After weeks of failing to snag the Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR in time for the weekend, I finally secured the keys ahead of a road trip. The big sedan’s cavernous trunk, deep well of power, and comfortable interior has made it a hot-ticket item around the office for editors taking longer trips with friends and family.
With 275 miles between Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toronto, Ontario, my girlfriend Michelle and I loaded up the Maxima with two suitcases and plenty of snacks, and set off for the land of Tim Hortons and unfailing politeness. We’d go from there to Kingston, Ontario, where we’d ingest a large plate of poutine and visit Michelle’s alma mater, Queen’s University.
The highway from Detroit to Toronto is essentially one long straight flanked by farmland and wind turbines. Adaptive cruise control is immensely useful for staving off fatigue on this listless slog, and the Maxima’s system is easy to engage and smooth to operate.
When the car senses a vehicle ahead and applies the brakes, deceleration feels natural and progressive; the effect is similar when the car gets back up to speed. My one concern is that when the Maxima comes to a complete stop, it should apply a brake hold until the driver reapplies throttle instead of simply chiming an alert as it starts to crawl, which could easily result in a rear-end collision if someone is too trusting of the system.
The long trip also made me appreciate the Maxima’s ample front storage. The compartment in the center stack is surprisingly deep, and even with two phones plugged into the dual USB ports there was plenty of room left over for my watch, wallet and sunglasses.
Usually I’d be getting fidgety and restless about three hours into a long drive, but the Maxima kept me cool and relaxed well past the four-hour mark. The soft leather seats are both lovely to look at and generously supportive, and the eight-way adjustable driver’s seat makes it easy to find a comfortable position. I normally don’t care for cooled seats — the experience feels akin to sitting on an air-hockey table — but I can’t deny that on a low setting, the feature tones down the gross lower-back sweat any road-tripper knows well. Both buckets have worn extremely well over our time with the car, and the diamond-stitch suede-like seat-back inserts haven’t lost their luster either.
The same can’t be said for the caramel-colored suede-like inserts on the steering wheel, which have gotten ratty and dirty with everyone’s thumbs rubbing up against them. At this rate, they will need to be cleaned every few months. Aside from the fact that they look a little strange, I’d simply rather not deal with them at all and stick with a standard leather material.
When we pulled into the driveway in Toronto, Michelle’s family immediately commented on the Maxima’s interesting looks. I think the car’s unconventional lines and deep blue paint make a lot of people look twice. We ferried her parents around for several days and both remarked how comfortable and spacious the back seat was. The car definitely makes a good impression, but still lets you look humble by bearing a mainstream nameplate.
For as good of a semi-luxury cruiser the Maxima is, I’ve been wondering if the benefits of the SR package are worth it. At times some of my passengers mentioned that the ride was a bit harsh and, having driven a Maxima Platinum recently, I don’t think they’d have the same complaints in that car. While you lose some of the SR’s flat cornering and sharp turn-in with the Platinum’s softer suspension, 18-inch wheels, and less aggressive tires, most people driving this kind of car would happily take that trade-off.
Soon the Maxima will be making its way west for an extended stay in our L.A. office, and we’ll see if the four-door sports car is more rewarding on California canyon roads.
Our 2016 Nissan Maxima SR
|MILES TO DATE||14,674|
|ENGINE||3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/300 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 261 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||22/30 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||192.8 x 73.2 x 56.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.0 sec|
|TOP SPEED||135 mph|