2016 Nissan Maxima – Comfortable and Engaging to Drive

2016 Nissan Maxima – Comfortable and Engaging to Drive

Nissan’s flagship, the Maxima, is all new this year. It offers a host of premium features, even in base models, and is comfortable and fun to drive.

Nissan calls the Maxima a “4-Door Sports Car,” but in reality it bridges the gap between entry-level luxury cars and sporty sedans. While the Maxima is smaller and more engaging to drive than a Toyota Avalon or Chevrolet Impala, the BMW 5 Series is still more luxurious and dynamic.

All new Maximas are powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that sends all of its 300 hp to the front wheels. Those horses are routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission, which is rarely a driver’s choice, but Nissan did an admirable job with its Xtronic technology to simulate gear changes.

The Maxima’s suspension is comfortably firm and the steering is accurate, even if it’s a bit numb. The two combine to make the Maxima enjoyable to drive spiritedly on back roads, yet smooth and quiet on the highway.

Driving enthusiasts should consider the Maxima SR, which increases the adrenaline with sport-tuned suspension, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters and Nissan’s Integrated Dynamics-control Module. The IDM is the key as it includes Active Trace Control, Active Engine Brake and Active Ride Control. The engine braking system “downshifts” the CVT when braking, setting up the car to power through an apex, while Active Trace Control reduces understeer by applying the inner or outer brakes.

One of the Maxima’s new premium safety features is Predictive Forward Collision Warning. PFCW monitors two cars ahead, instead of just what’s directly ahead, to react earlier to an emergency.

Whether cruising on your daily commute or on a weekend pleasure run, the Maxima’s cabin will keep you calm and informed. Heated leather seats are standard, as is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and backup camera.

The interior of the Maxima is also very driver-centric. The centre stack is angled 7-degrees towards the driver so the info is easy to read. If you need directions even more central, you can display navigation instructions on the 7-inch colour display between the speedometer and tach.

Despite being Nissan’s Flagship, the Maxima’s interior is actually smaller than the more mainstream Altima. While more luxurious, taller passengers won’t enjoy the lack of rear seat head and legroom.

Those in the front seats though, are treated to a highly relaxing experience. The diamond pattern on the accent trim is mirrored in the seat stitching and both front power seats make it easy to get comfortable. The soft-touch materials on the dash and doors add to the premium feel.

The most controversial aspect of the new Nissan Maxima is its exterior styling. Dominating the front end is Nissan’s new V-Motion grille. Like it or not, it certainly is unique and distinctive.

The rest of the car also sports noticeable styling details. For example, the sides are sculpted and the roof tries to look as if it’s floating. Eye-catching taillights, twin chrome exhausts and chrome trim over the license plate highlight the rear.

To make the shopping experience simple, the Maxima is available in four trim levels and Nissan doesn’t offer any available options. Don’t fret, as even the base model Maxima S comes with NissanConnect, Bluetooth, keyless entry, push-button start and six airbags. Nissan expects the top-of-the-range Maxima Platinum to be its strongest seller and it comes with every feature in Nissan’s catalog, including a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, a driver attention alert system, and 360-degree detection system.

Tell us what you think about the all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima. Does its blend of comfortable interior and fun-to-drive dynamics interest you?

Consumer Expert Mike Ratcliffe

I am a freelance writer. I've been happily married for...a while now, and I'm a father of 2. I enjoy injuring myself in the name of sport, love driving but hate commuting, and can't get enough of Star Wars.