2016 Nissan Maxima – 8th Generation

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New Maxima Job #1 in April 2015  The 2016 Nissan Maxima is assembled at Nissan’s huge Smyrna, Tennessee plant.  Smyrna has become the highest capacity single plant in the United States with a capacity of over 650,000 units per year.  The 8th Gen Maxima Job #1 was in April 2015 and dealers began getting the cars in early June.  Competing with the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus and Acura TLX, the new Maxima pushes the design envelope with its “energetic flow” styling.  The styling is head turning and certain to be controversial.  2016 Nissan Maxima2016 Nissan Maxima2016 Nissan Maxima

 

Head-Turning Styling  The Maxima is 2.2-inches longer and 1.3-inches lower than its predecessor.  Normally, we would criticize the lower car for succumbing to the tyranny of the stylists, but Maxima remains easy to get into and out of and the interior seems very spacious with good headroom.  Like the 2015 Nissan Murano, the Maxima has “floating roof” styling with a black character line sweeping through the C-Pillar.  The beltline has a bright character molding flowing to a kicked up rear quarter.  Like most newly released vehicles these days, Maxima’s headlamps are highlighted by boomerang shaped LED light pipes.  Adopting Nissan’s new front end DNA, Maxima gets a prominent V-Motion Grille.  The boomerang headlamp graphic is repeated in the taillamps.  Maxima’s coefficient of drag has been reduced from 0.34 to 0.29 for improved aerodynamics.  For some, exterior styling of the 2016 Nissan Maxima will be too busy.  Others will like the fact that it turns heads.

2016 Nissan MaximaThe driver-oriented instrument panel includes a 7-inch meter in the instrument cluster plus an 8-inch screen tilted toward the driver for the standard navigation system. Ergonomics are excellent with good sight lines, easy to reach and understand buttons and switches.

300HP with Excellent CVT  Maxima continues to be powered by the venerable VQ35 3.5L V6 engine, but the engine has been upgraded with 61% all new parts and a higher output of 300-horsepower.  Fuel economy improves from 22mpg combined city/highway to 25mpg.  Maxima’s V6 is mated to a continuously variable transmission that has been programmed to simulate seven gears.  This is the best feeling CVT we have driven.

Easy to Use Tech  AutoPacific’s research shows that customer satisfaction is strongly influenced by the ease of understanding and ease of use of a vehicle’s information system.  Ever since BMW’s terrible first generation iDrive system in 2001, carmakers have been trying to optimize the capability and ease of use of their systems.  Some do it better than others.  The system in the 2016 Nissan Maxima debuted in the 2015 Murano.  It is well thought out, has large, easy-to-read displays and is relatively intuitive.  While the new Maxima won’t pass the rental car test (midnight, pouring rain, unfamiliar car, start-up, adjust radio, heat, etc), it is pretty good.  One of the best.

Five Models – No Options  There are five levels of Maxima each with a different level of equipment.  There are no options.  Just pick a model.  All are standard with navigation and remote start.  The second level up – SV – adds leather, the SL adds a panoramic roof to the SV, the SR sports model adds 19-inch wheels, the Platinum top of the line adds a quilted leather trim set.  SL, SR and Platinum include Nissan’s “Safety Shield Technology” that includes predictive forward collision warning, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning.  NissanConnect services developed with SiriusXM brings a smartphone app that provides remote locking, remote start, remote horn and lights plus emergency services like collision notification.  For those concerned about their teens driving, there is speed, curfew, and geo-boundary limits programmable through the app.

Driver’s Car  The 2016 Nissan Maxima is an excellent driver’s car.  The 300-horsepower V6 is just right for the car.  In sport mode, the powertrain comes alive changing settings for throttle, transmission and steering response, plus adjusting the active sound enhancement system.  The Maxima feels very solid, substantial and quiet.  Nissan has called Maxima the “4-door Sports Car” since 1989 – this Maxima has the credentials to live up to the name.

Well Priced  Priced from around $32,500 to $40,000, Maxima is in a pricing sweet spot.  In 2014 the median purchase price of a vehicle in the United States was $31,000. Positioned as a premium entry, and Nissan’s passenger car flagship, Maxima is not priced so dear that people will reject it for price.  In other words, it is a good value in a very crowded marketplace.

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