2016 Nissan Maxima

MAD MAX-IMA!

"The design of the car is a plethora with swoops and curves which gives it a mix of sporty and classy looks."

"The 3.5 liter V6 engine serving the old Maxima has undergone some serious surgery with more than 60 percent new parts."

"A suggestion from the heart to Nissan: DSG plus rear wheel please! That would be a killer combo," said Ershad.

"Fun factor? Yes. Luxury? Yes. Family car? Yes."

The Maxima is a much-noted car for its mix of luxury and performance, and Nissan has made it a point to improve these factors on every new iteration. Currently in its eighth generation, the 2016 Nissan Maxima has undergone a complete rework; right from the ground up. And as expected, it is the most powerful and luxurious Maxima out of the Nissan lab. It is actually good to see developments in the four-door sports sedan segment. Family fun time? Yes please.

Say hello and you will be greeted by an aggressive looking front-end which kind of stares back at you. The V-shaped treatment of the front grille and surrounding front bumper definitely adds points to the bad boy looks. It is accompanied by two completely new headlamp units which start off the sculpted and flowing looks of the car. The boomerang shaped running lights match the overall front looks and look intimidating when seen in a rearview mirror. The design of the car is a plethora with swoops and curves which gives it a mix of sporty and classy looks. Whereas the previous model was largely sporty in appearance, the new design merges the best of both worlds. It looks much larger and you can be assured of excellent road presence.

The car features blacked out A and B pillars which create the ‘floating roof’ effect. However, there is this particular design feature on the new car which is a black strip running on top of the windows where it merges with a chrome strip following the bottom side of the windows and creates a fallen Y shape on the C-pillar. It would be a love it or hate it thing; but my answer will always start with a ‘H’. The merged lines then continue to the rear windshield while the sloping roof provides that coupe-ish or maybe fastback lines. The boot of the car follows the basic swooping geometry and accommodates the large wraparound tail light units. Twin exhaust pipes lend a completed feel when viewed from the rear. Overall, on the design front the new Maxima is a good deviation from the previous model considering the fact that the new Altima looks so much like the previous gen Maxima.

The big list of changes in the new Maxima continues under the hood as well. The 3.5 liter V6 engine serving the old Maxima has undergone some serious surgery with more than 60 percent new parts. The result is a more powerful and efficient engine. The new engine throws out an impressive 300 horsepower mated to a CVT gearbox. Even though CVTs are claimed to provide excellent starts and continuous power flow, I personally am not a big fan of CVT. The driver holds the right to know which gear he is in. Whereas in a CVT you have no idea what gear you are in, it is just acceleration all the way. No blips, no shifts! Our test car was the Maxima SR, which meant that we got paddles on the steering wheel for controlling the gear ratios. The CVT sends all this power to the front wheels – which may seem surprising. Yes, 300 horsepower on the 19-inch front wheels of the Maxima SR! I guess this was a necessary compromise just to keep Nissan and Infiniti on their own turfs. A suggestion from the heart to Nissan: DSG plus rear wheel please! That would be a killer combo.

Getting in and out of the car is an easy task, thanks to the big doors. Settling into the driver seat you notice that sporty feel oozing out through every nook and corner. The well-supported seats provide good comfort as well. They call it the Zero Gravity Seats, which feature some special foam added on the seating area to give you that combination of comfy and sporty. It works! The thick flat-bottomed steering feels a bit too tight for my liking especially at slow maneuvering speeds, but things get better as the speedo climbs up. The new Maxima had its interiors developed in consultation with a jet fighter team based in Florida, USA. The essence of this design is to give the driver a feeling of being in control of the entire car; more like being in a command center. The navigation system has been simplified, a lot of buttons removed and we get a cleaner looking space. You are surrounded by soft padding on the door interiors, dashboard and in the center armrest. Metallic finished pedal on the SR adds to the sporty appeal of the car and looks pretty chic. The 11-speaker Bose sound system with active noise reduction ensures that you hear only what you want. The rear seats can take in two passengers who will enjoy a good amount of legroom and will spend considerable time before asking to stop for a coffee break.

Start the engine and you get a typical crisp V6 idle. The engine sounds eager, ready to pounce; even at the slightest hint of throttle. A hard push on the accelerator pedal is all that it takes to unleash the madness. The car turns into a straight-line rubber band, cutting its way through the air. At the first turn, you suddenly have your mind thinking that this is a front wheel drive car and you need to take it easy. But no, the Maxima likes it hard. The stiff suspension and technological wizardry makes it almost impossible to believe that you are driving a front wheel drive 300 horsepower monster. I did take the Maxima through a bit of rough terrain and it was handled surprisingly well for a sports-spec suspension with 19-inch low profile tires! Fun factor? Yes. Luxury? Yes. Family car? Yes.

Verdict
The new Maxima has improved upon itself with stunning results. We loved the overall experience, and it would be our recommended car in this segment. Look out competitors, this guy is serious!

Pros: Good style, power, handling, premium touch inside
Cons: CVT not always a favorite, steering feel
Rivals: Toyota Avalon, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala
Engine: 3.5 L V6, 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 353 Nm @ 4,400 rpm 
Transmission: CVT, FWD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 6.5 sec, 11 L /100 km, top speed: 221 km/h
Weight: 1,608 kg
3.5 STARS
One word: MAD

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