Underneath the hood rests a 3.5L V6, a revised version of the engine that powered last year's Maxima. Here, it makes an even 300 hp, 10 more than in 2015. That power is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT.) Rather than having set gears, CVT transmissions are able to choose any ratio, essentially adapting on the go to whatever the driver is demanding, be it smooth fuel efficient cruising on the highway or hard acceleration up an onramp. This combination leaves the Maxima capable of out-accelerating several modern sports cars, such as the Subaru BRZ or the Mazda Miata. Not bad for a car with not just usable, but spacious back seats.
While the outside of the Maxima is unmistakably brand new, the interior has received equal attention. The new interior design is clean and functional, but not without its little flourishes. Keeping with the sport sedan theme, the cockpit is now more focused on the driver and features hand stitching on several of the trim pieces.
The Maxima is offered in five different trim levels, S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum. Standard equipment on the base S model is still somewhat comprehensive. The S includes an 8-inch color screen housing the standard navigation system, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat and 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a rearview camera, a 7-inch advanced driver assist display, HD radio with a subscription to SiriusXM, 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lamps, LED taillights and dual exhaust tips.
The SV trim improves upon the interior of the S by adding leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors and additional movement settings for the power front seats.
The SL trim adds several safety features, a massive moonroof and a Bose premium sound system. Included safety features on the SL include a predictive front collision warning system and a blind spot monitoring system. The front sensors on the car also enable intelligent cruise control, which will automatically speed up and slow down the Maxima in order to maintain a set distance to the car ahead of it on the highway.
The SR trim is for buyers who are a bit more serious about using the Maxima as a four-door sports car. Nissan's integrated dynamic-control module allows for active changes to the suspension and engine, allowing drivers to tune their car for better handling or more engine braking at the push of a button. The SR also gets 19-inch wheels and Alcantara, diamond stitched seats and though it comes with most of the features on the SL trim, it does not include the moonroof.
Platinum models of course, offer the most of everything. In addition to getting the trick interior seating from the SR trim, the Platinum trim also includes the huge dual-pane moonroof from the SL trim. Other goodies on the Platinum trim include an around view monitoring system, fully climate controlled front seats, a motorized tilting and telescoping steering wheel, rain sensing wipers and wood accents for the interior.