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(Contributing Editor: George Straton, Roadblazing.com)
"Hype" = "Hyperbole". Often creating an unrealistic expectation , Hype is hard to live up to and nearly impossible to live down.
WHAT: 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum (Gen.8, A36) : Lives another day to live down the hype. The front-wheel drive premium executive sedan was slapped with a couple 4DSC window decals and marketing scheme going back to 1988's 4th Generation J30 series. The 6th Generation A34 still offered a manual transmission, but was sold only in North America and a few Middle East markets. 2007 marked the end of the manual gearbox, introducing an efficiency minded Continously Variable Transmission.
WHAT (A) DIFFERENT LOOK: √ smooth Coke-bottle fuselage of Gen.7 A34 replaced by Lockheed F-117 multi-angular facets; √ Tapered nose widens, rising to high arching fenders and short C-pillar "Floating Roof; √ Resembles long hatchback; √ Current fad White LED DRLs boomerangs are nearly blinding; √ "4DSC" etched on HID headlamp and LED tail-lamp housings.
WHY: Waiting for return to the "4 Door Sports Car" of 1991; Reminder of torque steer in excessively powerful front-drive cars.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since summer 2015
WHERE: Nissan new car dealers
WHERE MADE: Smyrna, Tennessee, U.S.A.
HOW STRONG: 3.5L DOHC sequential injected gas V-6 makes final 10 hp jump to 300 hp mark; Could this be final chapter of naturally aspirated VQ series?; If this iteration sounds smoother above 3500 rpm blame Active Sound Enhancement ear trickery; No enthusiast fooled by Sport Drive Mode continuously variable transmission attempt to emulate redline "upshifts"; No steering wheel shift paddles; Normal Drive Mode has engine speed hovering around 1000 rpm; Ridiculously easy to set off traction control with half-throttle launches.
HOW LIMBER: Most road feel filtered out before reaching steering wheel; Sport Mode merely increases resistance without linear winding; Successfully shrugs off road perturbances; Nose heaviness on soft springs translates into forward dive; Bits of tail twitch in hairpins; Friction from amply sized brake discs hampered by initially soft pedal.
HOW FAR: Impressive for gas V-6: 25 combined miles per gallon.
HOW BIG : Low front cowl for sweeping forward view; front and rear seating fits wider shoulders;
HOW LITTLE: Sloping roof and panoramic glass roof shave valuable cabin headroom; Rear outboard bucket seating bunches center position.
HOW USEFUL: √ Deep trunk is narrow, with thin & bristly lining: √ Lockable 60/40% split folding rear seat backs for cargo expansion & child safety; Bose amp and parcel shelf speakers & flimsy hanging strap split rear seat back releases confess cost cutting.; Door pocket storage nominal; Large mouse-fur lined glove box; Ignition push button on lower center stack displaces what could have hosted a storage bin; √ 2x USB ports √ 1x 12V power outlet inside front center armrest bin.
HOW SAFE: earns IIHS 2016 Top Pick Plus trophy: √ 8 airbags, High tensile steel for weight shaving; Driver assist technology: √ BSW, √ Bird's-eye Surround View camera w/ front & rear park assist alert & Moving Object Detection , √ Lane Departure & Rear Cross traffic warning; √ Forward Collision Warning & Braking; √ Partial adaptive cruise control; √ Driver drowsiness alert
HOW FRIENDLY: √ Heated & cooled Zero Gravity front seats probably impart space orbiter feeling: driver seat has manual extending knee cushion; √ Uniform tandem contrast stitching on all dark surfaces √ Diamond quilted leather seating surfaces; √ Never knew such a thing as faceted surface wood grains existed; √ Power adjusting perforated & heated leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel; √ Spoke controls possess distinctive tactility; √ Mouse-fur lined glove-box; √ Precision feeling seat climate dials are set & leave type: Upwards location on center console defies verification of intensity.
√ Dual analog ELD speedometer and tachometer sandwich a 7"- inch Advance DriveAssist TFT polychromic multi-function screen: Sport Drive Mode display projects ambiguous engine power graphics
√ Hi-Gloss 8"-inch LCD media display flanked by primary function buttons; Redundant operation by: (1) TOUCH; (2) GESTURE: map finger pinch/ release & hand waving sub-menu populating; (3) Center console rotary toggle dial; Infotainment icons can be custom organized similar to tablet or smart wireless device;
HOW "APP" -LICABLE: Hold out another few months and 2017 Maxima will be first Nissan w/ Android Auto and Apple Car Play interfaces; Handsfree communications include dual display SMS text messaging; Voice commanded GPS SD Navigation; free Nissan Connect apps: Pandora, i-Heart and Google Navigation search; subscription fee based SXM Travel Link; 11-spearker Bose Centerpoint audio demonstrates better depth & spatiality than other Bose systems, possibly due to active noise cancellation.
HOW MUCH: $40,905 = Maxima Platinum ; (base Maxima S: cloth seats, including GPS navigation = $32,560.)
WHAT'S MISSING: AWD option; More linear steering & road feel; Torque converter automatic or Dual Clutch automated manual gearbox; > Headroom;
ANY COMPETITION: Acura TLX V-6 : nearly anonymous but including some autonomous driving tech; Volvo S60 Inscription: pedestrian avoiding, new-from-China long-wheelbase w/ +1 front seat but -1 for-2016 center stack and in-car 3G; Buick Regal GS: constrictive cabin, overweight, yet > natural steering effort, +1 roadholding & in-car 4G LTE; Volkswagen CC: +1 DSG, -1 driver assist, < 2nd Row headroom [TLX, S60, Regal GS & CC available in AWD]
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Filed under: Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Gallery - Executive Sport Sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Gallery - Family Sedan, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Gallery - Sporty Executive Sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Executive Sports Sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Family Sedan, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Sporty Executive Sedans
Tags: 2016 Nissan Maxima, 2016 Nissan Maxima Review, 4DSC, Acura TLX competitor, Buick Regal GS competitor, continuously variable transmission, executive sedan, gas V6 engine, Maxima, Nissan, Nissan Maxima Platinum, premium executive sedan, Toyota Avalon competitor, Volvo S60 Inscription competitor