By on May 26, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima Front Three-Quarter

Though the 2016 Nissan Maxima will make its showroom debut June 2, there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine.

As the auto industry was still feeling its way out of the Great Recession in early 2012, Nissan vice president of North American product planning Peter Loing said while most believed it was all but certain a new Maxima would come, “the foregone conclusion at that moment was that there would not be another Maxima,” Automotive News reports.

Loing took his current position in January 2012, where his first task was to make the case for a car whose fan base was almost entirely in the United States before an automaker who preferred global platforms to minimize costs.

Loing’s case hinged on the longevity of the Maxima name — having been on the marketplace without a break since 1981 — thus garnering a multigenerational consumer base who knows the nameplate better than Nissan’s own name. The model’s marketing boss, Eric Ledieu, added the Maxima also did well in pulling in consumers close to making the jump toward luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes.

When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn greenlit the eight-gen Maxima back then, Nissan North America vice president for vehicle engineering and Maxima program boss Takeshi Yamaguchi opted to dial the styling up while also boosting its luxury appeal and enhancing performance. Yamaguchi said he was proud of the results, not only of the fact the Maxima went “beyond where it was” instead of going more conservative, but the fact it was given another chance to see the sun rise.

[Source: Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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50 Comments on “2016 Nissan Maxima Slated For Execution Four Years Earlier...”

  • avatar

    Looks like it will continue to be a fun rental car for the near future.

    • 0 avatar

      I was about to say – “fan base? With the rental car fleet managers?” I don’t think there are as many Maxima enthusiasts anymore, especially the way they have to discount them, if newspaper ads are to be believed.

  • avatar

    I might be in the minority here but to my eyes this is the best looking car from Nissan/Infiniti.

  • avatar

    I think the current generation still looks very stylish and has aged well. I certainly like it more than the newer model. Now if only they would offer one with a 6 speed manual again and then we have a winner.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah nothing like a “4-door sports car” with a CVT.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. I rented one once, hoping for the old Maxima. Instead, it was yet another dumbed down appliance. I was unimpressed. And saddened, really. The Maxima used to be a really good car. But that was back when Nissans were fun. Now? Not even close.

  • avatar

    Dump it and build more Rogues.

  • avatar

    Too bad that Altima couldn’t find its Epipen after that swarm of bees attacked.

  • avatar

    I want to see the Camry vs Maxima track comparo!

    Is it still a 4dSC? Should buyers pony up for the better performance and comfort?

  • avatar

    I remember conversations about the Maxima meeting its end. It was once a resonably powered sedan with bad torque steer. But with Infinity coming on back then and the Altima growing and getting more powerful, it was problematic to keep the Maxima.

    Now it just occupies space in no mans land. Fitted with a boring CVT transmission, an average Bose stereo, and likely to get very little HP boost, it just kinds sits there and fills out rental lots. The “sport” that used to be part of the old 4DSC marketing is being engineered out.

    • 0 avatar

      This x1000. When the Altima got the V6 and extra size, the Maxima became redundant and unnecessary in Nissan’s lineup.

      What is should be is RWD and a half-size between the Q50 and Q70, kind of like the B5 Passat slotted between between the B5 A4 and C5 A6 in size. Then it would be relevant in size, provide something the Altima does not. It could compete in the same market space as the Charger, which right now has no real competition as we noted in the review yesterday.

      • 0 avatar

        Maxima sales are comparable in number to Leaf sales. Nissan sells Altimas and Rogues, they keep the rest of their models around for any number of reasons other than sales.

        • 0 avatar

          Versa’s are worthy, too.

          • 0 avatar

            Looks like it generally goes: Altima, Rogue, Sentra, Versa. With Altima and Rogue sales around 20k/month and Sentra and Versa sales around 10k/month before dropping down to Frontier/Pathfinder sales around 5k/month. Everything else moves around 1k/month give or take a few hundred.

            I’ll give you the Sentra and the Versa.

      • 0 avatar

        This is what I’d been thinking. Nissan had pumped up the Altima so much, one could be forgiven for thinking they’d dropped the Maxima altogether. If it can’t out point the Altima in every way, what’s the point? Now contrast the Impala versus the SS. THERE’S a REAL difference.

    • 0 avatar

      For those who always say the Maxima was irrelevant as Altima got bigger engines (starting around circa 2004), I have to ask, “Have you ever driven the two back to back?” The Maxima was a huge leap ahead in terms of refinement all around, even if the engine displacement for both cars was the same. The Altima was the “appliance car,” and the Maxima was the “sport sedan w/ a touch of luxury.” And the difference was pretty clear if you had driven both. I don’t know if Nissan did all that great of a job differentiating the two as such on the lot and in their marketing, though.

      But man, putting the CVT in the Maxima, well, that’s basically neutering it. So no wonder there weren’t going to be any offspring.

  • avatar

    They could always bring the best looking car they have ever made (modernized of course) and that was the boxy Maxima Second generation (PU11; 1984–1988)

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    With scoops like that, ice cream should be coming back like oatmeal muffins from the 80s .

  • avatar

    “The model’s marketing boss, Eric Ledieu, added the Maxima also did well in pulling in consumers close to making the jump toward luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes.”

    Reminds me of the old Pontiac Bonneville ads from the early 90’s. “I could have spent thousands more on a BMW, but why?” – that line always made me laugh, even as a kid.

    Having driven the current Maxima, I can’t see anyone this side of Helen Keller finding it to be a suitable alternative to anything coming out of Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      “The model’s marketing boss, Eric Ledieu, added the Maxima also did well in pulling in consumers close to making the jump toward luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes.”

      And Infiniti. Brilliant, Nissan.

      • 0 avatar

        How is that any different from the Impala, Taurus, Azera,Cadenza and Avalon?

        Kinda dig the new looks of the Maxima – a bit “out there”, but at least it’s kinds interesting looking.

        Would have looked better if the Nissan designers had restrained themselves a bit and gone with cleaner lines at certain areas.

  • avatar

    What this Maxima would need to be a compelling value for enthusiasts is a handling-focused AWD system comparable to Acura’s SH-AWD. If it had that, it would be a roomier and cheaper alternative to the Germans. Unfortunately it would need the system at close to the same price it bears now. And most of its current audience, which is made up of people loyal to the Maxima name, wouldn’t care.

    So, as usual, making the car attractive to enthusiasts would be a financially losing proposition.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m spitballing but I think whats happened is the car platforms are being optimized for the awful CUV and not the other way around in years past. Look at this thing and tell me its not a deformed CUV. Same with the Taurus. If you’re not going to build the car properly why bother building the model at all?

      • 0 avatar

        This is precisely my reaction to this car, right down to the comparison with the Taurus. Both cars look like they developed the platform for the crossover (Explorer and Pathfinder, respectively). The cars have super high belt lines, big slab like doors, and smushed greenhouses. The proportions are all wrong.
        I can’t speak for the Maxfinder, but in the Taurplorer it results in very unimpressive interior and trunk room as well. I doubt the higher CoG helps driving dynamics either.

      • 0 avatar

        Unless the Max has gotten a lot taller and heavier with this new generation, it’s not as bad as the Taurus. It’s got a normal car ride height and a reasonable amount of interior space. But I see where you’re coming from on the looks.

  • avatar

    What does it look like in S trim? I want to know what the 2 year-old unit with 48k miles, a repaired right apron, cigarello burn holes, and stray audio wiring in the trunk that I’ll buy from Santander will look like.

  • avatar

    Considering the interior dimensions are nearly the same (about 100cu ft), they could have just morphed the Q40/G37 into the new Maxima.

    That would give it RWD, more power, no CVT, access to AWD, and likely good reliability.

    The Q40 is only $34k. I wonder how this new Maxima compares at a similar price.

  • avatar

    The Maxima was slated for the guillotine, so Nissan gives a warmed up, overstyled Altima. But then, the Maxima ceased being anything OTHER than a tarted-up Altima years ago; you know, when the Maxima SE with a manual transmission went away.

  • avatar

    Remember times when everyone wanted Maxima? Today you hardly see one on the road. And with Nissan reliability track record, it will take some effort to sell even this good-looking 2016.

    It is true that Altima replaced Maxima well. And it started to sell big once it was turned into Camry. In the end, Maxima in its current state will never sell anything near Accord or even Sonata. To me this is puzzling, why Nissan even wanted to make this Altima/Maxima shift. They could introduce Altima as upscale sedan and Maxima could continue the mainstream. Don’t they learn anything from Honda and Toyota?

    • 0 avatar

      Those were the days when a typical sedan that went from 0-60 would set you back an inflation adjusted $50-60K, and economy cars were economy cars.

      Now, a measly Mazda 3 or Golf is just as luxurious, quick and nearly 50% more fuel efficient in the real world. Doesn’t help that the whole large sedan segment is looking stuffy and redundant.

      The Murano is the new Maxima.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I always figured the Maxima would morph into a oxymoronic 4 door sport coupe placed just above the Altima. Basically what the CC is to the Passat. At least in the CC you can get a manual with the 2.0 turbo and paddle shifters with the 3.6 V6.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t be rushing out June 2nd. Beware early production flaws. Should be okay by the fall. I’m sure this Maxima is a good car. But do you really want a warranty marathon? It’ll be trial & error for the dealer techs to begin with. Nothing more annoying than a cracking/popping suspension because a bushing wasn’t seated properly at the factory.

  • avatar

    The Maxima is as close as we’re going to get to a 2004-2008 Acura TL. I just wish it had a torque converter automatic. They can keep the 6 speed manual.

    I’m glad they kept it. Many people who bought Altimas in the past have graduated to the Maxima and many don’t want to go to Infiniti because it costs quite a bit more to get into a Q70 since the Q50 is a bit smaller than the Max.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Maxima is as close as we’re going to get to a 2004-2008 Acura TL.”

      Wait, what? This massively over-sculpted try-too-hard is comparable to the under-the-radar sneaky-luxurious sleeper scalpel that was the 04-08 TL how, exactly?

  • avatar

    Some interesting narratives here. None of them conform to reality, but that hardly seems to stop anyone.

    For a certain set of priorities, the Maxima is a very desirable car. The styling is avant-garde, and in the current generation, pretty. Moreso than the Chargers and Taurus SHOs of the world, and certainly just about every other four-door ‘family’ sedan except the Mazda6. Maybe you don’t think so, but plenty of people do.

    It’s overpowered. Delightfully so. The 5-60 street start numbers are 6 flat or better, which means it has real-world grunt. More than a GTI, more than a V6 Mustang, and when it was introduced, more than any other FWD sedan. That makes it fun on the highway.

    It’s smooth and isolated. They used aluminum suspension parts and more sound deadening. It’s a better, quieter ride than any of the comparables. The CVT is a boon here; you can run from 5 to 70 at 2000 RPM the whole time. The interior was also a class above those same comparables.

    It’s cheap. I bought one for $25K before taxes and the like, which was less than a lot of loaded 4-cylinder Altimas. No one pays MSRP or anything close to it; while it’s ostensibly lined up against various German makes, the actual transaction prices are $10-15K lower for the Maxima.

    Put succinctly, the car has always been good value. Is it a 4DSC? No more than Jack’s 6MT Accord, and probably less. Would I have bought it if it was? No, probably not.

    This new one has, to my eyes, polarizing styling and a beautiful interior. Still plenty of power, but with an even more responsive CVT and a wider gear spread. It’ll be fun up to 7/10s, which is as far as any sane person is likely to push it anyway. It’ll be a winner for anyone who gets behind the wheel, even if the ‘best and brightest’ can’t see past the sheetmetal.

  • avatar

    “…there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine.”

    And now it IS the guillotine!

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