The Maxima has always been Nissan’s luxury leader, but conservative styling and a too-similar résumé to Nissan’s Altima have made it a tough sell for many consumers in recent years. That could change for 2016, as Nissan has redesigned the Maxima to help the car stand out more between mainstream family sedans and entry-level luxury cars.
Certainly, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is one of the more dramatic-looking sedans to come out this year. The new model is 2.2 inches longer and sits 1.3 inches lower than its predecessor, enabling sleeker styling and better aerodynamics. Overall curb weight is down slightly, while structural rigidity has increased, changes that Nissan says contribute to improved efficiency and handling. There are incremental gains under the hood, too, as Nissan has revised the Maxima’s 3.5-liter V6 to produce 10 extra horsepower while using less fuel.
Lower and sleeker, the 2016 Nissan Maxima has been redesigned with a bolder look than before.
Changes can be found on the inside of the 2016 Maxima as well. The interior design looks more luxurious than before, and most materials are high quality. In particular, the upper trims’ leather and simulated suede upholstery give the Maxima a premium and sporty feel. A new touchscreen technology interface with a separate rotary controller, allowing the driver to choose his or her favorite way to operate the system, is another welcome change this year.
Really, the 2016 Maxima exists in a curious no man’s land among segments. It has a similar badge, and it’s priced similar to full-size sedans like the Buick LaCrosse, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Azera (and its Kia Cadenza cousin) and Toyota Avalon, but has a much smaller backseat and trunk. At the same time, it has a much more luxurious cabin and better performance than well-equipped midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and Mazda 6, which are cheaper and actually also a bit more spacious as well. Finally, there are entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TLX that share many of the Maxima’s traits (not to mention the Audi A4s and BMW 3 Series of the world), but they obviously offer a luxury badge, unlike the Maxima.
As such, saying how the Maxima compares to others in its class is impossible; it really doesn’t have a class. Instead, should you be interested in any of the above cars, the Edmunds “B”-rated 2016 Nissan Maxima is certainly worth close consideration.
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The 2016 Nissan Maxima is a five-passenger midsize sedan available in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, the sporty SR and the top-line Platinum.
Standard features of the base S model include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), a 60/40-split folding rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronics features include a large gauge cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, two USB ports and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio, HD radio and a six-disc CD changer.
The SV model adds heated outside mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats and extendable thigh support and power lumbar for the driver seat.
The SL model gets a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, a premium 11-speaker Bose audio system and adaptive cruise control. It also adds several safety features (see Safety section below).
With upscale materials and a standard 8-inch touchscreen, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is a step above more common family sedans.
The sporty SR adds 19-inch wheels (with available summer performance tires), a sport-tuned suspension, Active Ride Control (uses the brakes to quell body motions over bumps), Active Trace Control (uses targeted braking to keep the vehicle on its intended path) and active engine braking that helps slow the car when heading aggressively into corners or approaching a stop. The SR also has LED headlights, premium leather upholstery, simulated suede interior trim and heated and ventilated front seats. The SR lacks the panoramic sunroof, however.
The SR is available with the Midnight Edition appearance package, which includes a different wheel design and black trunk and under-body spoilers.
To the SL’s equipment roster, the Platinum adds the LED headlights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory settings, premium leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a power rear sunshade, a 360-degree parking camera system (with a moving object detection system) and a driver attention alert system. The Platinum also features Nissan Connect.
Under the hood, the 2016 Nissan Maxima features a familiar 3.5-liter V6, but it is updated this year to produce 300 horsepower (up 10 from last year). Torque stays the same at 261 pound-feet. The lone transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels.
In Edmunds.com testing, a Maxima Platinum sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is average for a sedan in this segment with a V6.
EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings check in at 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway), which is a bit better than most of its rivals.