2016 Nissan Maxima Preview

Jeff Youngs | Apr 02, 2015
FAST FACTS
  • All-new, redesigned model
  • V-Motion design theme first seen on 2015 Murano
  • Lower, longer, lighter than previous Maxima
  • Substantially updated 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • New continuously variable transmission
  • Performance-oriented SR trim level debuts
  • Luxury-oriented Platinum trim level debuts
  • Upgraded NissanConnect infotainment system
  • New NissanConnect Services technology
  • New Driver Attention Alert system
  • Prices start at just over $33,000
  • Built in Tennessee

Introduction

Long marketed as the "4-door sports car," the Nissan Maxima is dramatically redesigned for 2016, the automaker claiming that this latest rendition is "created by driving enthusiasts, for driving enthusiasts." Nissan introduced the new 2016 Maxima at the 2015 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).

When the redesigned Maxima goes on sale in the summer of 2015, it will be offered in S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum trim levels. The base price for the Maxima S is just over $33,000, while the Maxima Platinum costs less than $41,000.

Exterior Features

Built using a lighter yet stiffer structure, the 2016 Maxima's "futuristic design language" is inspired by U.S. fighter jets, Nissan says. The automaker calls the styling theme "V-Motion," and it was first introduced with the 2015 Murano crossover SUV. Key elements of the V-Motion look are boomerang headlights with standard LED running lights, a kicked-up rear roof pillar, blacked-out roof pillars in order to make it appear that the roof is floating above the car, and dramatic body sculpturing.

The new Maxima is offered in nine colors, including two that are exclusive to this model: Forged Bronze and Coulis Red. The car rides on standard 18-in., machined-finish aluminum wheels, with the Maxima SR getting a set of 19-in. wheels with lower-profile tires.

Interior Features

With the 2016 Maxima, Nissan aimed to deliver a "premium, class-above, bespoke, crafted" interior that "rivals luxury vehicles."

Even in standard Maxima S format the car features genuine contrast stitching, padded center console trim, a flat-bottom steering wheel design, and a center control panel that is canted toward the driver to create a "command central cockpit." When the driver enters the car, the engine start button pulses for dramatic effect.

Nissan's "zero-gravity" seat designs include sport bolstering for the front seats and employ a new three-layer foam design for added softness. Premium cloth is standard in the Maxima S; other trim levels have leather (SV, SL), premium leather with Alcantara inserts (SR), or diamond-quilted premium leather (Platinum).

All versions of the 2016 Maxima get 8-way power driver's seat adjustment and 4-way power front passenger's seat adjustment. A height adjuster for the front passenger's seat is not available. The rear seats offer a 60/40 split-folding design to enhance the 14.3-cu.-ft. trunk's utility.

Buyers choose between Charcoal and Cashmere interior colors. Additionally, for the Maxima SR, a darker Camel interior color is available. Faceted Razor Steel trim is included in S, SV and SL versions, while the SR gets Liquid Chrome trim and the Platinum receives Mahogany wood-tone accents.

Optional Features

No factory options are offered for the 2016 Maxima. Buyers choose a trim level and then may purchase accessories from the dealer.

Buyers can upgrade to the Maxima SV for leather, heated front seats, parking sensors, and more. Highlights of the Maxima SL include a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, 11-speaker premium audio system, heated steering wheel, and several safety-related technologies. The Maxima Platinum turns up the luxury volume with premium leather, power rear window sunshade, and additional safety and convenience features.

For the maximum 4-door sports car driving experience, choose the Maxima SR.

Under the Hood

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine is standard for the 2016 Maxima, making 300 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 261 lb.-ft. at 4,400 rpm. Nissan says that 60% of the engine's parts are new, and that fuel economy improves by 15% to predicted ratings of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

The engine is paired with a new performance-tuned continuously variable transmission (CVT) with D-Step shift logic. Nissan says this CVT delivers greater standing-start acceleration and quick "shifts" when the car is driven with vigor. New shift logic detects high g-force cornering and holds engine revs for greater response out of a turn, Nissan says. Drivers can also select a Sport mode that, according to Nissan, quickens throttle response, sharpens transmission response, adds weight to the steering feel, and activates Active Sound Enhancement technology that amplifies the engine note within the cabin.

Driving enthusiasts will want the Maxima SR. It is equipped with a sport-tuned suspension, Performance Chassis Damper system, transmission paddle shifters, and 19-in. aluminum wheels with 245/40 tires. An Integrated Dynamic Control Module (IDM) is exclusive to this version of the car, equipping it with Active Ride Control, Active Trace Control, and Active Engine Brake features. Nissan also deletes the panoramic sunroof from the SR in order to reduce weight, lower the center of gravity, and improve torsional rigidity.

Safety

Nissan equips every 2016 Maxima with a reversing camera. Upgrade to the SL, SR, or Platinum trim level for blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a forward-collision warning system with autonomous emergency braking.

The Maxima Platinum receives several exclusive features, including Nissan's new Driver Attention Alert system, which detects a drowsy driver, and NissanConnect Services, which includes automatic collision notification and a number of features that parents of teenaged drivers might find useful. A 360-degree around-view monitoring system with moving-object detection technology is also offered only on the Maxima Platinum.

Technology

Every 2016 Maxima is equipped with a next-generation version of NissanConnect, an infotainment system including navigation, voice recognition, and an 8-in. touch-screen display supporting gesture control. That means the user can swipe, pinch, and spread information on the screen in similar fashion to a smartphone or tablet computer.

A hands-free text-messaging assistant is compatible only with Android devices, but Nissan reports that the media bin where the two USB ports are located is sized to house an iPhone 6 Plus.
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