The cars we loved.
Although the Maxima never lost it’s emphasis on performance. As such it was usually was the enthusiast choice in comparison tests, although it lack in other creature comforts – the kind that are driving the segment. With 290 hp from 3.5 L V6, it looked like just another Japanese front wheel drive sedan. Many reviewers though it rode pleasantly, but lacked interior room, especially in back. To make matters worse the Maxima often scored poorly on value and resale studies. It received a poor rating from Intellichoice more than a few years in a row.
These were minor complaints for those looking for unassuming performance and not interested in how their car stacked up to a Corolla or Accord. While not quite at Q-ship status, the Maxima could scoot to 60 mph in under 6 seconds with it’s continuously variable transmission (unusual for the segment).
Nissan seems to have solved the Maxima’s biggest perceived problem by adding style and more room. The next Maxima is a dramatic restyling worthy of the “all new” marketing claims attached to so many products today. Nissan pimped the design during the 2014 auto show circuit with it’s Sport Sedan concept in January of 2014. It later made a cameo in a Superbowl ad and had it’s official coming out part at the New York Auto show a few months in April.
Nearly undiluted from the concept car, the production version is just as striking. The “C” pillar suggests French influence like the designers were enamored with various Citroen and Peugeot from the past while trying to make an alternative to the 3 gen Kia Optima’s sleek rear pillar. It’s graceful and aggressive. The sportiest Maximas would not have been described in that way with their angular shapes, but the look of performance is clearly back. It even wears the “Four Door Sports Car” sticker that’s adorned the side windows of the Maxima from the beginning.
Nissan will even start promoting the phrase again in the way it did from the late ’80s to the mid ’90s. Technically elements carry over, but have been improved. The 2016 car will continue to use the 3.5 L V6, but will have 10 more horsepower over the 2015’s 290. All variants of the Maxima will use the same engine and have the same power rating, just like the 2015 car. Unlike the old car, it will also be 82 pounds lighter and be more efficient. More importantly, the sleek profile will get people talking about Nissan’s sports sedan again like they once did in the early ’90s.
The only trouble spot might be the slightly busy front clip that looks like a Mazda 6 re-sculpted for more angularity. The rear is as un offensive as they come, looking like a modern Asian sedan. The Renault connection may have influenced some of the style of the new Maxima, even though the Renault equivalent on the D-platform, the Latitude has not been has rolled out yet in its updated form. Either way its good that the “Four Door Sports Car” is back.