2016 Nissan Maxima: First Look

  • Competes with: Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Acura TLX
  • Looks like: Nissan is getting curvy … and copying Mazda
  • Drivetrains: 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2015

Nissan is restyling its Maxima sedan with an eye toward keeping its sporty performance. The Maxima gets a heavily restyled exterior, a redesigned 3.5-liter V-6 that features more than 60 percent new parts and a new continuously variable automatic transmission.

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There’s also a new, sporty SR version with unique suspension tuning, a larger front stabilizer bar and 19-inch wheels. It joins a new Platinum trim that features amenities such as a dual-pane panoramic moonroof, interior upgrades and additional safety features.

The 2016 Maxima is expected to hit showrooms this summer and will be available in S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum trims.


The new Maxima resembles the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept from the 2014 Detroit auto show. There’s a new “floating roof” effect with the black front pillars and black wraparound section in the rear pillars, and the swoopy curves of the concept carry through to this new Maxima.

There is a choice of either a premium or sport rear spoiler, and 19-inch wheels are optional. While the Platinum models feature a dual-pane panoramic moonroof, SR models lose the moonroof option for a lower center of gravity to improve handling.

The new Maxima is 1.3 inches lower and 2.2 inches longer than the previous model.


Nissan says it redesigned the interior of the Maxima to offer a driver-focused cockpit, to the point that the center stack of controls is angled 7 degrees toward the driver. Front passengers, presumably, are left to sit there thinking, “I wish it were easier to adjust the controls.”

Base, S, models feature a 7-inch display in the instrument cluster, dual USB ports, NissanConnect navigation, power driver and front passenger seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control with front and rear vents.

SR models feature leather-appointed seats with diamond-quilted inserts, paddle shifters and aluminum sport pedals among other styling tweaks. The Platinum model also gets leather-appointed seats, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear window power sunshade and driver-side memory seat, side mirrors and steering wheel.

Under the Hood

All Maximas are powered by a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Nissan estimates a 15 percent improvement in highway fuel economy, but the car has not been tested by the EPA.

According to Nissan, the new CVT features a wider ratio range and should allow for stronger acceleration from a stop. There’s also a new drive mode feature to allow drivers to switch between Normal and Sport modes. Sport mode adjusts engine throttle response, steering feel and transmission tuning for more aggressive driving.

SR models feature unique suspension tuning, a larger front stabilizer bar and a damper in the front section of the chassis to help fight high-frequency vibration in the body. A similar damper is used on the Nissan 370Z NISMO.


Standard safety equipment includes side-impact and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors in addition to the federally required front airbags.

Safety options include a system to alert drivers when they become drowsy, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.


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