Friday, June 24, 2016

Improved Maxima still has pop, generous perks

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Another week, another Nissan.  But we step up in class this week to one of my long-standing favorites.

It seems that the Nissan Maxima gets way too little love among auto-reviewing colleagues, but I’ve liked it for years.  For me, it has the right mix of style, performance, comfort and convenience.

It’s the sedan you don’t hear coming.  But it has enough juice to blow past you in an eye-wink.

Changes for the 2016 model year are numerous, and only bolstered my good feelings about the Maxima.

My tester was the lofty 2016 Nissan Maxima Platinum edition, which translates to about $40,000 on the bottom line.  Happily, this buys a bunch of goodies.

Sporty styling tweaks on the exterior give the 2016 Maxima a look that’s darn near weekend racer.  Sweetly sculpted from grille to back bumper, the sedan makes you do a double-take when you first see it in profile.

The 18-inch, machined-aluminum alloy wheels added to the racy look.

Visually, the Maxima makes a promise of serious performance.  And it delivers with a finely tuned 3.5-liter V-6 rated at a max 300 horsepower.

As previous Maximas have done, the latest generation lays down heart-pumping acceleration in smooth, but not overly loud, layers.  On the freeways, even small blips on the accelerator produced comfortable space between myself and following cars.

You can almost read the mind of the driver quickly disappearing in the rearview mirror: “What the heck was that?”

This has long been true of the Maxima.  The engineers have always done it right.  I love it.  Fuel mileage is pretty OK as well, at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

For all its robust road energy, interior comforts are numerous, luxurious and fun to use.  The dual panel panoramic moonroof, rear window power sunshade and voice-recognition system for navigation and audio were my favorites, although I think I started to drive passengers crazy with my relentless use of these features.

Nobody appreciates this kind of in-car entertainment anymore.  Go figure.

Oh, there’s a "Drive Mode Selector," with a choice of Normal or Sport.  Maxima pilots can hit the switch to tweak throttle response, transmission programming and shift adjustments.

Without shame, I confess that I had the tester in Sport mode during my entire week with the car.  When you spend time with an old friend, you want to make the most of it, right?

On my report card, the latest Maxima gets a solid “A” grade.

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