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2016 Nissan Maxima Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2016 Nissan Maxima
The 4-door sports car gets better

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The 2016 Nissan Maxima hit showrooms about the middle of this year. Having made its debut at the New York Auto Show back in Spring, this eighth generation Maxima is boldly styled and nimble on its feet.

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Nissan’s Mike Drongowski, Chief Product Specialist for Maxima Product Planning, recently paid a visit to Chicagoland and an assembly of Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) members to brief us on the completely redesigned 2016 Maxima.

The Blue Angles and their F-16 jet aircraft were an inspiration for the 2016 Maxima’s styling. Nissan calls the design language “Energetic Flow.” The Maxima is longer, lower and wider with a lower profile and a wider stance. The bold front end and its V-motion grille draws your attention along with the floating roof appearance. Highly styled LED taillights adorn at the rear.

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On the inside NASA inspired “zero gravity” seats are quite comfortable and supportive. The center stack, center console that is, is rather wide and rises high between the front seats. It’s also angled toward the driver for easier view.
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The engine start button sits low on the console in front of the transmission gear selector and is easy to see. Interior materials have a high quality look and feel. I liked the tufted diamond pattern of the leather seats on the media loan car I drove. The touch screen has a rotary controller and, thankfully, a couple knobs for audio tuning.

The Blind Spot Monitor system warning light is positioned inside on the A-post. Something I like a little better than the warning lights out on the tip of the outside mirrors. The substantial feel and thickness of the leather-wrapped steering wheel was much to my liking too.

The overall structure is lighter…a strategy every carmaker is using to help reduce fuel consumption, while rigidity is increased by about 25 percent. The suspension is an independent subframe-mounted strut/coil spring design in front. In the rear is an independent multi-link double wishbone design with ZF Sachs dampers. The rear dampers features a monotube design for enhanced performance and fade resistance. A 28mm stabilizer bar is up front with a 26.5mm bar in the rear. Maxima comes with standard 18-inch machined finish aluminum-alloy wheels with painted inserts and 245/45R18 all-season tires. All this helping to give the Maxima its “4DSC” creds.

I found lots to like with the ride and handling of the Maxima. I drive in a more spirited manner when at all possible and appreciate a car with good road manners. I don’t mind a slightly firmer or more-stiff ride in exchange for the dynamic benefits. The Maxima did well around the pot-holed streets of Chicago. Actually, there is lots of repaving work going on, especially due to the lower price of asphalt that is hinged to the price of a barrel of oil. Dodging the slightly raised manhole covers and transitioning over street sections that have had their top layer shaved off didn’t phase the Maxima. My only minor observation was that the steering effort while stopped, for example when turning the wheel to park, was slightly heavy. Perhaps this is just a characteristic of the Maxima’s speed-sensitive steering design.

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Powering the front-wheel drive Maxima is a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter engine that has 61% new parts content. The transmission is a continuously-variable automatic (CVT) that Nissan says offer better acceleration and efficiency than the transmission in previous generations.

EPA test fuel economy rating is 25 mpg combined or 4.0 gallons per 100 miles, with 22 city mpg and 30 highway mpg. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended and the Maxima has an 18 gallon fuel tank which should give you up to 540 miles of cruising.

There’s plenty of performance from the engine pushing the Maxima from stop to 60mph in the low 6 second range. Highway merging and passing is done with ease. The CVT works well mated to the V6. Although there are no gear shifts, the Maxima CVT has the simulation of seven gear ratios for that feel of the transmission shifting. The good news is you don’t have that buzzy engine sound at constant RPM like many 4-cylinder powered cars do.

The Maxima also features a new Drive Mode Selector with Sport and Normal modes that adjusts throttle response, transmission tuning, steering feel and Active Sound Enhancement tuning.

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The 5-passenger 2016 Maxima is available in five models each packaged uniquely with no options: Maxima S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum. Prices start at $32,410 for Maxima S. The Maxima SV is $34,390, while the Maxima SL is $36,890. The sporty Maxima SR is priced at $37,670 and the top-of-the-line Maxima Platinum is $39,860. Add the destination charge of $825.

As you move up the line more features and equipment is added. On the sport oriented SR there is no sunroof since that feature reduces overall body stiffness and thus affects handling. The SR also features 19-inch alloy wheels with 245/40R19 all-season tires developed uniquely for Maxima.

I spent a week driving a Platinum model. So I got to experience a fully-loaded Maxima with all the top-of-the-line features like front and rear parking sensors, power tilt and telescopic steering column, rear window power sunshade, climate controlled front seats, heated steering wheel, Bose 11-speaker sound system, and a 360-degree around view monitor.

The Maxima has a Driver Attention Alert feature that detects a driver’s normal driving patterns and issues an alert if a deviation from those patterns indicates that driver might be drowsy and need a break.

Maxima is also loaded with the latest in safety technology including rear view camera, forward collision warning and forward emergency braking. Technologies we may see as standard equipment on all cars soon.

More information and specifications on the 2016 Nissan Maxima can be found at If you want to compare the Maxima to other large sedans you can do that right here on

The Maxima is exciting to drive. I liked the looks of the previous generation Maxima and I like this one even better. The Maxima stands out from the crowd and is not your typical mainstream sedan. It is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, with engines assembled in Decherd, Tennessee.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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