First drive: 2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE

First drive: 2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE

2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE

The Nissan Maxima made a name for itself in the 1980s and 1990s with a “Four-Door Sports Car” tagline that somehow worked back in the day, for a not-too-heavy V6-powered front-wheel-drive sedan. Of course, the game changed over the years as the Maxima stagnated for several years and then simply became a higher-trim version of the Altima, while shamelessly still coming with “4DSC” badges as standard. But the new one for 2016 already captured a lot of attention when it first popped up in photos several months ago. Is it finally more Maxima and less Maximbady?

The launch event was inexplicably a chaperoned 20-minute jaunt on Dubai’s highways, so here’s what we can tell you.

2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE 2

First off, the car is indeed a bit of a head-turner, at least while it’s still fresh, although it looks a bit more conservative in real life than it did in photoshopped press photos. It has a nice shape, but you need to get the 19-inch alloys, as seen on these top-spec cars, to look proportionally alright.

Mind you, it’s not really a full-sizer even though it looks like one. Still based on the old platform that’s shared with the Altima, it gets its length more from large overhangs rather than in the wheelbase area. As such, the cabin space is about that of an Altima, which is to say it’s pretty decent. And the boot is very big.

2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE 8

Where the Maxima truly shines is in the choice of cabin materials, with stitched leatherette everywhere on the dash and doors to match the seats. There’s also a new infotainment touchscreen with large clear icons and the around-view parking camera system, although we didn’t fiddle with that too much.

As for the drive, it’s a pretty decent cruiser. The car now makes 300 hp from its 3.5-litre V6, and you can feel all of it, even with the CVT automatic. What they’ve done is retune the CVT to be more aggressive on initial throttle tip-in, rather than behaving like a rubber-band as the old version did, so the car feels faster and more responsive on overtaking and such, even though it’s probably no quicker than the old 290 hp model overall. So even if you hate CVTs, it’s not bad to drive this one daily. They even give you paddle-shifters to shift imaginary gears and impress your friends.

2016 Nissan Maxima in the UAE 3

The ride seems to be a bit stiffer now, so it’s not silky-smooth on the highway, but is generally compliant. In terms of quietness, it’s above average for the class. We suspect the lower-spec models with smaller 18-inch wheels will ride more comfortably.

We didn’t really push it around corners, but on the long curves at least, it felt stable and grippy at somewhat-high speeds. The steering is ridiculously light in “normal” mode, but firms up enough in “sport” mode. The brakes are fine too, in regular driving at least.

So is the “Four-Door Sports Car” back? With front-wheel-drive and CVT, there’s only so far you can go towards building a track-attack tool, but clearly that is not what Nissan was going for, despite promo videos of it taking down 4-cylinder BMWs on the racetrack. It’s a premium sporty sedan with all the luxury bells and whistles of an Infiniti.

For UAE prices and GCC specs, visit the Nissan Maxima buyer guide.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury and Nissan.

What do you think?



  1. The interior looks so much nicer in here compared to the new Altima though I wish it was more in line with the curvy exterior but I guess they’ve gone for a more functional design.

  2. Nice report keep it up ✌

  3. If only it didn’t have a CVT it would be a winner…new one is far better than the old one only to be let down by the gearbox, however economical it might be. Kind of defeats the whole “sporty” aspect when the car sounds like it is wheezing while accelerating.However, as you said, its good enough to be a daily, but I feel it would have a lot more buyers if it had a conventional gearbox.

    • CVT transmissions aren’t as bad as you think, a CVT should outperform a regular, non-dual clutch, automatic in terms of acceleration and fuel economy.

    • Agreed, but sticking a CVT on a 300hp saloon dubbed as a ” 4 door sports car” or 4DSC is my only basis for not approving of a CVT. I drive a dual clutch golf gti and its pretty snappy, but lets say I was in the market for a bigger saloon, this car ticks all the boxes, but would ruin the experience of driving because of CVT. Dubbing a car as a driver focussed sports saloon and sticking a CVT in there is quite contradictory. My 2 cents…

    • Also having a sports saloon with a conventional gearbox aides in engine braking, and actually using the gears to floor it out of corners and such through real downshifts. Having a car stuck in one gear at redline, wheezing away with 300hp to work with….doesn’t really equate to a “Drivers car”.

      I’ve been in my friends altima v6 which also has the CVT and I wouldn’t call it fun hearing that engine. But once again this is just my personal opinion 🙂

      Don’t get me wrong though, this car is going to sell well seeing how many previous gens are already on the roads but thats targeting a different end user I think. Mash even said the CVT in this is better than usual.

      But once you drive a car like a GTi or something which is “sporty” with a proper gearbox, a CVT will never satisfy you as a driver.

    • They should’ve gone with the 7 speed auto from the 370z and most Infinitis, but once again if they did that who would go for the Q50 since the interior quality in the Maxima is now on par with the Infiniti.

    • Well you’re totally on point, but if you want a sports sedan you shouldn’t buy a Nissan in the first place 😀

    • Bro I own this car.. Cvt is amazing here.. Don’t compare unless you’ve driven.. Altima and maxima are miles apart.. Cvt in maxima makes this car fuel efficient in normal cases and crazy fast acceleration when racing.. I’ve tested.. Beats the skin out of many of its competitors.. U don’t think Nissan thought this through?

  4. The front looks amazing and truly a head-turner. Hate the rear though, sometimes I wonder how designs get approved and who actually approves it, or someone probably has very bad taste.

    Anyhow, I agree with the convention gearbox opinion, a sports car should NEVER have a CVT transmission. The whole point of having a sports car is the gear shifts.

    But when I was arguing about it with my wife, She gave me a valid point that conventional gearbox might be appealing for the driver, but for passengers – CVT provides a lot more comfort and pleasant experience.

    In design, I still prefer the 90’s model, it was awesome!

  5. Hi Mash,
    Reviews at its finest!

    Going as per what Nissan is offering in the United States, you get a dual panoramic sunroof either on the SL or Platinum grades.
    If you wish for paddle shifters, camel (tan) leather with diamond-quilted Alcantara inserts and 19inch wheels (over the 18inch across the other grades), you have the SR grade.
    Though, the down side is the panoramic or even regular sunroof is eliminated to avoid additional weight creeping on the SR trim.

    BUT, did you notice the vehicle in Coulis Red is an SR grade with dual panoramic sunroof, wooden inlays coupled with Cashmere (beige) Ascot Leather! 😮

    I have one question – Are the trim levels altered for the GCC region?

    • Yes, I believe in GCC instead of S, SV, SL, SR & Platinum grades, you just have S, SV & SR. So some of specs have interchanged.

      For eg: SR here (GCC) comes with Panoramic Sunroof. Wherein the US spec doesn’t because they believe the Panoramic Sunroof affects the structural rigidity of the car, thereby affecting handling.

  6. Price wise it’s 115 k to 156k right

  7. that front grille seemed like its going to lick on me. UGLY car

    • That front grill is too weird..esp the upper mini-moustache part. The should have a Black Edition where all the chrome parts would be blacked out. Then it would look quite nice.

      And yeah, the CVT would kill it for me as well.

  8. I feel that 7-speed transmission from Infiniti would have worked magic in this car….looking at the specs sheet and seeing CVT itself spoils the sport sedan image….i have seen several videos of american market test drives of this car and it seems to be a really good and capable car compared to other cars in this segment like Avalon, Taurus, Impala etc….It seems like Nissan has become a lazy automobile manufacturer making lazy cars with every other car stuck with CVTs. The last exciting product they made is GTR and yeah Patrol isn’t bad either….Even their reliability rating is bad in many markets around the world compared to other mainstream Japanese competitors.

  9. very tempting, and the price point seems reasonable assuming the data base is accurate.

    good report btw!

  10. Somebody said Sports Sedan is the Maxima-didnt you know there is a Dodge Charger no one can beat that

    • You are right, but you have to consider RESALE value and RELIABILITY. Both are important aspects in terms of purchase. But of course if those are not problem for one, then the Charger the better buy with the V8.

      The V6 charger is slower than this, but it has RWD so that could be reason to choose it over the Maxima.

  11. Kia Cadenza is way better than this……….in all driving aspects.

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      that was a good one, mate. hahahahaaaaahaaaaahaaaaaa

    • better believe me. I own a previous gen maxima and then sold it for a kia cadenza now…So I can really compare both. Even servicing in the dealer. You get priority premium service in kia queues, no waiting, just drop the car anytime…

  12. The Cadenza is a good car – powerful and value for money. Can’t say much about the driving dynamics though.

    Anyways, good effort from Nissan, inside and out, but considering a good amount of money goes into developing a new model I’m wondering why Nissan chose to continue using the old platform shared with the Altima.

    I’ve also heard that the CVTs in the new X-Trail and Pathfinder are giving problems, with the Dealer now receiving a number of complaints. Those of you who own these vehicles may want to look in this.

  13. Checked this last weekend at nissan showroom…personally i didnt liked it much and with price tag, dodge charger would b a way better option or to go with avalon or old shape maxima which is around 126k for fulll option with some freebies attached..

  14. Full option is a killer. Has all safety features including adaptive cruise control, forward predictive collision warning, emergency braking, blind spot monitoring. No car can offer this in this price.

  15. trunk is surprisingly small, almost good for nothing but hey its a sort of a sports car so its reluctantly acceptable.
    Rear design and CVT are too bad to be ignored though.

  16. I’m sure way back Nissan had dilemma and followed by nightmares about the CVT.
    I’m sure this is the single thing that will haunt Nissan for ever I guess.
    They tried to be different, took the risk, now living with it.
    Bring back the regular gearbox and add a DCT and see the change in sales figures.
    Take a cue Nissan….
    Nissan seems to be the only brand that is completely dedicated to the CVT… SPORT CAR and CVT never matched…
    Apart CVT, Nissan will be competitive…
    From an ex-Nissan Blue Bird owner…

  17. Hi Mash,

    Great review! I checked Nissan showroom and found that prices range from 116k to 156k. I still can’t decide if this is worth my money. But I really do love the interior of this car. Is there any other car that is at par with this car’s interior and performance for less than 156k.

  18. this or the cadillac ats ?

  19. I pulled the trigger a few weeks back for the SR version. just had it back from the 1k service.

    i am very very happy with the vehicle given how fairly cheap it is.

    the report here is a fair and good representation imho. having driven various much more expensive competitors (e-class, 5 series, cc, etc.), i find the CTV engine very well done actually. very responsive and smooth, very good all-rounder that consumes little in comparison.

    the thing i agree with, is the stiff suspension. while it gives a sporty feel, it is very firm

    so all in all: i think there is no better choice in this price segment in the moment. can only recommend it highly 🙂

  20. Nissan Maxima or Volvo V40 ???-I know one is sedan and other hatchback.
    I want proper performance car as both are of same price range, considering all main factors what should i go for.

  21. I am just in the verge of bursting my head thinking of which car to buy.Can all please advise me between Charger sxt and Nissan Maxima SV.I am flattered by maximas interior and comfort . Though i am carried away with Maxima i am still a fan of Charger looks and power.Please advise?

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