Search The Virtual Driver
Tagged for Your Convenience
#PinkBeetle 1940 Ford Coupe 1961 F1 season 2003 Mustang Cobra book 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 2012 Ford Explorer 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 VW Beetle 2012 VW Passat 2013 Chevys 2013 Ford Explorer 2013 Ford Focus Electric 2013 Ford Fusion review 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 2013 Infiniti JX AWD 2013 Lexus ES 350 2013 Lexus GS 2013 Mercedes GLK350 2013 NAIAS 2013 Nissan Altima 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2014 Detroit Auto Show 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Kia Forte 2014 Kia Soul road test 2014 Lexus IS 2014 Mazda CX-5 crossover 2014 Mazda3 2014 Mercedes S-Class 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 2014 NAIAS 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Toyota Corolla S 2014 Toyota Highlander 2015 Camaro 2015 Chevy Trax 2015 Chrysler 200 2015 Detroit auto show 2015 Ford F-150 2015 Ford Mustang 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2015 Kia Sorento SX 2015 Lincoln Navigator 2015 Mini Cooper 2015 Mustang 2015 Nissan Murano 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 Toyota Camry 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 Audi TT 2016 Chevy Camaro 2016 Chevy Volt 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum 2016 Honda Accord 2016 Honda Civic 2016 Hyundai Tucson 2016 Lexus RX 2016 NAIAS 2016 New York Auto Show 2016 Nissan Maxima 2016 North American International Auto Show 2016 Toyota Prius 2016 Toyota Prius unveiling 2016 Toyota RAV4 2016 Toyota Tacoma 2016 VW Golf SportWagen 2017 Acura NSX 2017 BMW 2 Series 2017 C-Class Coupe 2017 Chevy Camaro pricing 2017 Ford GT 2017 Ford Raptor 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 Golf SportWgen 4Motion 2017 Honda Ridgeline 2017 Mazda3 2017 Nissan Titan 2017 Subaru Impreza 2018 Buick Regal 2018 Corvette ZR-1 2018 Ford Expedition 2018 Ford Fiesta 2018 Ford Mustang 2018 Toyota Camry 2018 VW Golf 2019 Lincoln MKC 289 Cobra Achates Power Acorus Technology Acura NSX Acura NSX aerodynamics Acura RLX adaptive cruise control AEV affordable carbon fiber AIE rotary engine airbag technology Al Vinikour Alan Mulally Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 4C Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Alfa Romeo Giulia Alfa Romeo Stelvio ALMS alternative powertrains American F1 teams AMG SLS E-Cell AM-RB 001 AP Racing Radi-CAL Apple Car ArmorAll Arnolt Bristol AROnline Artificial Intelligence Aston Martin Aston Martin condos Aston Martin DB11 Aston Martin DB11 Volante Aston Martin V12 Vanquish Aston Martin Vanquish S Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin Vulcan Aston Martin yacht Aston-Martin Atlanta Motorsport Park Audi Audi A3 Audi A5 Audi A5 Sportback Audi A8 Hybrid Audi bicycle Audi Q7 Audi Q7 TDI Audi R18 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Audi R8 Audi S8 Audi SQ7 Audi TT RS Austin Healey 100M Austin Powers Autocade automotive fuel cells automotive porn automotive safety systems autonomous cars autonomous driving autonomous vehicles Autorama Avocet Avro Vulcan barn find Beetle barn find Jaguar barn finds Barrett Jackson Battle of Britain Beatrice F1 Bell Pro Star Ben Bowlby Bentley Mulsanne Beverly Rae Kimes Big Bang Theory Bjorn Lomborg BMW BMW 2 Series Active Tourer BMW 3 Series BMW 6 Series GT BMW 7 Series Hybrid BMW i3 BMW i8 BMW i8 luggage BMW M2 BMW M3 CS BMW M4 video BMW M4 vs. Lexus RC-F BMW motorcycles BMW X4 BMW1 Series Bob Lutz BorgWarner Breitling watches Brembo British Motor Heritage BRM Brose e-bike Brush Hero Bryce Hoffman Buick Regal GS Buick Verano Cadillac ATS Cadillac CT6 Cadillac CTS Cadillac CTS-V Cadillac CUE Cadillac DPI-V.R Cadillac Escalade Cadillac Racing Cadillac V16 Cadillac XT5 Cadillac XTS CAFE standards Camaro 2016 Camaro Z28 Camaro ZL1 Camping World Truck Series Car Spy book carbon fiber chassis Carroll Shelby Cars in Context Television Cars in Context TV CART Caterham Caterham Seven Center for Automotive Research CES Chapparal 2X VGT comncept Chevy Bolt Chevy Colorado ZR2 Chevy crate motor Chevy Cruze diesel Chevy Sonic Chevy Trax Chevy Volt Chicago Auto Show China Auto 2012 Chip Foose Chris Craft Chris Wallace Chrysler Chrysler Hemi Chrysler Imperial Chrysler Pacifica Clarion C-Max Hybrid CNG Cobra Jet Mustang Cobra watch Continental Tire Controlled Power Technologies Cord 812 cork surfboard Corvette C7 Corvette C8 Corvette Racing Corvette sinkhole Craftsman CTX tractors Cragar wheels Cunningham C3 Dale Jr Dallara GP2 hillclimb Dan Gurney Dan Wheldon De Lorean Dendrobium EV Denise McCluggage Derek Warwick Detroit Auto Show Detroit Electric diesel engine Dieselgate Dodge Dodge Avenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Dart GT Dodge Demon Dodge Durango SRT domestic energy Donald Trump donuts drag racing Dragon software DRB-Hicom Dream Cruise Drift mode driver alert Ducati Ducati 1926 Ducati 899 Panigale Ducati Desmosedici V4 Ducati Monster Ducati Museum Ducati Scrambler Ducati Testastretta Eagle GB Eagle Indy cars Eagle Speedster Eddie Rickenbacker Edsel Ford electric bike electric vehicle demand electric vehicle recharging electric vehicles Elemental Rp1 EPA EV future Evanta F-150 SuperCrew federal bureaucracy Federal-Mogul Ferdinand Piech Ferrari Ferrari 330 P4 Ferrari 488 GTB Ferrari dog kennels Ferrari expo Ferrari F12 Ferrari F12tdf Ferrari GTO FerrariGTC4Lusso FEV Fiat 124 Abarth Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500 furniture Fiat 500X Fiat Chrysler business plan Fiat S76 Fiat-Chrysler Fod Kuka robot Ford Ford at Le Mans Ford BoxLink Ford e-bikes Ford EcoSport Ford Edge Ford Explorer Sport Ford F-150 EcoBoost Ford F-150 Tremor Ford F-350 Ford Fiesta ST Ford Focus RS reveal Ford Focus ST Ford Fusion Ford GT Ford GT book review Ford GT Mk. IV Ford GT40 Ford Ka+ Ford Mustang Ford Mustang GT Ford Mustang GT350 Ford S-Max Ford Transit Ford Transit Connect Ford Transit Connect Titanium Formula One Formula One rules Forza Motorsport Fox News Sunday Fq hybrid braking Frankfurt Motor Show FR-S vs Miata Geely Genesis G70 Geneva Motor Show Global RallyCross GM GM Electrovan GM engines GM recalls GMC Canyon Denali Goodwood Festival of Speed Google car graphene ground effects Group Lotus Haddords Caterhan Seven HANS device Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson Breakout Harley-Davidson LiveWire Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two Harley-Davidson SuperLow Harley-Davidson Switchback Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual healthcare Henry Ford high-performance hybrid Honda ATVs Honda Clarity FCV Honda CVCC Honda endurance engine Honda motorcycles Honda NSX Honda Pilot Honda RA272 Honda RC213V-S HondaJet hot hatch Husqvarna hybrids Hyundai Hyundai Accent Hyundai designers Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra GT Hyundai Elantra Sport Hyundai Genesis Hyundai Genesis Coupe Hyundai Kona Hyundai Motorstudio Hyundai Veloster Hyundai Vision G Coupe Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500 IndyCar Infiniti Infiniti Q50 Infiniti QX56 Infiniti VC-T inflatable child seat internal combustion engines iPhone 6 J.D. Power and Associates Jabuar Jaguar Jaguar C-X16 Jaguar E-Pace Jaguar E-Type Jaguar F-Type Jaguar luggage Jaguar XE Jaguar XJL Jaguar XKSS Jaguar XKSS continuation Jeep Cherokee Jeep concepts Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Jeep Renegade Jeep Renegade Latitude Jeep Wrangler Jensen GT jet prropulsion Jim Clark John Bereisa John Krafcik Juan Manuel Fangio Kia Forte Koup SX Kia Optima Kia Rio Kia Sorento Kia Soul Kia Stinger Kia Stonic L.A. Auto Show LaFerrari convertible Lamborghini Lamborghini EV concept Lamborghini speakers Lancia Delta Integrale Land Rover LR2 Land Rover pedal car Las Vegas Le Mans lead-acid batteries LED headlights Lego Technic book Lexus ES350 Lexus GS350 F Sport Lexus hoverboard Lexus LC Lexus LS Lexus LS concept Lexus LS460 LExus LX 570 Lexus NX 200t F Sport Lexus RC 350 Lexus RC F Lexus RX 450h Ligier LMP3 prototype Lincoln MKC Lincoln MKX Lincoln MKZ Lincoln Motor Company Lincoln Navigator L Lincoln's future Lingenfelter LiquidPiston Lister Knobbly Lister Stirling Moss edition Lola LMP1 Lotus Lotus Elite Type 14 Lotus Engineering Inc. Lotus Evora Lotus Evora 400 Lotus Evora Sport 410 Lotus Exige Sport 350 Lotus SUV LotusXI Luca Montezemolo Lucire Lyonheart K M1 Concourse magnesium wheels marble Ducati Mark Fields Martin Winterkorn Maserati Levante Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Tipo 250F replica matte-finish film Matthew McConaughey Maxion Flexible Wheel Mazda Mazda chair Mazda CX-9 Mazda Miata Mazda Miata RF Mazda Miata versus Ford Fiesta ST Mazda2 Mazda6 MazdaPro series McLaren McLaren 570GT McLaren 675LT McLaren 720S McLaren F1 McLaren MP4-12C Spider McLaren P1 McLaren P1 interior McLaren-Honda F1 Mercedes Mercedes 4Matic Mercedes CLA Mercedes comic book Mercedes diesel pistons Mercedes EQ Mercedes GL Mercedes GLA Mercedes GLE Coupe Mercedes pickup trucks Mercedes van Mercedes-AMG Mercedes-AMG GT Mercedes-AMG-GT Concept Mercedes-Benz 300SLR recreation Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes-Benz furniture metal matrix composite brakes Mewrcedes-Benz X-Class MG wrist watch Michael Horn Michael Schumacher Michelin Mike Hawthorn Mini Mini Clubman Mini Clubman ALL4 Mini Cooper S 4-door Mini Countryman Mini Coupe Mini hybrid Mini Mk 1 body shells Mini rally car Mini Roadster Mini Vision Mitsubishi Monterey Mopar Mopar shaker hood Morgan EV3 Motul multi-modal transportation Muntz Jet muscle cars Mustang hybrid Mustang tuning kits MyFord Touch NAIAS NAIAS 2017 nanoslide coating NASA Mustang NASCAR NASCAR heating scandal NASCAR rules new Prius New Shelby GT350 New York Auto Show Niki Lauda Nissan Altima Nissan BladeGlider Nissan Leaf Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Rogue Nissan Skyline history Nissan Smart mirror Nissan titan Single Cab Nissan Versa Note Nnissan Quest NSU R0 80 Nurburgring Nurburgring Nordschleife Oliver Winterbottom OnStar FMV Opel GT Packard Grey Ghost Page Not Found Alerts Pebble Beach Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Penske Racing Peter Wright Peugeot 108 Phil Hill Pininfarina Pininfarina Coke machine Pirelli Pocket Classics police chases Pope Benedict XVI Porsche 911 Porsche 911 RSR Porsche 911 Turbo Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Porsche 917 Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche 919 steering wheel Porsche 988 Porsche Carrera GT Porsche Cars North America Porsche Cayman Porsche P1 EV Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo powertrain technology Prius c Prius v Proton PSA Group Quixx racing Ram Ram 1500 Ram ProMaster Ram Promaster City Range Rover rebuildable batteries Renault Alpine Renault F1 engine Renault F1 promotion Renault Talisman Renault Twingo restomod Ricardo Engineering Rnage Rover Evoque Convertible road repair funds Rod Tempero Roger Penske Rolls Royce Bespoke Rolls Royce SUV Rolls-Royce Phantom Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Ross Brawn Rush movie Saab safety technology Saleen S7 Sammy Hagar Santa SBU V3 Scion FR-S Scion iA and iM Scuderia Ferrari self-healing tires SEMA Shelby Cobra Sir Malcolm Campbell Siri smart Solid Oxide Fuel Cells spare tires Speed Speed Duel split-window Corvette sport sedans Sportster St. Christopher Sta-Bil 360 Performance Sta-Bil Storage Star Wars Steven Tyler Stoner Car Care Kit Stoner Clean & Repel Subaru BRZ Subaru Forester Subaru Impreza Suzuki GSX-R1000 Suzuki SX4 SYNC 3 tailgating Taurus SHO Team Lotus TechShop Tesla Tesla Model 3 The Aresenal of Democracy The Mitty The Virtual Collection Tim Richmond Tokyo Motor Show Tom Brady torque vectoring touchpad technology Tour de France Toyota Toyota 4Runner Toyota Camry Toyota hybrids Toyota iRoad Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Toyota Prius c Toyota Sienna Premium Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tundra Toyota Venza Toyota VenzaMcLaren MP4-12C Tracks novel Triumph Speed Triple Triumph TR8 TRW TRW touchpad Tucker 48 Turbulent Jet Ignition TVR U.S. Air Force Museum UAW Udvar-Hazy Center Ulysses S. Grant unionization Uniroyal tires vaporware vehicle restoration Vehreo fabric Visteon Volkswagen Volvo Volvo 40 series concepts Volvo Drive-E Volvo S60 R-Design Volvo XC40 Volvo XC90 VW VW Arteon VW Beetle Convertible VW Beetle Dune VW Beetle TDI VW Golf VW Golf R VW Golf SportWagen VW GTI VW I.D. VW Jetta GLI VW Jetta Hybrid VW MQB VW Passat TDI VW scandal VW Touareg TDI VW troubles Weego winter driving Wirth Research women drivers wooden boats Xcar video XPEL Yamaha Yamaha anime Yamaha sports car Zenos E10 ZF TRW
« Alpine's Premature Celebration | Main | Rethinking the Lexus RC 350 F Sport »
Friday
Jun052015

First Run: 2016 Nissan Maxima

By Christopher A. Sawyer 

2016 Maxima SR exterior...Maxima is many things to Nissan. It is Nissan’s longest running, continuously offered nameplate, and the leading large V6-powered sedan (in terms of retail sales) in the U.S. Though referred to as Nissan’s “4-Door Sports Car” (4DSC), it competes with a variety of plain and sporting sedans; everything from the Acura TLX, Audi A4 2.0T, BMW 328i, and Lexus IS to the Buick Lacrosse, Chevy Impala, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, and Toyota Avalon. In a nutshell, it is the sedan for those buyers who are luxury intenders, but looking for a vehicle that is more sporting in both appearance and road manners. Based on this mélange of attributes, you could say the Maxima is somewhat schizophrenic; not knowing if it is a luxurious family car of family focused luxury car. 

The competition in these segments is changing so rapidly, Nissan had to take a much bigger leap than ever with the Maxima’s design. According to Vishnu Jayamohan, Product Manager of Product Planning at Nissan North America, the design team visited the Blue Angels at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, and came back energized by fighter jet design. “The ‘Energetic Flow’ theme is a ‘Shock and Awe’ design meant to make the Maxima stand out from the crowd,” he says with just a hint of understatement and irony. 

...and interior make a style statement.The 2016 Maxima is 2.2 in. longer and 1.3 in. lower than the seventh-generation car, and looks like nothing else on the road. It is all thrusting fascias, flowing character lines and floating roof panels on the outside, and a driver-oriented cockpit with quilted seats, contrasting stitching, a center stack angled by seven degrees toward the driver, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel on the inside. Subtle it isn’t. 

Subtlety is overrated, as — apparently — is playing it safe. Rather than sell the Maxima in a limited number of versions with a Montana-sized options list, Nissan took a different path with the eighth generation. It packaged the sedan into five grades (S, SV, SL, SR, Platinum), then decreed that no options would be offered, though this claim isn’t strictly true. There are a number of items like floor mats, spoilers, wheels and trim pieces that can be added, but you can’t add something from a higher grade onto a lower one. Therefore, if you see something you like and can’t live without, you’d better order that grade (or the next higher) to get it. This simple change decreases the number of potential build combinations, should increase build quality, and helps keep costs in check. All you have to do is pick a grade, an interior and exterior color, and go. And unlike the seventh-generation Maxima, only the S will not carry any exterior grade badging.

 

Grade

Price

Platinum

$39,860

SR

$37,670

SL

$36,890

SV

$34,390

S

$32,410

Destination charge

$825

 

The three top grades offer Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, a heated steering wheel, Active Sound Enhancement (a.k.a. noise cancellation), and an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system. The Platinum grade adds Driver Attention Alert (DAA) and Around View Monitor. The DAA determines whether or not a driver is getting drowsy by monitoring steering wheel inputs and comparing them to those generated during the first 15-20 minutes of travel. If necessary, the system places a drowsiness alert in the seven-inch screen located in the gauge cluster and sounds an audible warning. Because it uses an algorithm tied into the electric power steering system, there is no need for an expensive driver-facing camera that may not be able to read eye movements if the driver is wearing glasses or sunglasses. And the Around View Monitor uses cameras mounted in the grille, exterior mirrors, and trunk lid to aid parking, and includes a composite view that looks at all side of the vehicle as if from above. In addition, it has Moving Object Detection, which adds a visual and audio warning if a moving object is detected within the area displayed in the Around View Monitor’s composite image.

Under the skin, the changes continue. Still powered by a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a CVT automatic transmission and built off a variant of the Nissan Altima’s platform, the 2016 Maxima seems little different. However, the 300 hp V6 has 61% new parts, including new cylinder heads with redesigned intake and sodium-filled exhaust valves, shorter and wider intake runners for better airflow, and a stiffer oil pan to reduce NVH levels. Friction levels in the CVT transmission were reduced 40% by using a downsized oil pump, higher efficiency chain, and lower viscosity oil. The ratio spread was increased from 5.4 to 6.3, bringing it in line with conventional seven- and eight-speed automatics. Acceleration and efficiency are improved, the annoying “moaning” sound that would appear with the combination of light throttle openings and higher ratios appears to be gone, and both fuel economy and acceleration are improved.

The structure itself has been heavily revised, and Nissan claims the 2016 Maxima is 82 lb. lighter than the seventh-generation car, and nine pounds lighter than a BMW 328i, despite being 10 inches longer than the Bavarian. The strategic use of ultra-high-strength steels and new chassis reinforcements cut 4.3 lb., while a new brace directly behind the rear bumper increased rear lateral stiffness 27%. The front strut tower reinforcement was changed to a tubular section with a greater thickness, and this improved front lateral stiffness by eight percent while decreasing weight by 2.2 lb. But one of the greatest weight reductions came via the use of new seat frames that are, cumulatively, 23 lb. lighter than before.

ZF Sachs monotube dampers are used for the first time on Maxima, and contributed to a one pound per damper weight reduction while improving ride and handling. The SR grade, which is the sportiest variant, retunes the dampers, springs and anti-roll bar, adds a front chassis damper to reduce front structure vibrations, and uses Goodyear F1 Eagle Asymmetric tires with a unique tread compound and trim. There’s also an Integrated Dynamics-control Module (IDM) on the SR that levels the chassis via brake inputs for increased ride comfort. Plus, switching to Sport mode alters the throttle response, CVT tuning, Active Sound Enhancement (it gets slightly louder) and IDM responsiveness.

All the technology in the world means nothing if it doesn’t work well together, and our limited driving time meant there was only time to sample the SV grade car. That said, this second-from-the-bottom trim level is impressive. The powertrain is responsive, and has none of the annoying habits and noises cars equipped with a CVT often exhibit. It gathers speed smoothly, but doesn’t dip so low in the rev range while cruising that any attempt at acceleration is met with a touch of lethargy and the “moaning” sound of an engine trying to rouse itself from slumber. The structural changes are readily apparent, and give the suspension a more solid base from which to work. This means the suspension can spend more time smoothing out road irregularities, and less time dealing with any chassis flexibility. As a result, though the car is lighter, it feels stronger, more secure and planted. The control feel is improved, with the steering, throttle and brakes needing similar application pressures, which makes driving easier and less fatiguing, while also imparting a sense of cohesiveness to the experience.

Platinum interior keeps faceted trim, adds luxurious touches.Fit, finish and materials on the prototypes tested were above reproach, and the faceted “liquid chrome” interior trim fits in well with the diamond quilting on the seats. The look is not as jarring as the exterior on first glance, and is quite comfortable. Some of this is due to the fact that the Maxima has an acoustic windshield and front glass, which makes the front cabin much quieter. The rest is down to the new generation Zero Gravity front seats that are fitted with a foam topper for greater initial softness, while preserving long-term comfort. These are fantastic seats, and made all the more so by a revision to the headrests that does not put them as close to the back of your head.

Little time was available to fawn over the pulsing (like a heartbeat) start/stop button on the console, the knurled rotary controller for the center stack touchscreen, or the genuine contrast stitching used throughout the interior. Nor did we check out the ability to “swipe” navigation instructions from the navigation screen to the smaller display between the speedometer and tachometer. On the other hand, the flat-bottom steering wheel is pleasingly thick and nicely styled, and the ventilated inner leather trim handsome.

It will take more time behind the wheel to determine just how good the 2016 Maxima really is, and what problems and foibles might arise in day-to-day use. However, the initial impressions are very positive. Though the styling may be challenging, it doesn’t look like anything else on the road. The structural and other engineering changes have seriously improved the car’s responsiveness, driving dynamics and comfort. And the harshness and noise associated with the previous V6/CVT combination seem to be banished. However, the feedback through the steering and brakes are not up to the 4DSC label Nissan is so desperate to append to this car. Sports car? No. Sporty car? That seems closer to the truth.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>