By Bob Cowan
I couldn’t wait to get back into this one. My first experience was in the 2016 Maxima when it was completely redesigned into the car we see today. Audi and Cadillac aside, there are very few sedans out there with lines as striking as on the Maxima. While the bold exterior styling is great my favourite part of this car is the cockpit. A jet fighter cockpit is what the designers had in mind and that’s exactly what it feels like. The dash, steering wheel, console and shifter wrap around you for a perfect cozy comfy fit. Maxima is a nameplate that’s been around for a long time and is so far surviving but some competition is going away as manufacturers drop sedans for crossovers and SUV’s. Only time will tell if will be spared the axe from Nissan but right now it’s holding its own with North American sales.
Among the cosmetic tweaks for this year are a new look grille and full LED headlights and taillights, quad exhaust to punctuate the sports car image and a new colour seen on my test unit – Sunset Drift. The opinions I got on this colour were a 50/50 love-hate split.
Under the skin it’s the same Maxima with Nissan’s venerable 3.5 litre 300 hp /261 ft/lb torque V6 mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is a very reliable and responsive engine. The overall ride with this front wheel drive and its sport tuned suspension is great and the CVT doesn’t behave like most. None of the high revs or lags particularly in Sport mode which can be activated by a button just below the gearshift. The oversized steering wheel shift paddles add to the sport feel and the 7 speed shifting is precise unlike the steering which is average. I would like to see all wheel drive option with this car. As for mileage my numbers fared better than the specs averaging 8.1 L/100 km.
Its what’s inside that counts
The top of the line Nissan has a very nice luxury interior with some nice touches including felt stitched inserts in the leather steering wheel and high grade Alcantara leather for the zero gravity sports. Nissan calls the Maxima a four door sports car but it can play a luxury sedan as well.
The Maxima has Safety Shield 360 as an option which is a very nice high tech safety feature. It includes lane departure and rear cross traffic warnings, blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlights. I was really impressed with this all encompassing safety package. It’s standard on the Platinum trim version.
The Maxima may not perform like a true sports car but is fun to drive and the ergonomics are excellent. I was disappointed that a heads up display is not available. Overall though I thought this was a fantastic car for under 50K. Sedans may be an endangered species but I think the Maxima deserves to stick around.
2019 Nissan Maxima XR
Engine: 3.5 Litre V6 300 hp 261 lb-ft torque
Fuel Economy : (L/100 km) 11.6 city 7.9 hwy 9.9 combined
MSRP as tested: $45,285