a black plastic upper and lower grille matrix trimmed in this chrome dropping all the way down to the chin spoiler. Together they form a grille within a hexagon grille. From the top of the grille outwards, an LED DRL light bar ties the boomerang shaped wraparound lenses into the grille nicely. A lot of the sharp looking Murano like pieces here. Sculpted lower fascia into the fog lamps finish off what I believe to be the best looking face in the industry right now. The Maxima’s signature 4-Door Sports Car heritage is shown as an inlay “4DSC” within the taillight reflectors and headlights. Kind of cool actually. From the profile, the hoods large arc over the wheels is duplicated with a feature line running from the center of the boomerang front lenses up, over and back down the fender arc to the center of the front door where it runs to the back into the center of the rear boomerang rear lenses. Unique to the industry is a hexagonal like day light opening (windows) with a sweep up near the front and back with the lower beltline trimmed in chrome. Another unique chrome trim piece “jets” off the rear of the hexagon into the trunk opening. Thick blacked-out A, B and C pillars provide weight without being gaudy. The nice looking 18-inch alloys (19’s on the SR) fill the wheels nicely while a mild sculpted cutout of the sill completes the profile. Out back the rear boomerang tail lamps roll into a thick horizontal chrome strip with a smallish Nissan badge at the top of the lid. The lower diffuser incorporates the twin chrome tipped exhausts to complete the package. Nissan took some chances and they succeeded. Especially up front. The profile while interesting may be a bit busy for some. Out back is the clean finished look culminating in a unique and very modern car assured to grab attention. If they would have moved to a laser welded roof to body seam, they would have nailed it! 2016 Nissan Maxima Interior The jet fighter theme works its way inside with a driver centric wrap-around design. It is the luxurious material colors and contrasts however that make it a standout. The console features luxurious padding on the sides with genuine contrasting stitching on the instrument panel, upper door trim, full length of the center console and seats. The available leather seats – the only ones I drove – feature diamond-quilted inserts and the package is finished off with D-shaped (flat-bottom) steering wheel. The interior is highlighted by a wide aluminum or wood look trim piece working through all four doors and across the center of the dash. The Aluminum like trim has a unique and very cool looking embedded 3D cross hatch. It would be my choice for the best interior color and trim. Soft touch where appropriate and cloth textured A-pillars and headliner check all the boxes. More driver centric, the center stack is angled seven degrees toward the driver with a console that sits higher than the previous generation. A new jewel like cross etched Display Commander Control knob on the console allows fingertip control of the center display. This is a beautiful highlight! Like a fine crafted watch. Nissan’s Zero Gravity front seats in cloth, leather or Ascot leather with sport bolstering are standard (8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat). A new three-layer foam make them really comfortable! Heated and ventilated front seats and steering wheel in higher trims. The rear seat is a 60/40 split fold-down design. Rear seat knee and headroom are a little tight for a 6’ + adults. The one thing that stands out is how quiet the all-new Maxima was thanks to sound insulating glass on both the windscreen and front windows and an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system with the Bose audio system. Although I would never test it, the ANC system also adds engine sound. In “Sport” mode an even higher engine note is resonated within the cabin. The only miscue I saw was the smallish LED map lights that have plagued all recent Nissan’s. Other than that, it is quiet, feels and looks luxurious, and is quiet. 2016 Nissan Maxima Trims The S ($32,410) includes standard NissanConnect navigation with 8.0” display is paired with the 7.0” Drive Assist driver display, Remote Engine Start, Proximity key, Dual USB ports, SiriusXM and SiriusXM Travel Link apps, Google search, LED DRL light bar, 18” alloys, 8-way Power Driver Seat and 4-way Power Passenger Seat, Dual-Zone Auto climate, HomeLink Universal Transceiver plus more. SV ($34,390) adds leather, heated front seats, driver power lumbar support and manual thigh support extension – yeah!!!, front and rear parking sensors and heated outside rearview mirrors with turn signal indicators. SL ($36,890) adds the Dual Panel Panoramic Moonroof, Bose audio with 11 speakers, Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW), heated steering wheel and ambient lighting. SR ($37,670) offers a sport-tuned suspension, Integrated Dynamics-control Module (IDM), a front chassis performance damper, premium Ascot leather seats with diamond-quilted Alcantara inserts, Heated and cooled front seats, Ascot leather-appointed steering wheel with Alcantara insert, paddle shifters, aluminum sport pedals, LED low beams. The Platinum ($39,860) includes the Dual Panel Panoramic Moonroof, power tilt and telescoping wheel with engine off pull away, Ascot leather-appointed seats with diamond-quilted leather inserts, Ascot leather-wrapped wheel, Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), rear window power sunshade, driver-side memory seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel, rain detecting windshield wipers, Driver Attention Alert, NissanConnect Services, mahogany wood-tone faceted finishers, auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror, and outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature. 2016 Nissan Maxima Drivetrain A revised 300 hp (up 10 hp from the previous gen) and 261 lb-ft. of torque 3.5L V6 – 60 percent of its parts are all-new – mated to the company’s latest D-Shift Xtronic wide ratio – 6.3:1 – CVT provides the oomph to drive this sports sedan to 60 in just over 5.5 seconds. Along with the new shift programming for a more appropriate acceleration feel, the new CVT shift logic holds higher rpm when it detects high-G cornering for improved acceleration response. The 14 percent increase in efficiency was brought about by a 40 percent reduction in friction, a new oil pump, CVT chain and lower viscosity oil. Another neat idea is when transitioning to Sport from Normal mode, throttle response increases, the Xtronic transmission programming changes for more aggressive shifting under braking and gear holding, the steering weight increases and the Active Noise Enhancement system amplifies the engine noise into the cabin. Nissan expects 2/3 of the Maxima’s purchased will include the Bose ANC system. 2016 Nissan Maxima Chassis Suspension up-front finds an independent subframe-mounted struts while outback is a multi-link double wishbone. Stabilizer bars front (26.0 mm) and rear (26.5 mm) are also standard. The very strong and linear stopping power is provided by 12.6 and 12.1 in vented discs up front and back respectively. The Maxima arrives with standard 18-inch alloys and 245/45R18 all-season tires while the SR is equipped with 19-inch alloys and 245/40R19s. Speaking of the SR – I did not drive one, it incorporates stiffer damper tuning, a chassis damper, larger front stabilizer bar and Active Ride Control (ARC), that brakes as necessary to keep the body as flat as possible. Decent on-center feel, soft suspension for the first 2 inches or so and then it stiffens up with little body roll when pushed. Nissan knows how to tune a sports sedan. 2016 Nissan Maxima Infotainment As mentioned above, all 2016 Maxima’s include NissanConnect with standard 8” navigation on all trims. The display features multi-touch control for intuitive smartphone-like gestures such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom. Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant (Android only) and Voice Recognition for navigation and audio are also standard. SiriusXM Travel Link apps including Online Search with Google is commented by a standard and easy to read 7.0” Drive-Assist Display (ADAD) within the instrument cluster. A Sport screen with a “Power” meter shows actual engine output, flanked by gauges that display oil pressure and transmission oil temperature. Swipe-to-Navigation to set a route on the navigation screen and swipe again to bring up the directions. This is cool but I need more time to judge its utility. The available 11-speaker Bose audio system was brought to the Maxima after benchmarking luxury sedans several classes above. All Maximas are equipped with two USB inputs with music playback capability enabled through either port. These ports are housed in the media bin on the console, which is large enough to fit an iPhone 6 Plus. 2016 Nissan Maxima Safety The Maxima includes front, side and curtain air bags. 3-point rear seat belts for all seating positions, front seat belts with dual pretensioners, load limiters and adjustable upper anchors. Passively, the Maxima also features Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist, emergency inside trunk release, LATCH and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with Easy-Fill Tire Alert. All standard. On the SL and above trims, the Maxima features Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW). The ICC is not adaptive to 0 mph. The Platinum trim features Nissan’s innovative Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection (MOD) that provides a 360-degree “surround view” of the vehicle. It also includes Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system which helps alert the driver when drowsy or inattentive driving is detected through the steering wheel input, not a camera based system. 2016 Nissan Maxima – NHTSA 5-Star Crash Test Rating The black triangle is due the following: After the NHTSA frontal impact barrier test, 20 oz. of fluid leaked from the fuel system during the static rollover test. I will assume that Nissan has corrected or is working on this problem as I type. 2016 Nissan Maxima Q&A Pricing is up $840 on average over the outgoing Maxima. Once you swipe directions to driver display, how do you get it back? Buttons on the wheel will bring it back. This X-tronic CVT feels more like an 8 or 9-speed than ever before. <-- It really does too! Best CVT I have driven to date in fact. Seems Nissan is against DI. GDI gives full benefit with a turbo? Not so much from a normally aspirated engine like the 300 HP V6 in the Maxima. Why did you choose the CVT? Nissan has a lot of experience with CVTs. It offers the best combination of efficiency and response. With D-step shift programming, it will replicate a std. AT. Regular or Premium fuel? Regular fuel. Good stuff here. 2016 Nissan Maxima First Drive Early Conclusions While Nissan is promoting the Maxima as a 4-Door sports car, that may be a bit of a stretch in this day and age. After all, 300 hp drivetrains do not spell blistering ¼ runs. That is not what people drive like however. If one were to use all of its 300 hp driving to 60 in just over 5.5 seconds, it would only be a matter of time before the Maxima is wrapped around a pole during an out of control wreck in short order. Meaning the 2016 Maxima is really a 4-door sports sedan that offers unique attributes one should consider. As a fan of the Altima due to its efficiency and the Murano thanks to its class leading design, the not normally in my roundhouse Maxima offers features of both with a nice boost in performance some expect. 2016 Nissan Maxima TrueCar Price report for 09/03/2015 On the pricing front here in the Midwest, the 2016 Nissan Maxima S trim should be able to be picked up for just under $30,000. On the East and West coasts, add another $1,000 according to TrueCar pricing today. By Christmas, I expect the SV would be available for less than $30k for a shrewd shopper. This would be my trim choice of all available too. The sharp looking exterior is eye catching and I hope to see the new Murano/Maxima design language work its way through to the Rogue, Altima and Sentra soon as well. Expect it with the refreshes about to be announced. Like the Pathfinder and Murano, the Maxima driver and passengers will be pleasantly surprised with class above surrounds that are both comfortable and eye pleasing. So much so that you would think you are sitting in Nissan’s luxury marque and not a Nissan! Some asked about cross shopping the Maxima between the Infiniti Q40 and Q50. Nissan stated that a premium brand buyer is going to stick with the premium brand. Saying that however, the differentiation is not nearly as much as an Infiniti Product Planner would have hoped for. When you sit in one, I am sure you will understand this statement. On the efficiency front, I suspect the all-new Maxima will be the first 300 hp sports sedan to break the 40 mpg highway barrier. First drive: 39.0 mpg over 21.0 miles displayed result. In the short suburban/highway drives around the foothills of the Tennessee Mountains, the following was offered with a climb of over 250’ from parking lot to a driver change over point approximately 21 miles later. That is hot for a car capable of breaching 60 mph in 5.6 seconds! The 2016 Nissan Maxima is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, with engines assembled in Decherd, Tennessee. If only the Maxima was offered with the Altima’s even more efficient 2.5L. Two 2016 Nissan Maxima’s ready for the CAT shot to reach into the wild blue yonder.