By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 8, 2015
About the video
Nissan advertises its sedan as a four-door sports car. With its recent redesign for 2016, the Maxima wears an even more aggressive look to back up its name, but is it still a car that's fun to drive? Watch the video for more.
(car engine starting) The Nissan Maxima is a car that's bucked convention, it's been advertised as a 4-door sports car, and more recently it hasn't fit neatly into the mid-size or full-size sedan categories, and for 2016, it's evolved again, as it be...
comes more luxurious, but is it still a car that's fun to drive? Let's find out. The 2016 Maxima introduces Nissan's Energetic Flow design language to its sedan lineup. Signature cues include this plunging grill that takes up most of the front end, and LED daytime running lights. It's a very aggressive look, and it looks menacing when you see this in your rear view mirror. Another aspect of the design language are these gloss black roof pillars, which are designed to give the roof a floating appearance. Nissan says they were inspired by the canopy of a fighter jet. Now on a dark car like this one, they're kinda hard to see, but I thought the design was a bit jarring on lighter color cars. So is it a 4-door sports car? That's overselling it a little bit, but it is a good handling large car that offers a more connected feel and tighter handling than the class norm. Nissan offers an SR trim level that increases the focus on performance. The SR comes with a unique suspension, chassis bracing, 19 inch alloy wheels, and stickier Goodyear tires. The ride is considerably firmer and a little harsh at times over bigger pavement breaks, but that model offers some of the best steering feedback in the lineup. All models have a 300 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 engine that provides smooth, effortless acceleration, and has power to spare for a quick pass at highway speeds. It pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission that's mostly unobtrusive with only a hint of droning when you accelerate hard. If you've been driving a car with a traditional automatic, this CVT won't seem strange or different. Overall cabin quality and attention to detail is very good. The standard leather wrap steering wheel feels great, there's the soft touch material on the upper part of the doors, which is a nice alternative place to rest your arm, as opposed to the door armrest. There's a soft padded section to rest your knee on the center console, and there's real stitching on the console, the doors, the dashboard. The one thing though that's not very premium is this simulated metal trim, which just doesn't really look that real. The Maxima also has a media bin that's located just ahead of the cup holders, that's big enough, according to Nissan, for an iPhone 6+, it's also where the car's two USB ports are located. The Maxima's cabin is snug compared to full-size sedan competitors. I like to drive with the seat raised, and in the SL trim level that we have here, which is one of two trims that has a dual panel panoramic moonroof, I was constantly brushing the top of the roof with my head. Now, if you get a car without the moonroof, headroom is considerably better. The backseat isn't as roomy as a Chevy Impala's or a Toyota Avalon's, but it is big enough to carry adult passengers in reasonable comfort. I'm 6'1, and I have good leg room, but like the front seating area, when you have the panoramic moonroof, headroom is limited. The Maxima's 14.3 cubic foot trunk is smaller than full-size sedan competitors, but it's about one cubic foot larger than the Acura TLX's. The trunk has a nice shape, and the trunk lid supports move with an enclosure, so they're not gonna crush your cargo, and if you need to make the trunk bigger, the release straps for the 60/40 split folding backseat are right here. Besides traditional full-size cars, Nissan thinks the Maxima can appeal to buyers looking to move up to a luxury car like the Acura TLX. The Maxima's starting price is actually a little bit higher than the TLX, but with its new level of luxury, both in terms of cabin materials and features, it's a credible alternative that delivers a dose of sportiness. (car trunk banging)
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