The Maxima premium sedan is Nissan’s longest running nameplate, a vehicle the automaker calls a “four-door sports car,” and it’s been a consumer favorite for more than four decades.
For 2019, the Maxima has a “commanding new attitude,” Nissan says, with a long list of enhancements and additions, including refreshed exterior and interior styling, advanced safety technology, and new options packages.
Five distinct, well-equipped models are available: The S ($33,950); SV ($35,960); SL ($38,440); SR ($39,530), which I tested); and Platinum ($41,440).
The new attitude includes aggressive exterior styling updates: standard LED headlights, new front fascia and grille, revised rear fascia with LED taillights and integrated quad-tip exhaust finishers, and new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs.
A new interior treatment includes semi-aniline diamond-quilted Rakuda (Japanese, camel) tan leather-appointed seating.
Newly available Nissan Safety Shield 360 active safety technology (standard on my SR) includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, and rear automatic braking. New front knee air bags and rear seat side air bags are also standard.
New convenience features include standard rear door alert, traffic-sign recognition, and USB type-C ports. Two new packages are available: The Premium Package ($1,820), for the SR; and Reserve Package ($1,140), with exclusive content for the Platinum.
A 300-horsepower 3.5-liter VQ-series V-6 engine, mated to an advanced Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission, is standard for all trims. The Xtronic transmission, with its lack of fixed gear ratios, is always in the right gear at the right time. It does, however, have a manual-shift mode with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The exclusive Integrated Dynamics-control Module is an extra element of electronic chassis management, featuring intelligent trace control (brakes wheels individually to steer smoothly through curves), intelligent engine brake (uses the Xtronic CVT to apply engine braking for smoother deceleration), and active ride control (targets brake application after a road irregularity to improve ride quality).
Drive Mode Selector with sport and normal modes is also standard. With Active Sound Enhancement (standard on my Bose audio equipped SR), sport mode amplifies the engine note in the cabin, along with bringing more-aggressive shifting and increased steering feel.
My Maxima SR was Gun Metallic (medium gray) with 19-inch gloss-black split-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels sporting all-season tires. The aggressive appearance featured a more-voluminous gloss-black front grille, with deep V-motion creases flowing up onto the hood and down the body sides to the taillights.
Standard jewel-like LED headlights and signature “boomerang” daytime running lights sat above the new, deep fascia, and helped emphasize the captivating performance stance.
The low, sculpted body with deeply scalloped doors and a floating roof appearance achieved by blacking out the roof pillars (including the side mirrors and the extended C-pillar) had a jet fighter look. A dual-panel panoramic moon roof (part of the Premium package) gave passengers an uninhibited view of the sky.
A new gloss-black sport rear spoiler highlighted the revised rear fascia. All trims have new wheel designs, with special new 19-inch Dark Hyper Silver Platinum Reserve wheels, part of the exclusive package for the Platinum trim.
Seven exterior colors are available, including a new premium color ($395), Sunset Drift ChromaFlair, with color-shifting pigment, changing depending on the light source and viewing angle. Standard exterior colors are Super Black, Brilliant Silver Metallic (platinum), and Deep Blue Pearl (royal). Pearl White Tricoat and Carnelian Red Tintcoat (deep) also are premium colors, $395 each.
The cockpit was driver-oriented, with the center stack angled seven degrees toward the driver and a higher floating console with key controls within easy reach. The start switch on the console pulses when the driver enters, and the Display Commander control on the console allows fingertip control of the center display.
Luxurious padding with contrast stitching on the sides of the console, along with a new seat insert pattern and charcoal headliner and pillars, gave my Maxima SR a premium bespoke style.
A three-layer foam design gave Nissan’s unique Zero Gravity front seat, with sport bolstering, an indulgent softness. My seats were Charcoal Premium Ascot leather with a dynamic diamond quilt pattern on the Alcantara seat inserts, and contrast stitching on the bolsters and headrests.
The front seats were climate-controlled, and the Ascot leather-wrapped “D-shaped” steering wheel (with Alcantara inserts) was heated. The driver’s seat had a manual thigh extension. The rear seat featured a standard 60/40 split fold-down seatback.
Maxima’s “Gliding Wing” horizontal-movement layout featured updated Satin Dark Chrome faceted trim across the dash and into the door panels, where gloss black surrounded chrome door handles. Contrast stitching accented the upper dash, instrument panel hood, and steering wheel.
Active Noise Cancellation worked like noise-canceling headphones to help reduce unpleasant low-frequency sounds in the cabin.
NissanConnect with Navigation featured Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and was enhanced for 2019 with Nissan Door to Door Navigation with Premium Traffic information. The system had an eight-inch color display with multi-touch control, two front illuminated USB connection ports (one Type-A, one Type-C), voice recognition for nav and audio, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio, and hands-free text messaging.
Additional NissanConnect Services security features included automatic collision notification, emergency call (SOS), vehicle locator and more. Convenience services ranged from Connected Search, nav directions downloaded to the nav system, and journey planning, with waypoints as well as destination.
My Maxima SR had a Bose sound system with 11 speakers, Center Point Surround Stage technology, and a driver’s seat optimization mode for a driver-centered experience. The system included MP3/WMA CD capability, Radio Data System, and speed-sensitive volume control, with illuminated steering-wheel-mounted controls. SiriusXM capability is standard, requiring a subscription.
Safety was addressed with technology such as standard Intelligent Driver Alertness, which uses steering inputs to detect changes in driving behavior, then alerts the driver to take a break with a chime and a coffee cup icon on the driver information display.
The Premium Package included Nissan’s innovative Intelligent Around View Monitor with a 360-degree camera view of the vehicle including split-screen close-ups of the front, rear, and curbside views, and an on-screen heads-up when a moving object is detected near the vehicle. The package also included rear automatic braking, auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down, and driver-side memory seat.
Intelligent Cruise Control maintained speed and distance, even in heavy traffic. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning monitored speed and distance two cars ahead, then issued a warning to slow down when sudden deceleration was detected.
Front and rear crumple zones, hood-buckling creases, energy-absorbing steering column, and high-strength steel side-door guard beams are standard to protect occupants from the outside. A total of 10 air bags cushion and protect occupants.
My tester had Splash Guards ($205) and Sport floor mats, trunk mat, trunk net, first aid kit, and bag hooks ($360).
The Maxima SR is a stunning vehicle, especially in Gun Metallic with gloss-black wheels and sport spoiler. My comfortable, fun-to-drive SR delivered for $42,810, with $895 destination charges.