Nissan seems to have made a host of refinements, a light styling refresh, and new features for 2019 to its large Maxima sedan. The Maxima although no sports sedan, it gives a general feel of quality with a generous helping of features. The changes in the 2019 Maxima reflect a mid-cycle refresh to the fully redesigned 2016 Maxima. The changes include new LED headlights, revised LED tail lamps, a more pronounced grille, larger fog-lamp surrounds, new chrome detailing on the front bumper, and a new lower rear fascia with integrated quad exhaust finishers set the 2019 Maxima visually. The cohesive look beautifully integrates the Maxima into the Nissan lineup among all-new models such as the Altima mid-size sedan and the Kicks subcompact crossover. The Murano, a crossover cousin the Maxima is also due to receive similar styling upgrades in the year.
The changes inside the cabin are even more subtle. It’s still spacious and comfortable, at least at the outset and it features driver-focused cockpit styling, all the things that have attracted us in the past. The rear seat continues to be less roomy as in most competitors or even as those in a few mid-size sedans that are a size smaller. Upgrade is evident in the materials used all throughout, right from the instrument panel to the upholstery. In the SR model you now have a black headliner and orange detailing on the quilted leather and micro suede seats. In the top-of-the-line Platinum trim, you can have the Platinum Reserve package that includes beautiful saddle-colored semi-aniline leather seats, faceted satin-bronze interior accents, unique 19-inch wheels and heated rear seats, all for $1140.
In the Maxima you have significant tech upgrade as well. You would get updated navigation on all but the base S model, additional USB-C ports, and Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration. An interesting platter of driver-assistance features include front and rear automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlamps, but it's only available on the top two trim levels, the SR where optional and the Platinum where standard.
Some of the characters of the Nissan Maxima remain unchanged. The endearing dynamic traits live on, including its assertive V-6 power and predictable handling. Many sure are wondering why the Maxima did not inherit the new variable-compression engine or its optional all-wheel drive from the Altima, and the ride on Platinum-spec test car feels rougher than the earlier test drives of the Maxima. The sportier SR trim rides firmer nevertheless.
Although the design details of the redesigned steering wheel draws inspiration responses to steering inputs from the helm found in the mighty GT-R. The wheel is just as numb and uncommunicative as before. It’s the same with the mushy brake pedal, which is a bit of a disappointment on the above average braking performance previously recorded. Nevertheless, due to the 19-inch wheels with Goodyear Eagle Touring rubber, the 2019 Maxima outperforms in braking the last Maxima tested by five feet from 70 mph. The 2019 Maxima has outperformed the 2017 Maxima on the skid-pad with 0.89 g in lateral grip.
Even if there aren’t any significant changes, Nissan remains committed to the legend that goes back decades even in a declining segment. LED lighting nevertheless, is an upgrade worth mentioning.