2016 Nissan Maxima Review
2016 Nissan Maxima Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Well-made and attractive interior rivals those of luxury-branded sedans
- easy-to-use tech controls
- abundant features for the money
- sharp driving dynamics
- top crash scores.
- Backseat and trunk aren't very spacious given the car's cost
- price is high given the car's size and Nissan badge
- SR model's firm ride
- all-wheel drive is not available.
After a one-year hiatus, the Nissan Maxima returns for the 2016 model year. It's been fully redesigned.
The redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima is worth a look if you're searching for a car that's more exciting and refined than a typical family sedan, but not so expensive as to be in true luxury-car territory. Read more to see what you might think of the new Maxima.
Notably, we picked the 2016 Nissan Maxima as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$191/mo for Maxima 3.5 S
Maxima 3.5 S
Avg. Midsize Car
The Maxima has always been Nissan's luxury leader, but conservative styling and a too-similar résumé to Nissan's Altima have made it a tough sell for many consumers in recent years. That could change for 2016, as Nissan has redesigned the Maxima to help the car stand out more between mainstream family sedans and entry-level luxury cars.
Certainly, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is one of the more dramatic-looking sedans to come out this year. The new model is 2.2 inches longer and sits 1.3 inches lower than its predecessor, enabling sleeker styling and better aerodynamics. Overall curb weight is down slightly, while structural rigidity has increased, changes that Nissan says contribute to improved efficiency and handling. There are incremental gains under the hood, too, as Nissan has revised the Maxima's 3.5-liter V6 to produce 10 extra horsepower while using less fuel.
Lower and sleeker, the 2016 Nissan Maxima has been redesigned with a bolder look than before.
Changes can be found on the inside of the 2016 Maxima as well. The interior design looks more luxurious than before, and most materials are high quality. In particular, the upper trims' leather and simulated suede upholstery give the Maxima a premium and sporty feel. A new touchscreen technology interface with a separate rotary controller, allowing the driver to choose his or her favorite way to operate the system, is another welcome change this year.
Really, the 2016 Maxima exists in a curious no man's land among segments. It has a similar badge, and it's priced similar to full-size sedans like the Buick LaCrosse, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Azera (and its Kia Cadenza cousin) and Toyota Avalon, but has a much smaller backseat and trunk. At the same time, it has a much more luxurious cabin and better performance than well-equipped midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and Mazda 6, which are cheaper and actually also a bit more spacious as well. Finally, there are entry-level luxury sedans like the Acura TLX that share many of the Maxima's traits (not to mention the Audi A4s and BMW 3 Series of the world), but they obviously offer a luxury badge, unlike the Maxima.
As such, saying how the Maxima compares to others in its class is impossible; it really doesn't have a class. Instead, should you be interested in any of the above cars, the Edmunds "B"-rated 2016 Nissan Maxima is certainly worth close consideration.
Performance & mpg
Under the hood, the 2016 Nissan Maxima features a familiar 3.5-liter V6, but it is updated this year to produce 300 horsepower (up 10 from last year). Torque stays the same at 261 pound-feet. The lone transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels.
In Edmunds.com testing, a Maxima Platinum sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is average for a sedan in this segment with a V6.
EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings check in at 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway), which is a bit better than most of its rivals.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Nissan Maxima include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. Standard on the SL and above are a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and a forward collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking. The Platinum model also adds a 360-degree parking camera system with a moving object detection system that sounds a beep and gives video alerts on the center screen when even small objects are moving anywhere around the vehicle. The Platinum also includes a driver drowsiness monitor and Nissan Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, remote starting, emergency calling and stolen vehicle locating.
In government crash tests, the 2016 Maxima earned an overall score of five stars (out of a possible five), with five stars for total front-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Maxima also earned top scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, receiving a "Good" rating in the moderate- and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests as well as a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof-strength and seat/head restraint tests. The IIHS also tested the Maxima's forward collision mitigation system and awarded it a score of "Superior."
In Edmunds brake testing, a Maxima Platinum with all-season tires stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, an adequate showing by class standards.
The 2016 Maxima isn't really the "four-door sports car" that its marketers would have you believe, although it does feel rather sporty until you start to explore its modest limits. The steering is precise, body motions are fairly disciplined when going through turns, and the car is generally fun to drive. Notably, the SR model has 19-inch wheels instead of 18s, plus a sport-tuned suspension. Those features slightly improve overall agility, but the ordinarily supple ride becomes firm -- perhaps too firm for some buyers. No matter which trim level you pick, the Maxima is quiet at highway speeds.
If you're looking for a sporty family sedan, the 2016 Nissan Maxima should be an excellent choice.
The 3.5-liter V6 provides ready and willing power across the rev range, and it works well with the CVT, although torque steer is noticeable during hard acceleration (The addition of all-wheel drive would correct this and improve traction to boot, but it's unavailable). As with other CVTs, the Maxima's transmission has no fixed gear ratios. However, Nissan has added seven simulated gear ratios that are used in certain instances to provide the feeling of a regular automatic transmission, minimizing the prolonged high-rpm droning that has given CVTs a bad reputation. We generally like the result, as the CVT does a pretty fair impression of a conventional automatic without giving up its edge in fuel economy.
The Maxima may not have the brand name of a luxury car, but it has the interior of one. Passengers are surrounded by quality materials, including soft-touch surfaces on most of the major touch points. Nissan's "Zero Gravity" seats are present as well. They're supportive, though we haven't found these to be as superbly comfortable as the ones in the Altima. One particularly thoughtful feature is the bin mounted forward of the shifter that contains two USB ports, space for the largest phones on the market and a slot to mount a phone vertically so you can see messages as they pop up.
The 2016 Maxima's intimate, well-trimmed interior is one of its strongest suits.
The Maxima's 8-inch touchscreen interface is paired with a redundant control dial (called "Display Commander") that's located on the center console, giving drivers multiple ways to control the various functions. When paired with a smartphone, the system can read incoming text messages aloud through the speakers and even conduct Google searches. A navigation system is also included. In general, the system is intuitive and responsive to inputs, but as of this writing, Nissan Connect's collection of apps for smartphone integration is quite limited.
Room front and rear is acceptable, but the Maxima can't match the rear seat space of similarly priced sedans like the Chevrolet Impala or Toyota Avalon. Similarly, the Maxima's 14.3-cubic-foot trunk capacity is smaller than those of midsize sedans, let alone full-size ones.
2016 Nissan Maxima models
The 2016 Nissan Maxima is a five-passenger midsize sedan available in five trim levels: S, SV, SL, the sporty SR and the top-line Platinum.
Standard features of the base S model include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), a 60/40-split folding rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronics features include a large gauge cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, two USB ports and an eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio, HD radio and a six-disc CD changer.
The SV model adds heated outside mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats and extendable thigh support and power lumbar for the driver seat.
The SL model gets a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, a premium 11-speaker Bose audio system and adaptive cruise control. It also adds several safety features (see Safety section below).
With upscale materials and a standard 8-inch touchscreen, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is a step above more common family sedans.
The sporty SR adds 19-inch wheels (with available summer performance tires), a sport-tuned suspension, Active Ride Control (uses the brakes to quell body motions over bumps), Active Trace Control (uses targeted braking to keep the vehicle on its intended path) and active engine braking that helps slow the car when heading aggressively into corners or approaching a stop. The SR also has LED headlights, premium leather upholstery, simulated suede interior trim and heated and ventilated front seats. The SR lacks the panoramic sunroof, however.
The SR is available with the Midnight Edition appearance package, which includes a different wheel design and black trunk and under-body spoilers.
To the SL's equipment roster, the Platinum adds the LED headlights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory settings, premium leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a power rear sunshade, a 360-degree parking camera system (with a moving object detection system) and a driver attention alert system. The Platinum also features Nissan Connect.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Never Considered Nissan... Until Now
2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Week 2 of owning my 2016 Maxima Platinum and I'm very satisfied with my purchase. I'm 30 years old, no children, young(ish) professional with a long commute (30 miles one way). I originally started shopping the '16 Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, and Lincoln MKZ. I happened to see a Maxima on the road and it really stood out, so I read some online reviews and made my way to the dealership … "just to look". Well, after driving the cars priced thousands more, I was seriously impressed with this car. I'll go through what's meaningful to me. Safety - what are grouped into "packages" on other vehicles with already high base prices are all standard on the Maxima Platinum and commuting in Chicago through dense traffic on busy expressways I find the extra set of watchful eyes on the road very reassuring. The blind spot monitor, front and rear sonar, forward emergency braking, smart cruise control, driver attention alert, around view monitor - these have all come in handy already in just these two short weeks and I'll probably not buy another car without this helpful tech. Interior - this is MILES beyond anything in the mainstream segment and rivals cars in classes above. The diamond quilted seats, hand stitched dashboard, diamond patterned wood trim, panoramic roof, heated and cooled seats, flat bottom sport steering wheel; all these features combine to make each driving experience feel special. The nav and infotainment system is awesome - the redundant controls with the i-drive like rotary wheel is convenient if you don't want to poke at a touchscreen and the navigation information can be swiped into the driver control cluster so you can keep your eyes on the road. Driving Experience - anyone who says CVT and sport sedan can't go together (and I was one of those individuals) haven't actually driven this car. The power is IMMEDIATE and instant on-demand. The system can keep the RPMs low in everyday driving to maximize fuel economy but push the sport mode button and things get moving fast. The ability of the CVT to give you that power instantaneously and then hold you in the power band is incredible and for merging onto highways at speed, it makes things a breeze. I never feel wanting for power even after driving the twin-turbo CTS which has 400+hp. Will this car cannibalize sales from the Infiniti Q50? Probably. Will it steal sales from cars in classes above? It just did for me. It's large and spacious, sporty without being pretentious and immature, elegantly appointed on the inside, and cheaper to insure. If you're looking for a full featured near-luxury (or luxury in my opinion) car with sporting aspirations that's not too fussy to be a good reliable daily driver, head down to your Nissan dealership. I drove one home that night and have been thrilled every time I drive it. Update 8/9: After owning this car for a little over 7 months my initial impressions have not changed. I currently have a little over 7K miles and there are some noteworthy things I'd like to add. After a month or so of driving, I noticed that when in sport mode, the acceleration DRAMATICALLY improved (not that I had any concerns about it to begin with). I did some research, and found that some auto manufacturers add software that puts limitations on the engine during the break-in period. Not sure if this is something that Nissan does, but the throttle responsiveness and power from the engine abruptly improved a noticeable amount. The only time I have noticed the CVT is when in Sport mode during spirited driving, the transmission holds the revs as if anticipating another heavy throttle input. This results in some minor droning from the transmission, however this is never observed in everyday driving in Normal mode. Still amazed by the ability of the CVT to give you instantaneous power; merging and passing is easy and never requires planning. The forward emergency braking can be somewhat overzealous - when a car is slowing down to make a turn ahead of you and you keep going at speed anticipating it moving out of your way, I've had the car brake itself somewhat abruptly several times. It certainly is better than having an accident, however it can be obtrusive. When you hear the warning beeps, a gentle braking motion can prevent this (which I should probably have been doing anyway). Minor note - not a big deal, but I found a way to turn off the honks and beeps the car emits when you lock and unlock it. Kind of a nice feature, especially getting home late in a suburban area and not wanting to annoy the neighbors. Overall structural rigidity is impressive - no squeaks or rattles, no issues with the pano roof that other reviewers have mentioned (which are all covered under warranty anyway). Some minor recalls have been addressed, but so far zero issues and still one of the best vehicles I have ever owned.
5 out of 5 stars
Great premium level sporty family sedan
Kevin L, 04/25/2016
2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
If you're looking for a premium family sedan with cabin space that can fit 5 people comfortably, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a premium family sedan with performance, sporty feel, AND fits 4 people comfortably, this is THE CAR! Materials used and the technologies included with the Platinum trim in this car are top-notch with this price tag. When you sit inside the car, it … really feels more like a sports car than a traditional sedan because of the interior design, this is probably why Nissan wants to label it as a 4DSC (4 doors sports car). Handling is great for a car that's between mid-full size. Acceleration is plenty with 300HP and 261lb-ft torque. Some people complain about the CVT installed in this car, however those are also enthusiasts who should be driving sticks instead of auto if they really want that "feel" of the engine. IMO, CVT in this car is not bad at all and I'd say 95% of the population won't even notice the difference if they weren't told about the CVT. With the CVT, my best fuel economy so far is 34mpg highway and averaging 24mpg in city. Safety features that come with this car and especially in Platinum trim are great to have. My car insurance went down 40% switching from a 2011 Camry to this car. Insurance agent told me that's probably because of the safety features and safety ratings from the new Maxima. If you're considering this car, I'd suggest watching some review and comparison videos on Youtube. Update*** After one year of ownership, I am still very impressed with this car. Remote start with heated seats and heated wheel during freezing winter has made my morning commute super warm and enjoyable. We also just had a baby and the rear cabin has plenty of space for a car seat, which was one of the reasons why I bought the car. Even today, I am still getting lots of compliments about the look of this car from random people in public parking lots. This has definitely been the best car purchase I've made so far.
5 out of 5 stars
So glad I waited for the 2016
James Craven, 03/24/2016
2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Over the years, I have purchased Maximas in 2007 and 2011. I had been waiting for the 2016 Maxima for a while and when the car began appearing on local Nissan lots, I was immediately contacted by the dealerships since I had been bothering them wanting to know when the 2016's would arrive. When I first test drove the one Maxima they had on the lot, I was not impressed. It might have had … something to do with the fact that they would not let me take it out on the road. Anyway, I left to return when they had more of a selection to choose from. I was able to test drive an SL and was blown away by the acceleration, handling and style. I was able to take it on mountain roads as well as the interstate. I could not have been happier. I was all set to purchase the SL but saw the Platinum version and that was all I needed. Took the Platinum home 2 hours later. I have had this car since July 4, 2015 and couldn't be more satisfied. This is a great car. I have actually had people stop me in parking lots wanting to see the interior and talk about the car. Do yourself a huge favor and get this car. It is really fun to drive and it will definitely turn heads. Update: I have now owned this car for a year. I still have people stop and admire the car at restaurants, malls, car washes, where ever I am. It is still a pleasure to drive and I could not be happier with the purchase. The handling is superb and the acceleration is kind of invigorating. You will have fun driving this car.
5 out of 5 stars
The Did It Right
2016 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
I have had the car for a month now. To sum into 2 categories: Simply Incredible: 1. The interior. Our other car is an Audi. This is just as nice, if not better. 2. Safety features. What can I say...WOW. They nailed this. The car has beeped at me 3 times now when the car in front of the car in front of me has hit their brakes hard. Once the car in front of me literally had to … fully lock up to avoid an accident. Me? A little hard braking but no big deal...becuase the car warned me. They found that perfect sweet spot where the beeping is not annoying, but it always does it at just the right time. 3. Surround cameras...so easy to park! 4. The CVT. Just never think about it. I guess that means it is good! 5. Remote start. It was cold yesterday, finally. Remote started. When I got in the car I noticed it heated up the steering wheel for me, in addition to of course heating the cabin to the temp I left the car at. Really nice touch. 6. The headlights. Brightest and most precise I have ever seen in a car. Visibility is just great. Good but needs work 1. Nav and entertainment. Mostly nailed it. Little things I wish were better. You cannot see the song playing in the 7" screen for sat radio (does so with iPod and bluetooth)...takes a bit to find some things in the menu system. Blacks out options when driving for saftey which is fine but some I disagree shoudl be blacked out. Most useful 3d map I have seen in a car. Really Nissan, get with the program and allow Car Play and such...I do worry that this system will be "old" in 5 years, hope they have an ability and plan for software updates! The Nissan Apps are useless, but frankly I don't want Trip Advisor in my car. Would DIE to get a Spotify app though! 2. Intelligent cruise. Its pretty damn cool. I suppose I should not expect this to work like I assume a Tesla works! Only complain is when a car in front of me changes lanes it takes a while for the car the "let it go" and realize I have clear roads in front of me. Overall I love it though. 3. Zero G seats. OK it took a full 3 weeks to find an acceptable position (I am 6' 2" with a bad back). Agreed, the center console can annoy the knee, I have to really set the seat back a little more than I like to so it does not happen. I worry that in a few years there will be a noticable wear spot there. At least it has some padding. Otherwise seats are really the best I have ever had in a car...ventilation works great, leg support extender great for someone my size. And as other reviews have noted, why was Nissan unwilling to make the passenger seat 6 or 8 way? Short people complain that they are really low, and really tall people JUST have enough head space. What else can I say? I feel like I don't deserve this car, the interior is so damn nice! Drives with that perfect balance of a really stiff frame, but forgiving at the same time. Issues I have with this car are pretty trivial. Everyone who has been in it or driven it is jsut floored...especially people who own luxury brands!
2016 Nissan Maxima videos
This all new Nissan Maxima? It's a pretty radical departure from the previous model. Actually, it's a pretty radical departure from everything else on the road. As revolutionary as the redesign is, though, the new maxima is very much a mechanical evolution. It's still a mid-sized sedan, still front wheel drive, still has a 3.5 liter V6, and a CVT, and still very much straddles the line between mainstream and luxury. Now that V6 has been thoroughly updated and now produces 300 horsepower. That's a lot, and it feels like it. Definitely gets moving. But it's also an awful lot to be sending through the front wheels only. When you really gun it or power out of a corner, the wheel does have a tendency to sob back and forth. All wheel drive should be an option and not only just to cut down on torque steer, but it would benefit bad weather traction as well as improved dry weather handling. The revised Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT, is hard to fault. It's smart enough to keep revs up when you're driving aggressively, and it simulates gears when accelerating hard to make it sound and feel like a regular automatic. It also helped the Maxima get nearly 29 miles per gallon on the Edmond's evaluation route. You can also call up those fake gears using the paddle shifters. But really, the CVT still doesn't feel quite appropriate for something marketed as a four door sports car. The rest of the Maxima really doesn't live up to that billing either sportiest s.r. Trims handling is surprisingly sharp and fun twisting mountain roads the steering in particular is smoo light and effort but high on feedback. Unfortunately, the SR sport-tuned suspension, is just too jittery and jiggly, even on relatively smooth pavement. If you're constantly driving on one of those fun, twisting mountain roads then, yeah, you could probably live with it. But then again, if you live on a fun, twisting mountain road, you're probably not buying a Maxima. You're probably getting a rear or all-wheel drive sports sedan. As such, we'd stick with the other Maxima trims that are better suited to be cross shocked with entry level luxury sedans like the Acura TLX, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60, and even the [? Infinity ?] Q250. Certainly has an interior that stacks up well. This two tone cabin in the SR trim really is sharp. And the materials are a clear step above an Ultima or any other mainstream sedan. Actually, in some ways, it's better than an Infinity Q50-- specifically it's infotainment system. This new, standard 8" touch screen is bigger, has crisper graphics, the menus still make sense, and you can now pinch and swipe like on a smartphone. Plus, you get this knob that you can use to scan a map or wheel through a playlist. Essentially, it does most of the things that touch screen does. So if you prefer to use a touchscreen to accomplish a task, you could do that. If you prefer to use the [? iDrive ?] -like knob, you can do that as well. Whatever you prefer. And speaking of smartphones, there is this nice, deep bin to keep it out of the way-- unless you have some big mini tablet phone. But then, oh well. And if you're thinking the Maxima compares with the big sedan, like a Toyota Avalon, think again. It may be similarly priced, in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, but the backseat headroom is kind of tight, and the legroom very much depends on who's up front. The trunk is also significantly smaller than most full sized sedans. But at 14.3 cubic feet, it's on par with most midsize sedans and bigger than many entry level luxury sedans. So if the Maxima's radical styling appeals to you, you'll find a sedan that is pleasant to drive, with a powerful engine, and a lovely, easy to use cabin. Otherwise, it doesn't deliver the sportiness of a four-door sportscar, the space of a similarly priced mainstream sedan, or the luxury badge of, well, a luxury car.
2016 Nissan Maxima Review
This Nissan Maxima video review includes information about fuel economy, performance, handling, interior comfort and space, available features and how it stacks up to other sedans.
2016 Maxima Highlights
|Combined MPG||25 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$191/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood