By Zeid Nasser on Thursday, June 04, 2015


In the automotive world, three decades is a lifetime: much happens and changes.

 

While some may believe that the cars of yesteryear were superior to today’s high tech, lifesaving and safety feature-loaded vehicles, given the choice of a car of the past with one of today, it’s difficult to believe that more than a relative handful would chose the former.

In the ‘80s, Nissan brought us the wonderful Maxima with its 2.4L, 125-HP engine.  

Now in 2015, our hearts are pounding and racing with Nissan’s 8th generation, 3.5L, 300-HP 2016 Maxima, a 4DSC (4-Door Sports Car) that respects its heritage while sporting more style, performance and technology than ever before seen in its lineage.

The Blue Angels and their fighter jets served as an inspiration underpinning Maxima’s interior and exterior designs.  

Vishnu Jayamohan, Product Planning and Advanced Strategy at Nissan North America, shared how Nissan engineers met with and learned from fighter plane pilots, sitting in their jets, connecting with the look and feel of the ultimate in driver-centric ergonomics and performance.

Nissan’s floating roof concept evokes images of a fighter jet’s canopy; 2016 Maxima design inspires movement, action and performance behooving a machine boasting the badge "4DSC" etched in its head and taillights. 

This feeling flows into the authentically stitched dash and center console, angled toward the driver and made ergonomically flawless with real knobs and buttons.  The driver is in complete control at Maxima’s cockpit command center. The moment our derrieres made contact with Nissan’s 2nd generation zero-gravity seats, we were at home in the Starship for the duration.

The view from the driver’s seat is comparatively panoramic. Thin pillars by today's standards are pushed forward, creating wonderful openness [although the hood begins a bit higher than the base of the windshield, which at first may not appeal to some yet to become accustomed shorter drivers.]

Drivers grip a new flat-bottomed leather-wrapped steering wheel [heated from SL trim-level up], with Alcantara synthetic suede on SR trims. Nissan proudly announces Alcantara as sourced from Italy, and it sure felt it.

Positioned slightly to the right is NissanConnect: an angled 8” touchscreen featuring Nissan's latest infotainment system software with an all-new bundle of services. A new subscription service allows for emergency crash notification, remote lock/unlock and remote start. 

 

NissanConnect operates efficiently and smoothly, quickly and intelligently.

Pinch-to-zoom, swiping, plus a smart nav feature that tosses driving directions over to the 7” display in the gauge cluster, are a few examples of the fresh attention given Maxima. 

White LED lighting smoothly arcs across the dash at dark, adding to the ambiance of Maxima’s quality-crafted cabin.

The sculpture of the front seats enables rear passengers to enjoy more than enough space for stretching out in this large sedan. We found plentiful leg, head and knee room in the back seating area.

 

Maxima’s trunk continues Nissan’s superior ergonomic ideal with its large boxy cargo hold, hiding the gooseneck-type hinges & creating pragmatic quantity & quality space.

Nissan planted and packed their recent fuel economy-enhancing designs under Maxima’s hood. Overall vehicle weight was reduced 82lbs, internal engine friction has been reduced, and the CVT is all new: intelligently calibrated and programmed with logic that brilliantly defines normal driving from sporty driving with optimized precision.

Updated transmission logic detects heavy throttle input and simulates gear shifts, holding RPMs while pushing Maxima through high-G cornering. 

2016 Maxima debuts Sport and Normal drive modes, where in Sport mode, engine throttle response is enhanced, the transmission programming adapts to more aggressive shifting under braking and gear holding, steering weight increases, and Active Sound Enhancement amplifies the engine noise in the cabin.

 

Safety is tantamount to us, and Nissan shares our values.

 

Unique to 2016 Maxima is Driver Attention Alert, a feature we shared shortly after its NY Auto Show reveal. 

Driver Attention Alert receives and analyzes input from the steering wheel; if certain movements [or lack-thereof] are detected, the driver is alerted via both visual and audible signals that it's time to rest.

Maxima offers Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW) as standard equipment on SL trim and above. 

We're intrigued by the "predictive" component of PFCW, utilizing a module in the lower fascia which focuses on the vehicle located 2 cars ahead of the Maxima, cleverly alerting the driver when that vehicle suddenly brakes.

Nissan smartly revolutionizes the buying process, eliminating options by offering wisely-equipped trim-levels with increasing extents of equipment.

Well-equipped SV trim is priced at $33,325 and the Platinum tops out at $40,865. The 2016 Maxima arrives at dealerships nationwide in June.

The 2016 Nissan Maxima is simple, streamlined, smart and best of all, sporty!


 

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