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First Ride - 2016 Nissan Maxima


Drew Dowdell

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Nissan debuted their 2016 Nissan Maxima at the New York Auto Show on April 2nd, and I was among the first to get to tag along for a drive in a pre-production model later that evening. I will get to the ride along later, but first some background.

Going on sale in the summer, the new Maxima ups the ante over the outgoing model with very bold styling. No longer the conservative, big brother to the Nissan Altima, the new Maxima sports the new "V-Motion" style grille that first debuted on the 2015 Nissan Murano.

The Maxima, once nearly a legend in its segment, has been in the doldrums lately. One of the problems with the current Maxima is that it is really no larger than the Altima yet costs substantially more money. Customers comparing a base V6 Maxima and a base V6 Altima could see up to a $4,800 difference in sticker price, and a loaded V6 Altima SL with all the options checked has a sticker price virtually identical to that of the base Maxima. With a value equation like that, it is not hard to see why Maxima sales were still one of the dark spots in the Nissan lineup, despite Nissan having a record breaking year in 2014 with an 11% sales increase.

Related: Review - 2013 Nissan Maxima SV

With the 2016 Maxima, Nissan hopes to change the value proposition. As is the trend across the industry lately, the Maxima is larger while dropping weight. Horsepower has increased to an even 300, up 10hp over the outgoing model and torque remains at 261 lb-ft. The only transmission will be a new version of Nissan's front-wheel drive CVT which features a wider range of ratios to allow for quicker starts and lower RPM cruising speeds. During aggressive driving, the CVT can “down-shift” more rapidly than before and will hold engine RPM when it detects high-G cornering to improve acceleration out of a turn.

2016 Nissan Maxima Live 16

Click to Enlarge

Up Next – The Ride Along


On the final evening of the 2015 New York Auto Show, I was invited on a ride-along in a pre-production 2016 Nissan Maxima SR. This, the third highest trim the Maxima will be offered in, is also the sportiest. The SR trim will come with a sport-tuned suspension, 19” wheels, paddle shifters for CVT control, a more aggressive CVT sport mode, front chassis performance damper, and a larger front stabilizer bar.

Arguably the most important change to the Maxima is with the interior. I described the inside of the 2012 Nissan Maxima during my review as “Modern minimalist”. In 2012, I was being polite. By 2015, the interior is decidedly dated. For 2016, the conservative interior is replaced with a bold and luxurious feeling design.

Related: Road Masters - 2012 Nissan Maxima Review

While this was a pre-production car, materials and fit appeared to be excellent. There is a deep, useful center console with contrast stitched rails on either side, an attractive departure from industry norm. The controls here feel more up-market than the brand suggests. Nissan has moved away from the push button seat temperature controls to the dial type found on the Nissan pathfinder. As this was an SR, the seats come with a faux-suede seat trim stitched in a triangle pattern. The front seats are Nissan's Zero-Gravity type up front, though they didn't feel quite as comfortable as those I have sampled in the Nissan Altima.

The flat-bottom steering wheel rim is thicker than what is typical with sumptuous feeling materials including perforated leather. The steering wheel even features a homage to the V-Motion front grille.

2016 Nissan Maxima Live 19

Click to Enlarge

During our ride through Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, one of the first things that stood out to me was how much quieter the Maxima was over its predecessor; likely a product of the new chassis and active noise control which not only quiets ambient noise, but also pumps select engine sounds into the passenger cabin. Most of the ride was spent in the SR's sport-mode. In city traffic, this made the Maxima feel stiff and throttle response feel jumpy even to those of us not behind the wheel. I will need more time in the car, and behind the wheel, to get an accurate perception of the Maxima's performance characteristics.

Standard on all Maximas is Nissan's next generation NissanConnect with Navigation. It features an 8.0 inch color display with multi-touch. With the multi-touch feature, users will have familiar smart-phone like controls such a pinch-to-zoom and swiping for easier use. While I did not get to get deep into the system, I found it to be crisply responsive to commands and generally easy to find my way around. Unlike some of the Maxima's competitors, Nissan wisely decided to stick with real buttons instead of capacitive touch controls. The Platinum trim will offer a whole host of additional tech features including a drowsy driver alert.


The 2016 Maxima will have a limited option list and instead be offered in five trims. The base Maxima S starts at $33,235, putting it about $1,000 more than the base 2015 model. That also makes the 2016 Maxima about $1,000 more than a base 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE and about $1800 more than a base 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited, both of which will be recently refreshed by the time the 2016 Maxima goes on sale.

You can read about the entire list of features and options in our New York Auto Show: 2016 Nissan Maxima article.

Related: Chicago Auto Show: 2016 Toyota Avalon, LA Auto Show: 2015 Chrysler 300

The original Maxima was considered one of the best family sedans on the market in its day, but it then faded into the background and has been largely unchanged and ignored since 2009. Do you think this bold new styling will allow the former king to regain his crown? Sound off below.

The Live Shots Album has been updated with additional pictures since its original publication.

Disclaimer: The Pre-Production 2016 Nissan Maxima was provided by Nissan to an event I attended after the 2015 New York Auto Show Press Days


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Very cool write up, I love the info and think this will do well for them. I also love the inside of the car. The layout and color is striking. External, I do not like the body language at all. That nose is just a deal breaker for me. Failure for external design. Winner Winner Chicken dinner for the inside.

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      There will be two electric powertrains on offer for the Ariya,
      Single electric motor providing 215 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, front-wheel drive Dual electric motors producing a total output of 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive Both powertrains will come standard with a 63.0-kWh battery pack, while a larger 87.0-kWh pack is optional. Nissan claims that the single electric motor paired with 87-kWh pack will achieve a max range of 300 miles - and that is based on the EPA cycle. No information was provided on recharge times.
      The Ariya will also come with Nissan's next-generation of ProPilot driver-assistance system called ProPilot 2.0. It will allow for hands-free driving in certain circumstances and can change lanes.
      Japan will be the first market to get the Ariya sometime in mid-2021. The U.S. won't see it until the end of 2021.
      Source: Nissan
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Nissan’s product transformation continues with Ariya, a 100 percent electric crossover for a new era
      The next step of Nissan’s transformation is here with an all-new EV that delivers driving excitement, confidence, comfort and connectivity; set to go on sale in U.S. in 2021 with a $40,000 starting price NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan today introduced the all-new Nissan Ariya, an electric crossover SUV that lets customers travel up to approximately 300 miles per charge (preliminary Nissan estimate for long-range 2WD model) while enjoying greater driving excitement, confidence, comfort, and connectivity.
      Its debut marks a key milestone in the Nissan NEXT transformation initiative, a four-year plan building on Nissan's reputation for innovation, craftsmanship, customer-focus and quality, alongside an ongoing cultural transformation. As the company's first all-electric crossover SUV, the Ariya embodies the company's vision to enrich people's lives.
      Representing the pinnacle of Nissan's technologies and design, the 100% electric Nissan Ariya debuted during a digital event in Yokohama. Ariya promises powerful acceleration and smooth, quiet operation and advanced driver assistance and connectivity technology– wrapped in a sophisticated yet simple exterior design with a spacious, lounge-like interior.
      CEO Makoto Uchida and Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta unveiled the Ariya to a global audience during a livestreamed event at the new Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan.
      "The Ariya, a key model in Nissan's plan to roll out 10 new models in 20 months, demonstrates our commitment to meeting customer demand for crossovers with the most advanced electrified, automated and connected technologies," Gupta said. "The company expects sales of its EVs and e-POWER electrified models to be more than 1 million units a year by the end of fiscal 2023. The Ariya will play a significant role in attaining that goal."
      Nissan also aims to introduce advanced driver assistance technologies in more than 20 models in 20 markets, and to have sold more than 1.5 million vehicles equipped with these systems in that same period.
      The all-new Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by the U.S. and Canada later in the year. U.S. pricing will start around $40,000.
      Powerful performance for a wide range of needs
      Nissan was the first automaker to introduce a mass market electric vehicle with the Nissan LEAF in 2010, which has resulted in nearly 500,000 sales to date. Building on Nissan's strength as an EV pioneer, the Ariya takes the powerful performance and capabilities of zero-emission vehicles to the heart of the electric vehicle market.
      The car's all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. Customers can choose from multiple configurations to meet their individual needs. These include two-wheel-drive and new "e-4ORCE" all-wheel drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes. The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances the powerful performance with a smooth, comfortable ride and all-weather capability. The system's twin electric motors provide balanced, assured handling with sports car-level power.
      Advanced design and technology for stress-free driving
      Ariya is also the most advanced embodiment of Nissan Intelligent Mobility in a car to date.
      Drivers will feel more confident and less stressed thanks to the available, next-generation ProPILOT Assist 2.0 advanced driver assistance system that uses driver attention monitoring to enable hands-off single-lane highway operation. Ariya will also offer e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal.
      Standard across the Ariya lineup is Nissan Safety Shield® 360, a suite of six advanced active safety and driver-assist technologies. This includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist. Ariya will also feature Nissan's Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and other technologies aimed at making the drive easier and more enjoyable.
      A human-machine interface lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Over-the-air firmware updates keep the Ariya feeling fresh and exciting. The Ariya also includes Amazon's Alexa to help customers simplify and organize their lives.
      Ariya will also feature wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ standard to help drivers seamlessly integrate their smartphone into their vehicle experience.
      Spacious, flat-floor cabin
      The Ariya's striking looks represent Nissan's new design language, Timeless Japanese Futurism. It is characterized by a distinctive Japanese approach, conveyed in a simple yet powerfully modern way.
      Nissan's designers took advantage of the car's new EV platform, which allows for a flat floor, and its compact climate control components to give the Ariya a very spacious cabin. The lounge-like interior, featuring thin profile Zero Gravity seats, provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike.
      "Nissan was a pioneer in the world of mass-market electric vehicles a decade ago with LEAF, setting the standard for affordable, mass-market electric vehicles. We expect nothing less for the new Nissan Ariya," said Gupta. "While the driving exhilaration of its acceleration and torque levels is undeniable, the Ariya offers balanced, customer-centric technology that is perfect for everyday use."
      Nissan Ariya Key Specifications
      Passenger configuration
      2-row, 5-passenger
      Drive configuration
      Front-wheel drive or e-4ORCE all-wheel drive
      Platform
      Newly developed Alliance CMF-EV
      Powertrain
      Single (FWD) / dual (e-4ORCE AWD) electric motor, Externally Excited Synchronous Motor (EESM)
      Battery capacity
      63 kWh / 87 kWh usable (total 65 kWh / 90 kWh)
      Thermal management
      Active battery management system
      Estimated range
      Up to approximately 300 miles (preliminary Nissan estimate)
      Level 2 charging
      Up to 7.2 kW
      DC charging type
      CCS standard up to 130 kW
      Output
      160 kW – 290 kW
      Torque
      221 lb-ft – 443 lb-ft
      Wheelbase
      109.3 in.
      Overall length
      182.9 in.
      Overall width
      74.8 in.
      Overall height
      65.4 in. – 65.7 (depending on roof rack)
      Cargo volume
      16.5 cu ft (FWD)
      14.6 (e-4ORCE)
      Wheel size
      19-inch or 20-inch
      Tire size
      235/55R19 or 255/45R20
      Available interior features
      Lounge-like space created by flat, open floor and slim-profile Zero Gravity seats; large, minimalist instrument panel with integrated capacitive haptic switches; innovative center storage box with fold-out tray, adjustable center console
      Available Advanced Driver Assist (ADAS) Technology
      ProPILOT Assist 2.0 featuring hands-off highway operation with Driver Monitoring System
      Available safety technology
      Nissan Safety Shield® 360 with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking
      Model configurations
      Ariya standard and long range (FWD)
      Ariya standard range e-4ORCE and long range e-4ORCE (AWD)
      * NOTE: All specifications are as of July 2020 and are subject to homologation. Model names, features and specifications may vary by market. Subject to final validation.
    • By William Maley
      Nearly a decade ago, Nissan launched an ambitious assault on the U.S. commercial van market with the launch of their NV vans. It started with the Titan-dervived, body-on-frame NV1500/2500/3500 vans. This was followed by the unibody NV200 van, which was for a time the "Taxi of Tommorow" in New York City. But Nissan is reportedly throwing in the towel.
      Automotive News has learned from a source that it will end production of their commercial vans. No time frame was given.
      "We don't want to go more in the business of vans in the U.S. We will exit," said the source.
      Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman declined to comment about the future of the commercial vans, only saying in a statement that the automaker " is considering a number of opportunities to streamline the product portfolio and drive efficiencies within our manufacturing operations."
      When the NV lineup was launched in 2009, Nissan was hoping to steal away sales from the Detroit Three. At the time, Ford and GM had 97 percent of the large van segment. The NV was positioned as being a more modern option compared to the Ford E-Series and Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana. It was more comfortable with adjustable seats, taller ceiling for easier access to the cargo area, and pre-drilled holes in the body to allow owners to add interior racks easily. But Nissan wasn't able to make decent inroads into this market, only achieving around an eight percent share in the marketplace.
      What was the NV's downfall?
      Brand Loyalty to the American brands Using a modified Titan platform for the larger vans comprised them in urban areas with their extended front nose, and cargo capacity. "A third of the vehicle is dedicated to the engine and passenger compartment instead of cargo. The van takes up more real estate for the same amount of cargo space," explained Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions. NV200 Taxis were dinged by taxi companies poor ride quality, difficulty entering/exiting the van for elderly passengers, and increasing maintenance costs. Proved to a be a difficult sale to fleet buyers due to the automaker lacking the numerous combinations of light-trucks that the Detroit three can offer. Trucks and vans work hand in hand to attract sales in the commercial market. "Chevrolet and Ford can be everything to everybody," said Tyler Slade, operating partner at Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in Salt Lake City. "When we went to some of these fleet companies, it didn't make sense for them to have trucks from Ford and vans from Nissan." Add in $2.8 billion in cuts that the company is planning to stay afloat and COVID-19, and the death knell was coming sooner than later for the NV family.
      If Nissan does go forward with dropping the NV family, this will be a major blow to about a forth of Nissan dealers in the U.S. They made various investments such as installing heavy-duty lifts capable of lifting fully-loaded vans and having a dedicated sales staff to handle specific fleet issues.
      "Dealers now have serious concerns about their investments in commercial vehicles," said Slade.
      There is also the question as to whether Nissan may try again. Automotive News notes that in the new business strategy outlined last month, Nissan is wanting more global cooperation with its alliance partner Renault. The French automaker already has a number of vans in its lineup and is quite successful in various markets. Nissan already sells a version of the Renault Traffic, called the NV300 in Europe.
      But getting a Renault van into the U.S. as a Nissan will be difficult and costly in terms of homologation. Also, Nissan would still need to figure out how to appeal to larger fleet buyers that go with Ford or GM.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Drive
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

      View full article
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