“Imagine you could shop at Neiman Marcus on a Target budget. That’s exactly the feeling you’ll get from driving the 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum.”
Why should the wealthy get to have all the fun? The 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum is loaded with all the joys of a $60,000 European luxury-sedan wrapped into a $40,000 low-maintenance package. If you recall, I am used to driving a bare bones, base Scion FR-S, so I tend to love simple and straight forward cars with little gadgetry and focused on driving dynamics. So how did I survive going from bare bones Target, to fully loaded Neiman Marcus? Let’s just say I had a tight grip on the keys when I had to give up my newly acquired luxury lifestyle.
The Driving Experience
Now, this should go without saying, but above all else I was anxious to find out if Nissan’s new flagship sedan lived up to the Maxima’s sporty legacy, or if had lost its edge in the quest for luxury. Well, it didn’t —this thing will go.
All it took was one hit of the accelerator and I quickly forgot I was in a nearly full-size sedan, and instead I felt like I was in high-performance car. The Maxima has zero hesitation when you hit the gas, and for a sedan weighing 3,593-pounds you’d never know it. The CVT transmission revs freely and produces an exciting exhaust note upon command, and the brakes are strong and offer a firm and reassuring feel. Speaking of that, I decided to take my parents for a quick spin around along some country roads, and although my Mom wasn’t a big fan of mine when I showed her the Maxima’s quick reflexes, my Dad on the other hand is a previous Honda S2000 owner and was very impressed at how the Maxima pulled off the line. This is truly a 4-door sports car.
What Do You Get For The Money?
Everyone I showed the Maxima to was floored by the price tag —in a good way. I went ahead and showed several friends and family all of the high-end and high-tech features like the Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection (360 degree camera with cross traffic alert), heated and ventilated seats, 8-inch multi-touchscreen, the 7-inch Drive Assist Display (gauge cluster), the intelligent cruise control, Bose Premium Sound, and last but not least —the gorgeous Ascot-leather seats with diamond-quilted cross-stitching. Nearly everyone guessed the price to be around 48-grand and wouldn’t believe me when I dropped the $40,900 sticker price!
In order to really grasp how good of a deal the Maxima is, put into perspective that most luxury sedans with similar features would run you closer to the 50-grand mark, and once you throw in a higher cost of ownership due to the premium brand name, the Maxima is truly an amazing bang for your buck!
There are zero compromises in the interior of this car, which makes it truly a great place to be in. And although the car enthusiast in me would have loved to see paddle shifters in the Platinum model, most luxury buyers wouldn’t care to have the ability to row their own gears. But enthusiasts —have no fear, because the less expensive Maxima SR model does come with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters!
Getting into the Maxima was a little overwhelming for me at first, as I’m used to my very basic FR-S and the Maxima has every button and knob imaginable, though they are neatly arranged to take any guess work away from the driver, and even the center console is rotated 7-degrees left to focus on the driver —a feature derived from the Nissan GT-R supercar.
The combination of sensors and the Around View 360-degree camera was a lifesaver for me, as it took away any intimidation out of parking this 16-foot long sedan by allowing me to see a bird’s eye view of the Maxima, all while maneuvering into my spot safely and without scratching my wheels. It’s so easy that my 8-year old Nephew could do it, seriously.
The feature that impressed me the most was the intelligent cruise control, and you may know that being a driving enthusiast tends to go hand in hand with being a control freak. I always want to have complete control over my car whenever I’m driving, so I was a little weary about testing this, but once I did I was impressed.
The coolest thing about Nissan’s intelligent cruise control is that it uses cutting-edge technology to allow you to pick your desired speed and following distance, and even at the shortest setting it leaves a safe distance between you and the car in front. Though I must share that while my husband and I were driving on the highway a Jeep cut into our lane rather abruptly, but the Maxima gracefully released the throttle to match the Jeep’s speed and quickly accelerated to my set speed once we started moving along. There was no jerkiness, no weird reactions, and had the Jeep come to a full stop in front of us, the Maxima’s Predictive Forward Collision Warning system would’ve set off a loud warning beep (to get driver’s attention), while the Forward Emergency Braking would’ve applied the brakes at full force in order to avoid a collision. All without any driver input and in a split-second, literally.
Thankfully none of that was necessary, and everything felt completely natural. Finally the control-freak in me got comfortable enough to remove my hovering-foot from the pedals and relax!
Sedan Benefits With Sports Car Spirit
It is a very rare thing in the world of cars to be able to have fun and lots of room in one good package. The Maxima has it.
With 34.2-inches of rear legroom and 35.8-inches of rear headroom, everyone ranging from little ones to my 6’2 husband can be perfectly happy and content sitting in the comfy and obnoxiously good-looking, diamond-quilted leather rear seat.
Going shopping or golfing? No problem! With 14.3-cubic feet of trunk space, you shall shop to your heart’s desire or take you and your friends out for a nice relaxing day of golf, but shopping sounds better, right? How many sports cars can do that?
Now down to the nitty gritty…
- Averaged 27 miles per gallon over a 250-mile distance!
- This car spoils you in every way possible, it’s in to please.
- Power for days! 300 ponies in total.
- Attention grabbing good looks, this isn’t your Grandma’s Crown Victoria.
- Lack of paddle shifters in the Platinum trim.
- Having to give the keys back after falling madly in love.
If you’re having dreams of a Neiman Marcus lifestyle but you’re stuck on a Target budget —don’t be sad, because with a package like this you can ride in style without taking out a second mortgage on the house!
- Starts at: $32,410
- Price as tested: $40,900 (including destination)
Kari. “When not tinkering on my car, I’m endlessly rambling about auto-news to my very patient husband who tolerates it for hours on end. I’ve owned everything from a Tacoma to a Benz, and I now have a 2014 Scion FR-S to play with, which you may spot at The Circuit of Americas parking lot while I’m yelling at the top of my lungs.”