By on October 22, 2018

Image: Nissan

At Nissan, all eyes are on the vastly revamped 2019 Altima, currently trickling onto dealer lots with a revolutionary variable compression four-cylinder under some hoods and available all-wheel drive. A very different roll-out is underway north of the border.

All of the hubbub surrounding Nissan’s new midsizer doesn’t leave much oxygen in the room for the model’s slightly larger sibling, the Maxima. Confused in identity for about the past two decades, the Maxima doesn’t enter 2019 unchanged. There’s styling and content tweaks afoot, though you’ll have no trouble spotting the 2019 Maxima after its launch at the L.A. Auto Show next month. 

The above photo depicts the refreshed 2019 model, making this one of the most low-key styling updates in recent memory — though the Toyota Sienna and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport deserve honorable mentions. See the 2018 model below for reference:

Image: Nissan

To Nissan’s credit, the revised lower front fascia does represent an improvement, boosting the model’s visual athleticism with decent-sized side scoops and the appearance of a larger lower air opening. Underscored by a strip of chrome, the rejigged maw is flanked by headlamps with revised LED strips.

Anything going on out back? Maybe, but whatever it is, Nissan isn’t showing. It wouldn’t be a big change, anyways.

Right now, all Nissan is willing to reveal about the latest iteration of its so-called “four-door sports car” is the model’s available Safety Shield 360 suite of safety and driver-assist features. Oh, and it goes on sale in December. Appearing for the 2016 model year, the current-generation Maxima offers drivers a single choice of powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 making 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission.

While Nissan’s branding attempt fell apart after reviewers got their hands on the not-so-scorching vehicle, buyers responded favorably to the eighth-gen model. Last year’s volume was the model’s highest since 2009. Amid the model’s sell-down and Nissan’s move away from sky-high incentives, Maxima sales are down 36.2 percent over the first nine months of 2018.

[Images: Nissan]

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20 Comments on “You Won’t Have Trouble Finding the 2019 Nissan Maxima in L.A....”


  • avatar
    jalop1991

    man, I remember years ago when Cadillac stunned the world with the first 300hp FWD production car.

    And now it’s all “yawn, what’s next?”.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I remember about 20+ years ago, an article on Audi stated that the theoretical horse power limit for FWD was about 200 hp, due to torque steer.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      I remember it being 300 due to a few different reasons. But I think Cadillac ripped the front end out of one of their cars at 320 or something. I can’t remember right now.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    It is Fugly.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is a shame, because I contend the Maxima is a better car for someone who actually likes cars, vs just needs a roomy and refined means of conveyance. The interior, powetrain (yes, CVT included) and infotainment shame luxury cars costing $20-30K more, and while the looks are polarizing, to my eye it’s more interesting than snoozefests like the Lexus ES, Audi anything, Jag XE etc. OK, if you want a canyon carver it falls apart… but it can turn a corner, and more importantly more than get out of its own way.

    Only real gripe with it is the interior is not as big as the interior suggests; my G37 felt a hair roomier despite being shorter and RWD. A decent sized adult will have limited seat adjustability with a rear facing infant seat. But there’s no way in hell I’d get any Altima over one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Wait, a better car than what. An Altima? Well, it should be, it costs more and rides on the same platform. But as a “sports” sedan it falls awfully flat. The “interior, powertrain, and infotainment” are all worse than a Cadenza. Same goes for the ride and even the handling. So I’m not really sure what your point is.

    • 0 avatar
      DRT_Toyo

      Agreed, I actually like the looks of the maxima. As you stated, its a lot more interesting to look at then many other sedans in the price range. I agree on the interior and infotainment. The maxima, as well as the murano, which I consider nissan’s upper tier vehicles are actually very nice. My wife currently drives a ’17 murano and the interior quality is very good, I would say rivaling some lower level luxury vehicles. The infotainment is the best I’ve personally had experience with, much better than a co-workers lexus.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I have a 2003 Maxima and love that car (but for the oil consumption). I quite like the styling of the current car, but the CVT is a deal-breaker for me. Maybe they need to do something radical with the Max like turn it into an AWD sport wagon like a BMW 5-Series.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      It would still have a CVT, and Nissan brass would (probably wisely) say “but, Murano…”.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      lot quieter. Not sure if you have driven a new Maxima with the CVT, but I can tell you that I too was put off mentally when they changed it. But after driving several, I can tell you it isn’t a bad thing. It is actually a decent performing transmission.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I just don’t understand why they keep this thing around. As a former Maxima owner, I was very happy with what I had (5th gen), but back then there was a difference between a Maxima and an Altima.
    Now, they are almost identical in every way! Same engine, same transmission, same wheelbase, track width, etc. The only thing that the Maxima has over the Altima is cooled seats, rain-sensing wipers, 200lbs and 30HP (which seems artificial). The Altima is the same in every other category and even has advantages such as a little extra trunk space, a little more headroom and a little better mileage.
    I just can’t imagine driving both and coming away with the desire to spend anywhere from $3000-$5000 more for the Maxima! I’m genuinely surprised that they sell any at all with the Altima in the stable.

    Either knock the Altima back to a smaller 4-cyl or hybrid midsize sedan or give the Maxima the 3.7 and dump that CVT–beyond that, put it out of its misery!.

    https://www.cars.com/research/compare/?acodes=USC80NIC051E0,USC80NIC041E0

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Read the article again, Altima is 4 cylinder only for the new generation,

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      Exactly, the Versa is now the size of the older Sentra, the Sentra is the size of the older Altima and the Altima is the size of the Maxima. If you want a bigger car, buy the bigger car. Don’t complain that the car is too small and have the manufacturer make them bigger.

      I’ll never understand manufacturers these days. Honda did it too.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Amid the model’s sell-down and Nissan’s move away from sky-high incentives, Maxima sales are down 36.2 percent over the first nine months of 2018.

    Yeah the biggest reason to buy a Maxima was the incentives (which also contributed to serious depreciation). A friend of mine picked up a used one at CarMax and he’s the kind of guy who will buy a new truck but if you catch him in a car it will be lightly used and stupid cheap.

    Even with the Altima ditching the V6 the best argument for a Maxima would be if it were still available with a manual trans.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Maxima sales were down *70%* in September. Seventy percent. So, how’s backing away from the rental and incentive buffet workin’ for ya, Nissan?

      Its almost as if people just don’t want sedans, and lackluster sedans take the worst beating, especially when incentives and rental sales aren’t propping up their numbers.

      I agree, Dan, offering a manual would be a great way to actually appeal to the people they’re marketing to. I have a feeling Nissan has a hard time calibrating their cars to pass emissions with a manual. Seems like that was the case a while back, can’t remember exactly.

      I realize the manual take rate would be low, but it would become the only FWD Nissan product I’d remotely consider if it offered one. I bet that would be true for others as well. I actually don’t hate the current styling. It seems to work better on the Max than other Nissans.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        TTACs one review of an Altima coupe with V6 and six speed manual (remember when that existed brand new?) the thing launched so hard in 1st gear that they couldn’t keep the tires from hopping up and down.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I swear, every Altima coupe I see (rare as they are) is a 2.5S.

          Either that, or I mistake it for a Pontiac G6.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            I’m seen the 3.5 in the wild, but they’re rare enough that each time I remarked to myself, “Wow, it’s not a 2.5.” I’ve probably only ever seen three or four of them.

            Bear in mind the coupe died out when the 4th gen ended production half a decade ago.

          • 0 avatar
            9Exponent

            Every Altima coupe I see has been de-badged, murdered-out, and looks to have been to hell and back. It’s hard to guess what’s going on under the hood, but I bet each owner truly wanted a G35.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “You Won’t Have Trouble Finding the 2019 Nissan Maxima in L.A.”

    Unless there is a 2018 parked next to it, then you may be lost for a moment.

    Honestly, I kinda like the current one a smidge more.

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