2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum - Luxuriously Living Down 4DSC Moniker - Quick Review

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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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