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2019 Nissan Maxima Maximizes Sportiness, Luxury

Competes with: Kia Cadenza, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon

Looks like: 2018 Maxima with sharper-edged face and behind

Drivetrain: 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6; continuously variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: December

Full-size sedans might be a shrinking breed in the SUV world, but Nissan is aiming to make its Maxima stand out as the sportier and near-premium full-size choice with a light refresh of the exterior styling and interior, as well as some new feature choices and safety technology. The 2019 edition of the Maxima will be unveiled this week at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and go on sale in mid-December to compete against strongest rival and the big dog of the class sales-wise, the redesigned 2019 Toyota Avalon.

Related: More L.A. Auto Show Coverage

The 2019 Maxima will offer five trim levels, including the base S, SV, SL, sportier-trimmed SR and top-of-the-line Platinum. Just two options packages will be available: The SR Premium Package with additions including a panoramic moonroof, a 360-degree camera system and advanced safety and driver assistance tech. And the new Platinum Reserve Package, which adds special 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and an upgraded leather interior.

Exterior

Freshened 2019 styling gives the Maxima a slightly deeper Nissan “V-Motion” grille and new front and rear bumpers. The rear also gets quad exhaust tips. The headlights are similar in shape but have a more premium array of LEDs and stronger boomerang LED accents. The taillights also are redone and the overall effect is one of sharper edges and more sportiness. The side sculpting and floating roof look remain from 2018, and the sportier SR trim level gets a new rear spoiler. A new premium paint color, Sunset Drift, is offered for 2019, and all trim levels get new wheel designs.

Interior

The interior’s horizontal and driver-oriented design layout that Nissan calls the “Gliding Wing” carries into 2019. But there are changes in accents, materials and stitching that, depending on trim level, aim for a more premium feel for the dashboard, doors, steering wheel, seats, speaker grilles and pillars. These include new diamond quilting and Alcantara simulated suede trim, with orange and dark chrome accents for the sporty SR trim level. And the Platinum Reserve Package features tan semi-aniline leather, diamond stitching, bronze-colored trim and heated rear seats.

Multimedia features include an 8-inch touchscreen system with smartphone integration. A revised in-car navigation system is standard on all trim levels except the base S.

Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf: More Range, Less Money

Under the Hood

Carrying over for 2019 is the Maxima’s standard 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. In keeping with the effort to position the Maxima as a driver’s choice among full-size sedans, Nissan says it also has standard sportier tuning for the steering, brakes and suspension.

Safety and Driver Assistance

Standard for 2019 is a driver alertness warning and a new rear door alert for you to check the backseat before leaving the vehicle parked. Adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams are options on lower trim levels.

Maximas have had a standard front collision system with automatic braking. Optional for 2019 on the SR trim level and standard on the Maxima Platinum is a new bundle of advanced safety and driver assistance tech that Nissan calls Safety Shield 360. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams and rear automatic braking. Nissan has been extending this bundle across its lineup and will also offer it for 2019 on the Altima, Murano, Rogue and Rogue Sport.

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