Nissan is aiming its eighth-generation Maxima, redesigned for 2016, at younger buyers, with racier exterior styling, a floating roof, a beefier beltline, an enlarged front grille and a fastback rear design.
The improved interior features a slightly angled center stack to create a wraparound feel to the driver's seat, as well as options that include premium seat-stitching, leather trim, a heated steering wheel and a dual-panel moonroof.
Nissan will re-emphasize the Maxima's "4-door sports car" marketing tag line of years past.
"This is where we will be different," says Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing. "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 has redesigned the model's standard V-6, kicked up the power to 300 hp and reduced the friction of its Xtronic continuously variable transmission. The base model is 79 pounds lighter. The car sits on a more rigid chassis and boasts a 14 percent improvement in fuel economy.
- Powertrain: 3.5-liter double overhead cam V-6 with Xtronic CVT
- Features to notice: 8-inch display screen with Google online search functions, paired with a 7-inch instrument cluster display, with the ability to "finger-swipe" navigation directions from one screen to the other.
- Safety: Predictive forward-collision warning, intelligent cruise control, forward emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot warning
- Target: Maxima historically has delivered 50,000 to 85,000 U.S. sales a year. If Nissan stays in that range, it will be a coup because the large-car segment has been declining.
- Competitors: Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Genesis, Chevrolet Impala, Acura TLX