by: Mike Ginsca,
The Nissan Maxima is a mid-size sedan just like the Mazda 6 or Honda Accord. But Nissan wants it to be a bit more than that which is why they are calling it a “four-door sports car”. But is it one? Read on…
Engine – On paper it does seem to have sporty credentials thanks to the 3.5L V6 engine producing a healthy 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque. 0-100km/h gets done with in just over 6 seconds which is not bad for a car tipping the scales at 1,636 kg. The engine feels strong throughout the rpm range and delivers an appropriate amount of low-end torque when casually driving around town. When pushing it harder, it has the traditional V6 growl that is missing these days from other mid-size sedans with turbocharged 4-cylinder engines.
However with a V6 you’d be forgiven to think that it’ll be very thirsty at the pumps. Happily the V6 in the Maxima is relatively frugal with gasoline because Nissan claims a fuel economy figure of 7.9 L/100km (29.7 mpg) on a highway and 11.6 L/100km (20.3 mpg) in a city. During my time with the Nissan Maxima, I averaged 11.3 L/100km in mostly city driving.
Transmission – The transmission is where the Nissan Maxima starts to lose some of its sporty credentials. Like many other Nissan products, it is a CVT (continuously variable) transmission and they are not known for providing sporty drives. While it does have virtual gears when switching to manual mode, it doesn’t feel as crisp or engaging as a twin-clutch or even a traditional automatic transmission. But on the flip side of the coin, this transmission aids the engine in reaching the fuel economy figures.
Braking – Stopping the big Maxima are brakes that have a firm pedal feel and are easy to modulate in everyday situations. Forward collision warning and emergency automatic braking are standard features on the Maxima.
Handling – The 2019 Nissan Maxima can go around corners with a fair bit of gusto thanks to the powerful engine but also direct steering. The steering wheel does feel too heavy at slower speeds, like when parking, but it feels adequately heavy when you’re on a twisting mountain road. Torque steer is prevalent when exiting a tight corner.
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Ride Comfort – The Maxima’s suspension soaks up bumps quite well and coupled with the supportive seats, it provides a smooth driving experience. I’d dare to even say that the ride of the Nissan Maxima is borderline luxury car. An impressive feat.
Interior Space – Front occupants have a good amount of space but I would personally preferred a bit more telescopic adjustability of the steering wheel. Rear seats also have a good amount of legroom even for taller adults but head room is at a premium. Trunk space is plentiful for most at 405L (14.3 cu-ft) with a large opening trunk but if you need more space, the Toyota Camry offers more at 427L (15.1 cu-ft).
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – With a smooth V6 engine, the 2019 Nissan Maxima is a quiet car whether it’s in a bustling city or on a highway. The cabin is well insulated from outside noises but lets in just enough engine noise when driving at a more spirited pace.
Interior Design – The cabin of the 2019 Maxima remains relatively unchanged since this generation was introduced back in 2015. For the most part it resembles other Nissan vehicles but it also tries to incorporate some sporty touches such as the flat-bottom steering wheel. Normally you don’t see that except on sports cars. The placement of the start/stop engine button is also reminiscent of a sports car but the quilted leather adds a touch of luxury to the overall esthetics of the Maxima.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – As mentioned earlier, emergency braking is standard but other safety features such as lane departure keep and rear automatic braking are only available on the SR and this Platinum trim.
In terms of entertainment, the Maxima comes pretty much fully loaded in its base trim. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is navigation, satellite radio, 8” touchscreen display, and bluetooth. Realistically the only thing that’s missing from the Nissan Maxima is a heads-up display.
Exterior Design – The 2019 Maxima received some minor changes to the exterior in the shape of a new front grille, new LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, and LED taillights. Around back the Maxima has the quad exhaust tailpipe look to further add to the sportiness persona of the car.
In all the 2019 Maxima is not quite the sports car that Nissan would like us to believe. If anything it’s leaning more towards the luxury sedan end of the car spectrum. However at $45,650 CAD for this top Platinum trim, it is quite a bit more expensive than the competition from Honda and Mazda which is why I would not recommend this trim. If you’re ok with not having a lane keep system, ventilated seats, and a surround view camera system, the standard SL trim at $40,790 CAD is the trim to go for.
Thank you to Nissan Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Nissan.ca
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