Like a promise sealed into molten plastic, a figure and four letters repose on the cold lamp shields of the Nissan Maxima. They are the guiding lights in developing the eighth generation Maxima, and more so in marketing it. This test drive is a mission to decode those letters and the true spirit of Nissan’s flagship sedan.

Nissan Maxima 2016 front

THE SPECS: 3.5 Liter V6, X-tronic CVT transmission, Front wheel drive, 300 hp, 354 Nm torque, 0 – 100 in 6.0 sec, Test economy: 11 km/L

THE DIMENSIONS: LxWxH 4897x1859x1435 mm, Wheel base: 2776 mm, Rear legroom: 869 mm, Boot space: 405 L, 19” alloy wheels

THE FEATURES: Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alerts, Blind Spot Warning, 8-inch colour display, Easy Entry System, Around View ® Monitor

THE PRICE: Nissan Maxima SR as tested @ AED 150,500 / Starts at AED 110,000

Nissan Maxima 2016 road

UPSIDE: Reasonable handling pleasure, Evolved cabin features, Striking presence, Fuel economy

FLIPSIDE: Vague-ish steering, Low visibility for short front passengers, Design overkill for some

Nissan Maxima 2016 profile

The Drive

The 3.5 L engine is not a straight lift from the Altima; far from it actually. The engine has 60% new components, and this CVT is closer to how the CVT should be engineered in Utopian times. As you relish the torque rolling out, and admire the impressive 0-100 figures of 6 seconds, remind yourself to hold on till you see the fuel efficiency of its 3.5 L engine. 11km per litre for a car that calls itself a 4-Door Sports Car is almost monumental!

Nissan Maxima 2016 rear

Nissan calling it 4DSC is good enough to highlight the guidelines of building the new Maxima. In reality, though the surge of torque and the tug of traction build on that impression, the distant steering and the occasionally flitting ride stop the car from forming a total carpal lock with the concept. It doesn’t really matter because I people who buy the 8th generation Maxima won’t be giving up their decision solely to its ability to handle corners and thrills – which of course works favourably for the car.

Nissan Maxima 4DSC

The Design

The design is striking – whichever way the vote goes – but it has too many curves and waves. The first time the car looked at me with its thick lower lip turned in a pout I sing: “Baby, you’re cool. So, why try too hard?” But then, I have been seeing a Nissan Maxima from my window for the last couple of months and I haven’t grown sick of it – yet.

Whatever else the ‘V-motion’ front end and the ‘floating roof’ do, they pull the Maxima away from the Altima giving it a much-needed identity revamp for its modern chapter.

Nissan Maxima 2016 design

Cabin and Controls

In fact, if you are wasted on the 4DSC acronym, you could end up missing the whole point of all these premium features stacked up in this cabin. The white leather seats, the glossy cabin trims and the gadgetry are straight out of a luxury cabin, perhaps a shade too outspoken keeping with the car’s character; but premium all the same! The tele-tech doesn’t fail to surprise with features like an Around View® monitor or an 8” screen managed by familiar ‘smart phone gestures’ like swiping and pinch-to-zoom. The screen is paired with the 7” display in front of the driver, and can move maps across by the flick of a hand! My test car could even alert me if I drove like a moose.

Strangely, it is a noisy cabin even though I could hardly hear a honk outside – almost as though sporty cabins have to be noisy. At this point, the flagship of Toyota and Nissan – the silently flowing Avalon and the sportily alive Maxima – make their defining character rather clear.

Nissan Maxima 2016 cabin

Family Drive

While it looks more compact than the last generation, the new Nissan Maxima is actually a wee bit more spacious. The seats are very comfortable unlike many cars that play it hard on less adventurous people by clinging to sporty seat styling. Nissan calls it ‘zero-gravity’ seats in the way they help reduce the fatigue on long journeys by supporting the body from the pelvis upwards; inspired by NASA, and introduced in the 2013 Nissan Altima.

That said, if you happen to be as short as some of my test passengers, you are going to regret two things – that Nissan bumped up their creativity all over the car’s bonnet, and that they haven’t given an option to adjust the height of the front passenger seat!

Nissan Maxima 2016 sunroof

Pictures: Sudeep Koshy

Nissan Maxima 2016 Review: Deciphering inscriptions was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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