2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum
At the 2008 New York Auto Show, Al Castignetti, then-vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, introduced the 2009 Maxima. During his presentation he said, in part, “Nissan's flagship sedan is about thrilling design... class-leading performance... and a crafted, driver-focused interior. Maxima has an unmatched heritage in its class, beginning with its transformation in the late '80s from a typical mid-sized sedan into an exciting, affordable sports sedan – ‘The 4-Door Sports Car.’ That was the seventh generation Maxima, with the first having had its run from 1981 to 1984, with the first featuring a 2.4-liter, 145-hp engine that was sourced from the 240Z, so one could make the argument that from the proverbial get-go the Maxima had “sports car” as part of its fundamental DNA.
The current car is the 8th generation Maxima; it launched in 2015 as a 2016 MY vehicle. And what Castignetti said then holds now, as this is still a sedan that has more than a soupcon of sportiness to it.
The 8th generation Nissan Maxima. (Images: Nissan)
For MY 2019 the Maxima underwent a refresh, which provides a new front grille, which is large and flows back into the hood, which has power bulges on its surface; under the hood resides an all-aluminum, 300-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine (what’s interesting to note is that the engine, which is part of the VQ series, is related to one that is used in the 350Z). There is a continuously variable transmission, a Nissan Xtronic, the type of trans that Nissan has been offering in its vehicles for a number of years and, thanks to continuous improvement, has improved with such functions as the ability to perform rapid shifts when the accelerator is heavily depressed and to hold a gear (yes, there are no conventional gears in a CVT, but the idea stands) when the vehicles sensors determine that there is high-G cornering occurring. Remember: 4-Door Sports Car. There is a Sport mode that can be manually engaged that adjusts throttle response, the transmission tuning and the feel of the hydro-electric power-assisted steering system.
300 hp, 261 lb-ft of torque
Around back there is a new rear fascia which encompasses new LED taillights and quad exhaust tips.
Structurally, the platform is made with high-strength steel, including 1.2-GPa material, which contributes to torsional rigidity without the penalty of excessive mass. (Speaking of which, there is an aluminum hood.) The Platinum trim driven here has a curb weight of 2,232; the base S trim comes in at just 2,168: realize that this is a car that’s 192.8 inches long, 73.2 inches wide and 56.5 inches high. (The Platinum weighs more because it comes with the most stuff, including a dual panel panoramic moonroof, leather, rear window power sunshade, etc.)
The ’19 Maxima is available with a suite of safety systems, which are standard on the Platinum, including blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and more.
A different leather color for a different take on a four-door
On the inside the vehicle as driven has, as a result of the “Reserve Package” option ($1,140) Rakuda Tan semi-aniline leather seats, a leather with a caramel color that is truly distinctive and the sort of thing that you could image seeing in a saddlery, were leather is typically found in colorful abundance. It is really quite remarkable.
And there are things like the now-obligatory 8-inch color touch display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and four USB ports (two connection ports in the front and two charge ports in the rear—you really need to look at such things because it is surprising how some OEMs are rather stingy when it comes to USB ports).
All in, the vehicle, which has a base MSRP of $41,440 and went to $45,225 with options and $895 delivery, is a lot of car for that money.
You get the sense that despite the indifference that the market has toward large sedans—even 4-Door Sports Cars—the people at Nissan are committed to making an exceptional vehicle.