By on February 3, 2015

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A return of the 4DSC?

Nissan will reveal the 2016 Maxima at the New York Auto Show next month. No technical details have been announced, but this is our best look at it yet.

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91 Comments on “A Better Look At The Next Nissan Maxima...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    ” No technical details have been announced”

    It’s a big, overweight, underpowered, FWD only, CVT 4-door sedan. Not at all in the spirit of the original 4DSC. What else do you need to know?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t think we can charge Maximas with being underpowered. The other things yes.

      This car would be in a different place entirely if it were given AWD in 2005, around the time that a) it became too close to the Altima in size, equipment, and appearance, and b) it became a very good idea to add AWD to any sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        If you gave it AWD, it would just be a less-desirable Skyline?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It would be more desirable than a top-spec Altima, that’s the only concern!

          There’s no trouble selling high spec Altimas, but they can’t give the Maxima away.

          I’m in favor of the idea someone else had, with a Maxima Nismo trim of the Altima. Save themselves some money.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            That’s been Nissan’s problem ever since they put the V6 in the Altima. Toyota handles it by making the Avalon bigger and more comfortable. Maybe they could go back to the old days and make the next Altima 4-cylinder only (NA or turbo) again.

        • 0 avatar
          rlblue

          It’s still FWD-based. G35 / G37 / Q50 / Q60 are all Skylines. Would always be FWD-based, but Attesa AWD was available on many FWD cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Easton

        Predictably, it will feature a V6 of about 300 or so horsepower. Not bad, but hardly remarkable in the day and age of 365hp Tauruses. A front-wheel drive “sports” sedan is inexcusable when virtually every competitor now offers All-wheel-drive. And don’t even get me started on the CVT. While the days of 3-pedal full-size cars is sadly gone there is no reason to not offer a dual-clutch automated manual or a proper automatic with paddle shifters.

        The common sense solution would be to build a proper RWD-based sedan on the 370Z platform. But given Nissans recent obsession with vanilla-flavoured cars and their contentment with mediocrity, don’t count on that any time soon.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          @Easton

          Might I introduce you to the Infiniti brand. Because a RWD sedan based on the 370 would be automatically sold as an Infiniti. Nissan has not had a RWD sedan offering since what, 1982?

          Even if it were based on the 370 and was RWD, development of the car would put it at a price point not suitable for the Nissan name anyway.

          If they must have a RWD sedan based on something, they’d use one of their existing G platforms and dumb it down for Nissan use.

          • 0 avatar
            johnny_5.0

            @ Corey

            Indeed it is apples to oranges! I never meant to imply that people would often cross shop a Maxima and a GTI. My point is that anyone who is really looking for a “4 door sports car” isn’t likely to find what they are looking for in a Maxima.

            Who wants an Altima sized Nissan (which is actually smaller in back), with an Altima engine, and an Altima transmission, that isn’t actually an Altima? I almost laughed myself silly when I just noticed the V6 Maxima has a starting MSRP *under* the V6 Altima. This car just serves no purpose in their lineup. Maybe it’s low enough volume to try out some new powertrains without jeopardizing their reliability image.

            Back to apples and oranges. The compact GTI actually has more rear legroom and drives a lot closer to a ‘sports car’ than the Maxima. I’d prefer one. I’d prefer a Charger RT (better powertrain). I’d prefer a V6 Accord. Other than the very steep discounts that accompany any Maxima purchase I see little reason to buy one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Very true, on all points.

            Makes me wonder why they haven’t cancelled it by now. Once the Altima became a larger car (02, I think), there was just no point for a Max any longer.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Not bad, but hardly remarkable in the day and age of 365hp Tauruses”

          The Maxima isn’t slow versus the Taurus SHO, mostly because the Taurus weighs almost a thousand (!!!) pounds more.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Not quite correct, psar.

            2014 SHO comes in at 4341 lbs – porky I agree. But the 2014 Maxima is still 3550. A difference of 791 lbs. And I bet this new Max weighs more with all the extra body panel volume.

            All that weight makes me think the MKS probably rides nicely. Course my M is 42XX lbs and it rides a bit harsh.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            Okay, so eight hundred pounds. :P

            Everyone’s a pedant. Myself included.

          • 0 avatar
            johnny_5.0

            The Taurus is a fat pig fo SHO, but they aren’t really that close in a straight line. Remember the Maxima is slightly slower than a V6 Accord/Camry…that CVT isn’t doing it any favors performance wise. It’s a good half second off the pace to 60 and through the quarter (and ~5 mph slower) than the SHO.

            Not that I’d buy either of those two cars. A GTI is as quick as the Maxima, is immensely quicker with a tune, and isn’t giving up much anywhere else from rear seat accommodations to interior. 4DSC marketing is a joke these days.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Sorry Johnny, that’s an apples/oranges comparison. Family sedan Taurus and Maxima models are in a different class entirely than the GTI. Different shoppers as well.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Offer a mid-size sedan on 370 bones would really entail making a mid-size rwd sedan then chopping some wheel base out of it and producing a 3xx Z off of that. Small cars don’t really scale well up in size but you can take a mid-size car and shrink it down.

          Some hard points would be same ( the cowl seem like a hard area to shrink ) and weight would suffer.

        • 0 avatar
          maxxcool7421

          Sho? /headhsake/ that bloated +800pound gas mileage lying pos ? pass…

    • 0 avatar

      Maximas aren’t underpowered. My problem is the lack of AWD. Every midsizer should have optional AWD by now.

      Camry, Maxima, Sonata,etc.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I agree.

        AWD would be a good differentiator versus the Altima. It’s not really necessary on most mainstream sedans (and the lack thereof doesn’t hurt sales of the Camry or Accord) but it does give reason not to skip the pseudo-premium models (Avalon, Impala, Taurus, Maxima, Azera) in favour of the well-equipped mainstreamers.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Why most every mid size car have AWD??? It is worse on fuel, not needed most of the time of the year and causes folks to think there is no need for snow tires or staying in on crappy days. I would snot want a car with AWD, and you know as well as I do Big truck the dealers would only stock the awd drive models in the NE so good luck finding one without AWD, It is almost impossible to find a FWD foreign car in NJ that is FWD when they offer AWD, I am fine with FWD and snow tires in the winter.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          And NJ weather is usually better than the Upper Midwest (Northern parts of IN, IL, and OH, along with MN, WI, and MI) where many of us use FWD with All Seasons to get around. One might justify AWD for the rural NW part of NJ, but really, does Trenton down to Cape May need AWD?

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          FWD w/ high tech snows are superior to AWD models w/ all seasons according to testing done by C&D and Tirerack. The AWD BMW sedans w/ stock tires are lousy in snow.

          Best to get narrower snows on dedicated wheels. In Canada some provinces DO require winter tires.

          As for the Maxima, it certainly is different. Possibly only the MKS is less comely.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          @ seth1065 – You’re crazy, AND you hate America! ;-)

          AWD may be necessary in a teensy, tiny percentage of the US, and it may be a nice-to-have in a slightly less teensy percentage, but it’s wholly unnecessary in the vast majority of the country, including most places in the Northeast and Midwest.

          Marketing is a powerful thing, apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      “What else do you need to know?”

      Well, we could add how ugly it is.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      Overweight is a Ford Sho… and the SHo lies about its gas mileage

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I wouldn’t say that I love it or hate it. It is a very busy design though. I would expect more than 300hp. Hopefully AWD optional. I am not sure that the CVT is helping sales of this car, so perhaps a different transmission would be beneficial. I don’t see it as a hit by any means. Plus, I think there is a refresh of the Altima coming out soon. That probably means more to potential Maxima sales that the Maxima’s actual technical specs.

    I will reserve final judgment, but I think this design will be a marginal success at best.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think they’ll keep it at or below 300hp. It only needs to have a bit more HP than the V6 Accord. Over 300 in a Nissan sedan is reserved for Infiniti models.

      • 0 avatar
        insalted42

        “Over 300 in a Nissan sedan is reserved for Infiniti models.”

        And that’s why the Maxima isn’t going anywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Show me a mainstream non-premium sedan with 300+ hp. Aside from the Taurus SHO, of course.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Chevy Impala V6? Does that count as premium?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That would count!

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Ah, the new Impala. The better LaCrosse.

          • 0 avatar
            jjklongisland

            As an owner of both a 2011 Maxima SV premium and a 2014 Impala LTZ I can say they are completely different vehicles. The impala drives with the smoothness of a Cadillac and feel ginormous compared to the Max. The Max is quick and nimble for its weight. Instant passing power with premium fuel. All those that compare the Maximas driving experience similarly to the Altima clearly havent driven both. They feel like two totally different cars. Altima feels alot less refined and not as smooth. For me the grill is a little too much and the wheels scream Optima. Curious to see how this model pans out

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The front bit is very rabbit/ferret like with a big tooth. The rear smacks of Hyundai and the Avalon, and the side profile is Renault.

    I like the floating C-pillar, and I like the blacked out A-pillar for that Saab 9-5 look. But the rest is meh, and this car is almost guaranteed to fall to the bottom of the sales charts with the MKS and the RLX.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I don’t know. Visually improved (except for the front end), but this car has filled an odd place in Nissan’s lineup. I can’t decide if the fender lines are actually stylistic or just plain awkward. I’ve rented a couple of these in the recent past and they always struck me as fancy Altimas and overall uninspiring.

    Agree with Lie2me. This has been an overweight, FWD sedan, overshadowed by much better cars, especially in the Infinity line. I’ll wait to see details, but based on the recent two models, I have low expectations.

  • avatar
    robc123

    New lexus grill with plastic junk over it.

    They must have access to the Fukuyama automaker common parts bin.
    Don’t understand why everything has to be so ugly, is there not 1 guy/gal who can draw a car in their world that Nissan can hire.

    Yes, I understand design from engineering realities but 1 guy, just 1 guy that can draw something half decent without overdoing it.

    Because this is definitely fukuyama’ed.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My Eyes! The goggles do nothing!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Yes. Agreed. This is an unfortunate looking vehicle. I bet that kid from the Nissan Super Bowl commercial was glad his dad wasn’t around. Better to have an absente father than to be picked up from school in this overstyled monstrosity.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    FUGGLY!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Looks too much like a lumpy Q-whatever from Infiniti – yuk.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Old Maximas – a little bit of “sleeper” in their understated looks.

      New Maxima – LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKKKK ATTTTTTTTTTTTTT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        That’s been said about every Maxima, and certainly every one since 2003.

        This one isn’t really bad. There’s a bit much front overhang and it looks like the current Elantra (not a bad thing; the current Elantra is a nice-looking car) but they managed to make it distinctive without being outright goofy. Some of the details (blacked A-pillars? that weird little c-pillar blackening) are questionable, but overall not bad.

        I’m glad they kept the headlamp shape. That’s a nice touch that really needs to propagate to the rest of the lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. Orange

        This design language looks somewhat cheap compared to Infiniti’s.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I seem to recall Nissan touting the return of the 4DSC when the current Maxima was gearing up for release (but now new car so can admit old one was crap etc).

    I don’t expect this car to turn out any different than the current one.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I seem to recall Nissan touting the return of the 4DSC when the current Maxima was gearing up for release (but now new car so can admit old one was crap etc).”

      I don’t know if it’s Nissan that drags out this trope, or if it’s journalists who really, really need to learn new material.

      Either way, it’s tiring. And Nissan already has (had?) a 4DSC in the form of the G35.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        It was Nissan.

        I found an old press release (http://www.thetorquereport.com/2008/06/allnew_2009_nissan_maxima_star.html) where the second sentence says:

        “The seventh generation Maxima returns to its heritage as “The 4-Door Sports Car™,” combining thrilling performance with premium sedan comfort, quality and amenities.”

        I’m sure they will just substitute seventh with eighth in their new press release.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Definitely Nissan: the Maxima ships from the factory with “4DSC” stickers in the rear quarter glass. Just head down to the nearest Hertz lot and see for yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “return of the 4DSC”, Nissan uses that language every time they release a new Maxima. Heavy advertising and then they go radio silent for years until the next round.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    The 4DSC had double wishbones at all corners, if my old man memory is correct. The intro of the beam axle and general de-contenting of the underpinnings were its downfall. Nissan has had some of the most intuitive engineering solutions I have encountered in my auto life – why not return to these roots? BMW has shown price point is no obstacle if you just maintain a veneer of value and performance. And, Dan is correct about the styling of all Ghosn products. A little subtlety would go a long way in this category.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Most people buy BMWs for the badge, not the value and performance. Nissan does not have that brand cachet- price is an obstacle. See VW and the Phaeton.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “The intro of the beam axle and general de-contenting of the underpinnings were its downfall”

      Nah, the Altima growing up and getting the big six was the Maxima’s downfall.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I think they need to start over with the Maxima. Make it based on the G37 (Q50 or whatever they call it his week). But make it cheaper with less options than the Infinity. Cloth seats standard for example, detuned engine make it not need premium fuel, simpler radios, ect. Oh and make a brown wagon stick shift version of course. Or follow Toyota’s lead and make it a Avalon fighter, larger and more plush. I’d vote for the cheaper Infinity route given the Maxima’s glorious past.

    • 0 avatar
      jkk6

      Funny you say that cause last year when they drop the price of the current G37 $3k off msrp in wake of Q50’s intro and their mgmt’s decision to keep the G37 concurrently made the Maxima even less desirable. 33k for a base G37 or 31k for FWD CVT Maxima… hmmm choices choices. I’d take that max over any Sonata

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    When I look at this it sorta has the same feeling as to when acid starts to kick in.

  • avatar
    John R

    4DSC? It better have AWD as an option.

    I will put myself out there and say I like the way this looks. On looks alone it really seperates itself from the Altima. The Altima looks incredibly generic. Especially next to this.

  • avatar
    geeber

    I can’t decide whether it’s a daring attempt to be different, or Nissan’s 21st-century version of the 1961 Dodge Polara.

  • avatar
    jimbo1126

    I’m seeing a whole lot of Mazda 6 and Kia Optima here.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      really does “borrow” a lot of stuff.
      Certainly the Mazda sweeping front fenders. THe way the trunk and rear fenders lines flow around to the sides is from another car as well…just having trouble remembering which one.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        I agree – at first sight, I saw a Mazda ‘6.8’ with a weird, multi-surfaced front end.

        It seems that several Japanese marques are going with “interesting” fascias, which you either love or hate.

        Given these choices, I’d take the simple elegance of the Chrysler 200 any day.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      I was gonna say… that C-pillar looks cribbed straight from the Optima.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The charger now owns that title. Nissan owned it in 1992 when pretty much all mainstream sedans sucked.

    Time to let this car die. Fwd and CVT no longer cut it when there is charger/300 and Genesis all within spitting distance.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    That front end is seriously ugly.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    Judging by the pictures, this thing is going to be positively cetaceous. It is perhaps the best visual representation of the physical bloat that has crept in with modern cars.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I can’t figure out where the Maxima fits in Nissan’s lineup. It appears that Nissan buyers can’t, either, which is why they all buy Altimas. I’m hopeful that this generation distinguishes itself in some way, but if I understand the way modern car companies think correctly, this will be built on an Altima chassis with the same V6 and the same CVT that’s used in every other Nissan product, and everyone at corporate will buy into Marketing’s BS that an expensive positioning campaign is all that’s needed to differentiate this car from both other Nissans and the competition.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    So you’ve got Altima’s available with the same engine and trim for a few grand less. You’ve got QWhatever’s available with similar or better power and trim and RWD or AWD for maybe 10 grand more. These won’t sell for exactly the same reason the past 2 generations of Maximas didn’t sell. “Why spend the extra money vs. an Altima” and “For just another 50 bucks a month I can get a Q40/50”

  • avatar
    Freddie

    I rented a Maxima recently. Based on what I’ve read my expectations were low. but I found it a blast to drive. Fast, took the corners great, felt really solid. I did not perceive any ill CVT characteristics. I’ve seen them advertised as low as $25K. If I were in the market now I’d seriously consider the Maxima.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s a better car than people give it credit for. It’s not fantastic, but it’s reasonably quick, sporty and fairly nice inside.

      The concern I have about the 2016 is that, frankly, it looks like a crossover with a trunk, or a Juke sedan without the objectionable front-end, when you look at the size.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I always enjoyed renting the current generation Maxima. It has 20 more HP and 10 more TQ than the V6 altima. It feels solid and has more power than FWD can handle at low speeds. Truth be told, I also enjoy renting the V6 altimas when they are available, but I prefer the Maxima.

    If it was RWD I would buy one, since it isn’t, I’ll stick with my old infiniti. Neither this new car or the new Infiniti M56 appeal to me enough to earn my dollars.

    I was in a similar situation when I bought my G35. I was looking at an Altima SE-R and realized that for the same exact money I could have a new G35 6MT with all options except navigation. And history was born.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There is no new M56, and it’s not really an “either or” when talking about the Maxima, which is on a different platform, is FWD, with a different engine (3.5) which is not the Infiniti 3.7 or 5.6.

      You’d be talking Q50 for the smaller item, or a Q70 for a prior M model.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        New M56 to me is 2011+ M56 as opposed to previous M45. As an owner of multiple infiniti vehicles, I don’t even attempt the Q names.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You can’t say that either. It’s not “as opposed to.” They’re different vehicles on different platforms sold in different decades.

          There is gen 1 M45.

          There is gen 1 M35/M45.
          There is gen 2 M37/M56.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I get them as upgrades all the time, and I hate them. Floaty and boaty, and the interior is soooo cheap and nasty. More engine than the suspension can handle.

      The new one is hideous. The bastard child of a new Impala and a Mazda6.

    • 0 avatar
      AoLetsGo

      I just rented one this past week in Texas. Houston to Big Bend and back 1,600 very forgettable miles in a very forgettable car. The ride was okay on the highway, but floaty when pushed in the curves. Acceleration was okay but the CVT was loud and underwhelming. The worst part was a lousy 22mpg average on the highway, unacceptable for a FWD car, on a flat highway.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Someday automakers will learn not to make the concept car look gorgeous but the production model dumpy. See Subaru WRX concept vs reality. Now Nissan Maxima concept vs reality. Maybe Honda has the right idea calling their production cars “concepts” when they are on the show stand with big wheels and tinted windows.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Mazda 6 profile, Ford tailights, and a front end where the designer thought:

    “So black bumpers are the big thing eh? Well I’ll put a black bumper WITHIN a black bumper!”

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The Maxima’s problem is it came BEFORE Infiniti. The Avalon is so well integrated into Toyota’s lineup because it came AFTER Lexus.

    The Maxima was essential an Infiniti G/M back when Nissan was a standalone. Now if Nissan were to give it AWD, upgraded interior, V8, etc, It would be an Infiniti.

    They have to make it nicer than the Altima, but worse than Infiniti. Maxima is a great nameplate and really got the short end of the stick with this last generation.

  • avatar

    Commenting only on the design: the painted a-pillar is not good enough for this class of car. The Citroen DS3 has a similarly unconvincing fake wraparound window; the Mini shows what you have to do which is to put glass over the a-pillar so it meets the glass of the front door. At this price level painting it black is quite insufficient. The fake DLO at the c-pillar is poor for the same reason. Overall, this car lacks the integrity of the Mazda 6 which is flamboyant but has no egregious bits of cosmetic styling. It’s quite a surprise that a grown-up studio would apply these mini-car details to a big, fairly costly “proper” car.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Nissan’s answer to the Accord Crosstour has arrived, FINALLY.

  • avatar

    Ugly, and I can only surmise it exists to allow an upsale from the Altima if the F&I guy sees a good credit report. It won’t sell to the gearhead/enthusiast, isn’t a legit performance car…

    I’m thinking “Grand AM”….cladding….

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    They ought to hire Jamie Foxx as “Wanda” as the spokesperson for the new Maxima.

  • avatar
    RWD_by_the_Sea

    Hmm, not holding my breath. Excepting maybe the GT-R, I think Nissan lost the plot circa 2004.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    Front end a bit overdone, but other wise better looking than the Altima.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The more I see this vehicle to more I’m liking the looks of it.

    I do think an AWD version with a slightly detuned Godzilla engine would be a nice touch.

    Add some conservative skirts, tidy up the front spoiler and a rear wing that functions. You’d have one handsome car.

    This would make an attractive, affordable and competitive performance car.

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