By on June 8, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Who is the intended audience for the 2016 Nissan Maxima? If you ask the automaker, they’re aiming for younger consumers.

According to Nissan North America product planning boss Pierre Loing, the new Maxima, with its muscular “4-door sports car” looks, is where the automaker aims to be different from the other players in the large sedan market, Automotive News reports:

The large segment has been an aging demographic, and sales are falling for the segment as a whole. We see the look and performance of the Maxima as a way to appeal to younger customers.

Nissan expects to move between 50,000 and 85,000 units of the eighth-gen Maxima in the United States per year, a feat given the overall decline in the aforementioned large segment filled with the likes of the Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Genesis.

If you want to know our thoughts on the Maxima, managing editor Mark Stevenson’s review lays it all out on whether or not Nissan will meet its intended goals with the sedan.

[Photo credit: Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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100 Comments on “Loing: 2016 Nissan Maxima Aimed At Younger Consumers...”


  • avatar
    baconator

    Whether they succeed or not will depend at least as much on the underwriting criteria of their captive finance arm as on the merits of the product.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    Overstyled 2-ton FWD family sedan? For only 35k? OMG where do I sign?!?

    • 0 avatar

      Right? I already have a Bonneville SSEi in my driveway…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This car really is the spiritual successor to the 2000 SSEi.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Don’t you speak ill of the Bonnie.

        • 0 avatar

          Never in a million years. It was the last car my dad bought new – he still has it – and his first ever Pontiac (he’s 71). Loved it when it was new and I love it to this day. I just find it hillarious how Pontiac was so derided for its gaudy, overwrought styling and things like this bloatmobile get a free pas nowadays.

          P.S. That’s not how you do a cantalievered roof, Nissan…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            90s and 00s Pontiacs look positively restrained compared this.

            Also, the Bonneville had nice enough gauges that it looks like GM decided to use them in the ATS.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Hypocrisy in action. The Aztek was rightly derided for being ugly, and yet, well behold the automotive abominations around you on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        The SSEi was a great car, so was the Buick Park Avenue Ultra. I prefer them to what GM puts out today to be honest.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          GM seems to have lost the plot with their car models a while back. If they ever mess up their truck division its Bailout II.

        • 0 avatar
          Speed3

          I actually think the Impala and LaCrosse are decent sedans. If you think about it, they are probably some of GM’s most competitive sedans.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Lacrosse styling is bulbous and somewhat polarizing while Impala looks better, but both purposely limit visibility (both also appear fat around the sides to my eyes). Both are very expensive revisions of the original three Epsilon I cars, Malibu, G6, and Aura with the 08-12 LWB Malibu being the overall most competitive of those three vs Camcord, IMO.

            We discussed I thought it was last week timing chain issues on the GM 3.6 DOHC which was the standard motor on Lacrosse and the LTZ motor on Impala. I made a comment to the effect of GM used to give you a great drivetrain in a crappy car and if they can’t figure out a motor in 2015, then whats the point of buying their mainstream product. I still feel this way, I bought GM because I liked the long in the tooth pushrod motors because they worked reliably and they were cars I felt comfortable owning for a long time despite the WTF incidents resulting from the beancounters (and there have been a few). But if I can’t trust the motor to not fail in some kind of serious way long before 200K, I’m disinterested in the product. While it is not offered in Lacrosse/Impala to my knowledge the Ecotec 2.0T is blowing up in ATS usage as well which is well documented in TSBs and by owners of various fan forums (I think pistons are failing). Knock the old GM as much as you like because I do, but these were not problems with SBC, LS, 3800, 60V6, 4.3 OHV, Opel 2.2 OHV, the early ecotechs etc. Heck other than Northstar and 4100 the only other common motor from GM which raised ire that I can remember was the Quad-4. Now we have pistons failing under 10K and timing chains failing in some cases under 100K?

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/danger-girl-bids-farewell-old-new-camaro/#comment-5744761

            Sorry for the rant, I do agree with you those are some of GM’s most competitive sedans at this point but the competition is probably better. Impala’s competitors are probably Taurus, maybe Charger, Maxima and Camcords. I’ll take the Charger (if allowed) followed by Camcord. Lacrosse’s are probably MKS, TLX, ES350, S80. If we’re talking new for new money, I’d take the TLX V6, slightly used for a deal its S80 FWD.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            It’s not “bulbous” styling, it’s styling to make the buyers seem relatively svelte ;)

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I think you’re on to something, JimC2.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Prefer Park Ave Ultra 100/100 times to the SSEi. I hate the interior of that Bonnie, as it’s a hot mess. The Park Ave interior is restrained and nice. And it never got cladded.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      I would take a granny Camry SE over this Maxima. The maxima looks to over styled and still has that nissan cvt. Way to much power for the CVT like in the Pathfinder.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      If the only selling point of the Maxima over the Altima is its styling, then Nissan should have reimagined it as a 4 door coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Still not as over-“styled” as the Lexus ES.

      If Nissan designers had just restrained themselves a bit with certain design elements at the front-end, would’ve looked better, but still, interesting (if overly busy) in a certain way.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’m too young to be “younger” according to this guy’s definition at 32, but if I wanted something with some interior space that drove as poorly as the last Maxima, I’d probably just bite the bullet and get a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Which definition?

      He’s talking about younger relative to the full-size sedan segment.

      That ain’t exactly a segment attracting late-20s buyers these days.

      (TTAC oddly didn’t seem to link to the source: http://www.autonews.com/article/20150608/OEM03/306089980/nissan-wants-maxima-to-skew-younger

      It doesn’t show him mentioning any age – just younger than the current segment.

      Given that I rarely see anyone younger than 45 or 50 in a *new* Avalon, I htink you *are* “younger”.)

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Look at the f&*king face of that disaster. Who decided that this should be?

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Semi-employed baby mommas around here luuv Altimas, but can they handle the bump in payments for this? I’m guessing its “styling” will lure quite a few.

  • avatar

    Aimed at younger markets with no taste in cars and high debt-to-income-ratios due to student loans.

    Getting married at 20? NOPE…30’s the new “20” for you loser.

    Where you gonna even park this thing when you and your beau are living in an apartment you can’t afford?

    Or in mom’s basement desperatly trying to save up for a “proper” wedding – or a “house” – which you can’t afford until some subprime bank offers 40-year-fixed Loans.

    And why does the back of this P.O.S. look like an I8 from the side?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I don’t always agree with you, but I can’t see someone my age purchasing this visual abomination over a Charger. Most of us that drive have the ability to see. Maybe Nissan is trying to tap into the “young and visually challenged” demographic.

      • 0 avatar

        The Charger has been derided by most Charge owners as ugly and looking too much like a Dart. I personally would never buy a Charger – so long as I can get a 300…and I like the Charger’s design so long as it has the SRT/Hellcat’s vented hood.

        As for this ugly piece of junk…

        I’m just waiting for the inevitable destruction of those CVT’s to bring down public perception of Japanese cars.

        You already know it’s coming.

        I’d put my W5A580 against a CVT anyday for reliability’s sake.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          You might be waiting awhile. The CVTs had problems in the first year or two (which was in the early 2000s) but are doing more or less OK, at least as well as traditional automatics, since then.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I’m not sure where you’re getting your data, but that’s not true. The Jatco units that Nissan and others use have fairly high failure rates. Nissan extended the warranty on them to mitigate customer fears.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Meh, Hertz will buy plenty of them. I’m going to need blindfolds for when I inevitably get upgraded to them next year. Fell out of the hideous tree and hit every branch all the way to the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Ahem.

      Since *nobody evidently bothers to read*:

      The man from Nissan said younger, *in the relative sense*.

      Younger than the current buyers of cars *in this segment*.

      Not 20 year olds with no cash.

      (* I’m not saying you have to be 50-60 to think that a Full Size Sedan is a good idea, but it sure seems to be more common than not.)

  • avatar
    sparc

    Whenever i see the front of this vehicle i’m reminded of this monstrosity that looks like it got stung by a bee https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/plastic-surgery-disaster-youabian-puma/

    i’m amazed that young people want that weird bloated look

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “i’m amazed that young people want that weird bloated look”

      Stylists want this look; there seems to be a bit of groupthink that ensures everything on the road is:
      * Tippy-toed
      * Tiny-greenhouse’ed
      * Has a child-eating maw for a grille
      * Has a huge badge
      * Has squinty head- and tail-lamps

      And before people cry “Regulation!”, you can tell this is stylist thing, because the vehicles that senior designers have zero interest in doing (econoboxes, minivans) don’t look like this.

      Are the Mirage or Micra squinty? The Caravan? Nope, and the squints and maws on the likes of the Fit or Yaris look tacked-on.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Expecting that any full size sedans will be a hot item with young buyers is bordering on delusional. Even more so when referring to a mid $30Ks FWD sedan with a CVT.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The intricacies never fully translate from the concept due to manufacturing and material limitations but this example suffers terribly.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “If you ask the automaker, they’re aiming for younger consumers.”

    Younger consumers aren’t the ones driving the pillbox-on-dubs look. That’s an old-person thing.

  • avatar
    TW5

    So mid-40’s then? That’s pretty young in the new car segment.

  • avatar
    udman

    Prediction… This will be the last of the new Maxima Sedans to be produced once the sales stall… Nissan really doesn’t need it, and the buying public will just move to the Infiniti Showroom (which is usually right next door to the Nissan Store anyway) and get a Q50 (or whatever its called this week) as a Maxima Replacement.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t know any ‘young’ people who would – or could – buy this car.

    Besides, this car’s worst enemy is the better-looking V6 Altima sitting next to it in the showroom, which can be had nicely equipped for $33k MSRP, before incentives.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Eh, if this is like the previous gen, it’s less similar to the Altima than specs would indicate. The current Altima may be the least refined car of the 2000s I’ve ever driven. Refinement of the Maxima is much better in a bunch of respects. It’s quieter, has a much more buttoned down suspension, and has interior materials that are several grades better. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it doesn’t feel like a penalty box and the Altima does.

      (That said, I still happily take rental four-cylinder Altimas because I can make them return 40 mpg with the right style of driving.)

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Yikes, if the Maxima is more buttoned down than a V6 Altima I sure don’t want to have to drive the Altima.

        Agree about the stunning mileage in the 4cyl Altimas though. Doesn’t really make up for what an utter rat fur-lined penalty box they are.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Yes, because younger buyers want a bloated midsizer being sold for fullsize money that is called sporty and comes with non-sporty running gear.

    /facepalm

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Nissan expects to move between 50,000 and 85,000 units of the eighth-gen Maxima in the United States per year”

    That’s a bit optimistic. I keep hearing everyday how these “big” cars suck and how the “big” car that looks like a “tough” truck is far superior.

  • avatar
    chris724

    So I guess I’ll need to get used to seeing this in my rear view mirror, tailgating me from one red light to the next.

  • avatar
    savant idiot

    The 4DSC is no more…
    If Nissan would lighten it by jettisoning all of the crap, thinning the “content” and re-positioning it back to its roots as a 3 Series alternative, enthusiasts and fanboys would swoon, sales would drop significantly and it would be deemed a failure.
    Sigh…

  • avatar
    Reino

    I’m 34 and still have not felt the need for a full-sizer.

    There is a reason full-sizers are only sold to the 70+ crowd. They need to drive around their peers who can’t drive anymore.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    Looks like a Kia Optima on acid. Yeesh.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    They market cars for “younger” people, when they’re actually aimed at older people. Is any car declared to be targeted to “old” people? The assumption is that “old” people will want to identify with stuff that’s supposed to be for “young” people.

    It’s all part of the very silly theater that constitutes marketing of cars. Like “sports” this and “sports” that and “sports” everything. Linking industrial transportation products with youth and vitality, no matter how little the products have to do with either.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I was in my late 20s (and still am!) when I bought a brand new “full-size” car. It is highly likely that I will continue purchasing full-size sedans throughout my life.

    That said, I “considered the Maxima” during my shopping period only in that I remembered that the Maxima existed and decided that I didn’t want one. I haven’t read anything about this new version that interests me for the future either.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I think I will pass on Nissan for awhile, just today my buddy had to take his pretty new Infiniti Q50 to the dealer because his AC stopped working completely. I would go with Honda or Hyundai before I got this car.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Yup, all new cars are always aimed at the younger buyer in the minds of marketing. But, they would actually sell more cars if they brought out the Acorn Chair Lift Edition for your great uncle Fred.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Looks like I’m one of the few that like the 8th gen Maxima. I like the last gen too. My wife had a 2010 Murano with the Cvt and I actually enjoyed driving it. I’m 43 so I’m probably outside the Target now but I would get the SR version. Now add AWD and a 6 speed manual and it would be golden!

  • avatar

    Altima it is a new Malibu Classic and Maxima the new Impala SS. Quiz: What is the difference between GM and Nissan?
    Select one:
    1. GM knows how to build trucks.
    2. GM has FWD luxury brand (is Maxima Nissan’s Buick?).
    3. Nissan was bailed out by French government and GM by US government.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    Acorn Chair Lift Edition – CUV, now known as Murano, ie the Hatch

    Family Edition – SUV, now known as Pathfinder, ie the Wagon

    Dad’s Edition – Sedan, now known as Maxima, ie the Sedan

    Work Edition – Ute, D23 slightly related, not in NA

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Sort of not really news.

    Every manufacturer, *every manufacturer* says they want they young urban professional market even though their own research shows that 55-65 yr old wealthy semi retireds are more likely to have the money to buy their cars… because even these older folks want to aspire to being 30 yr old urban urbane…

    as i see it, $35k cars and CUVs etc. are sort of near lux now, people dont want to admit it but the purchase of a $35k car like the above isnt an easy thing for many folks and even those things re aspirational

  • avatar
    Karl M

    The Toyota Corolla, after having undergone a freakish mutation.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I would buy this if:

    #1. MSRP was on par with a Yaris.
    #2. 10 yr 100k mile warranty on the VQ35 & CVT.
    #3. Lost the faculty of sight.

    In this segment, based on aesthetics alone, I’d honestly own a POS VW CC or a POS Chinese Volvo S80 over the Maxima.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      That about sums it up perfectly for me. A truly hideous looking car, with an engine that is the worst, nastiest thrashiest V6 around and an awful CVT. What’s not to like? How anyone can choose this over an Accord, Camry or Fusion is beyond me.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Younger than who? Buick LaCrosse owners? Toyota Avalon owners? The car is $40k. Young people can’t afford that. The only people that will buy these is guys whose wives demand a large sedan, but find a 300 too thirst. Or hate the seats in an Impala.

    Or most likely, those who get absurd lease deals on these in a few months. They will move lots of them at $329 a month

  • avatar
    fozone

    Just terrible. TERRIBLE.

    I wonder if Nissan still has the tooling for the 4DSC / 1993-era Maxima lying around?

    Call it ‘retro’, tatt up your sales staff and watch the millenials come running. Or not.

    But this thing… straight to Hertz you go….

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I was wondering what the new, upcoming Kia Optima will look like.

    Thanks, Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The current Optima is far too fussy to my eyes. The different trim pieces (lots of pieces rather than larger ones, to save money) make it messy visually. The overall -shape- of the car is just fine.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Chasing younger buyers has worked well for Toyota sales with the new Avalon. Problem is, most of us used to the smooth ride of the prior Avalon do not like the thrashing ride of the new Avalon. Hopefully Datsun/Nissan doesn’t put a trashy suspension on the Maxima.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Needs about 3″ cut from the shoulder height, a hatchback, a 7 speed DCT and an even 4L of displacement outputting a gutsy 350 or so HP through a torque vectored AWD system for me to even consider it. And even with all that I would still probably take a gamble on a used 335i for the same money.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Don’t they make the Juke for “young hip urban trendsetters with no taste”?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Who buys Jukes, old ladies?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        From what I can tell its mostly 20-30 year old women, always in gray (to stand out I guess), sometimes white (again a very unique color), here and there you’ll get the dark colored ones with weird highlights.

        I take that back though, the Maxima goes for 370Z money which begs the question, why buy a cramped “pseudo-sporty FWD sedan” when I can buy an actual RWD sports car for less?

        If I need 4-doors I’ll get the Altima, same basic car with slightly less ugly but still VERY tacky styling.

  • avatar
    rdodger

    The first thing I saw when the this came up was the Buick LaCrosse. Younger demographic? No thank you.

  • avatar
    ThirdPedal

    I’m probably their target demographic. Late 30s, wife & kids and whatnot. I like the looks, interior and exterior. Power sounds ok, probably drives fine. I’m not dumb enough to belive that this has anything to do with sportscars. Between this thing and the altima racecar commercial, it’s clear that Nissan is banking on people just not knowing any better. Sounds like a solid long term strategy to me. Godspeed Nissan. I’ll remember the good times we had.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Lots of car companies are doing this, Ford did this with one of their “handles like a racecar!” ads, and theres always Mazdas ads in Car and Driver (the Mazda 3 is a GREAT Lemans car!)

      Its an old dumb trick, but on the right cars it works.

  • avatar
    Zoom

    This is the same size as an Altima. Why are they calling it large?

    Model Year 2015 2016
    Model Altima Maxima
    Body 4dr Sedan 4dr Sedan
    Wheelbase 109.3 in 109.3 in
    Length 191.5 in 192.8 in
    Width 72.0 in 73.2 in
    Height 57.9 in 56.5 in

  • avatar
    John

    I have never understood the obsession of automakers have with “luring younger buyers”, especially traditionally “old fogey” automakers like Buick and Cadillac. Old people have MONEY! Young people, not so much.
    I think a SMART automaker would to well to lure older buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I think they’re figuring that if they lure young buyers in, they will develop brand loyalty and they’ll stay for life. The problem for a brand like Nissan is that as younger people move up (For those who do) and make more money, they’ll want more. Will the make the connect to Infiniti, though?

      The problem with Buick and Cadillac using this strategy is that those brands have an “old luxury” perception attached to them. Younger people don’t look at a Cadillac the way their parents do. The younger people prefer import luxury cars, like Lexus and Audi.

      Nissan will get those younger buyers in by doing this, but will they keep them? Buick and Cadillac have a much larger problem- a product that isn’t overly desirable.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The problem is psychological. Older people don’t want to acknowledge or feel old, or have someone tell them “Hey, you’re old! Buy this, it’s for you!” in our youth-obsessed culture. The cars marketed to young hip people as trendy lifestyle vehicles, like the xB, Juke, New Beetle, other Scions, Element, Soul – are bought by old people. They want to feel young, and drive around and be seen in what those hip youngsters drive these days.

      The hip youngsters don’t want people marketing to them -at all-, but when car companies show them something way cool, it’s seen as too obvious, and too common. So they buy something aspirational they can’t afford, like a 3-Series. Would the Soul or the Forte Koup be more suitable for them and their budget? Sure. But that’s not cool. Tell me I want something, and I don’t want it.

      Cars which are marketed to old people as large and comfortable, are bought by nobody. GM has tried this before, marketing length and comfort, and relaxed cruising. It’s all over the long promotional video for the Fleetwood Brougham. Or those promo vids from the 90s featuring golfers, talking about the sophistication of the Euro Sport trim, etc.

      Exhibit A, referenced above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWnbObhBVTM

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