2016 Nissan Maxima Driving Impressions

Energetic acceleration from the 3.5-liter V6 is not impeded by the CVT, with its Sport mode for quicker response, though fans of conventional automatics might lament the lack of actual gears. The CVT’s shift logic becomes more aggressive at full throttle, anticipating the need for renewed acceleration during intensive cornering. Paddle shifters let you manually select ratios.

Moderate torque steer might be felt when starting off briskly. Maxima rides and handles better than Nissan’s Altima, though electric power steering lacks feedback. Active noise cancellation dampens harsh sounds, but the engine gets quite loud at peak throttle. Aluminum-alloy wheels hold 18- or 19-inch tires, depending on model.

Without question, Maxima SR is the choice for sporty performance, sitting on the tautest suspension of the group. Handling is helped by tauter front shocks and stabilizer bars, as well as monotube rear shock absorbers. A chassis damper stops the stiffer suspension from transmitting too much unpleasantness from the road. More than other versions, the SR brings Maxima closer to such rivals as the Acura TLX and Lincoln MKZ.

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