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2016 Nissan Maxima SR Review By John Heilig


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2016 Nissan Maxima

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

AUTO PAGE SPECS

MODEL: 2016 Nissan Maxima SR

ENGINE: 3.5-liter DOHC V6

TRANSMISSION: Xtronic with paddles

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm/261 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm

WHEELBASE: 109.3 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.8 x 73.2 x 56.5 in.

TIRES: P245/40R19

CARGO: 14.3 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/19.9 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 18.0 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,564 lbs.

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry

STICKER: $38,750 (includes $825 delivery, $255 for floor mats, trunk mat, trunk net)

BOTTOM LINE: Nissan’s way of differentiating the Maxima from the crowded mid-size car market is to call it the “Four Door Sports Car.” In some senses, it’s a valid definition. In all senses, the Maxima fully qualifies among the leaders of the class.          

There’s no question that the mid-size sedan market is crowded with many vary good automobiles. Quite often, the only way to differentiate one model from another is to find a unique tag. For some, it’s style. For others, it’s economy. For Nissan, the Maxima has been for years the Four Door Sports Car.          

Nissan knows a few things about sports cars with the Z that essentially broke the back of the British sports car industry in the 1980s and continues to be a potent machine. And of course, they have begun adding the NISMO tag to everything from a Z to a Juke. It isn’t just a tag, these cars are hot little machines.          

But with the Maxima, calling a sedan a sports car is a stretch, but not a big one. The SR, which is the higher performance version of the Maxima, has some special goodies to make it sportier. Besides the 300 horsepower V6 engine under the hood and the Xtronic transmission with paddle shifters, little things like making a sunroof unavailable to reduce weight and lower the center of gravity make a difference, Incidentally, the huge paddle shifters work well in sport mode, but are unnecessary in normal mode.          

Changing the modes with the button near the shifter adjusts throttle response, transmission timing, steering feel and what Nissan calls “Active Sound Enhancement Tuning” (it amplifies the engine note in the cockpit).          

The Maxima feels sporty as well. The front seats offer good side support for keeping you in place during hard cornering. The suspension is stiffened for better handling, but not so much to have a serious impact on ride quality.          

In this eighth generation Maxima, the redesign included styling the cabin after the cockpits of the Navy’s Blue Angel jets. All instruments are angled toward the driver to make reading them easier. There is brushed aluminum trim extending through the middle of the front doors through the cockpit.          

The eighth gen redesign results in a vehicle that is longer and lower than the previous version. I also liked the side sculpting, with slight bulges over the rear wheels.          

The front seats are comfortable for long rides, although we couldn’t figure a way to raise the passenger seat. My wide doesn’t like riding low. She did voice approval of the bright lights over the vanity mirrors behind the visors. The rear seats offer good leg room and good side support. There is a pair of cupholders in the fold-down arm rest. As with most mid-sizers, the rear seat backs fold to increase cargo capacity, from the base 14.3 cubic feet. The seat back releases are located in the trunk.          

The Maxima comes with a $37,670 base price. There are no options. Although our tester had dealer-installed floor and trunk mats and a trunk net. With the base price, you get blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic alerts, forward collision warning, and an “overhead” view of the car that is an immense aid in parking.          

Overall, the Nissan Maxima is a nice mid-size. There’s nothing overall to set apart except the Nissan nameplate and the Four Door Sports Car philosophy. Maxima has been around for a long time, both as a Datsun and a Nissan with an assortment of names. The eighth generation is a good solid car all around.

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