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While other manufacturers are thinning their lineups of sedans, citing reduced buyer demand for the long-time garage staple, Nissan is bucking that trend by going all-in on sedans and pumping out new or refined cars throughout the lineup. Nissan’s flagship sedan, the Maxima, received the facelift treatment for the 2019 model year, and includes several refinements inside and out.

The Maxima has always had a feeling of a premium mainstream sedan, with a whole host of features throughout that made the car feel like it was generally more upscale than its pricetag would indicate. Fully redesigned in 2016, the 2019 Maxima is a mid-cycle refresh which incorporates a nip here, a tuck there, and some revised styling to give the 2019 Maxima a more modern look that is consistent with Nissan’s current V-Motion design language.

On the outside, the 2019 Maxima gets updated LED headlamps and taillights, a more prominent front grille, new fog light surrounds, more pronounced chrome detailing on the front bumper, and an updated lower rear fascia with quad-tip exhaust finishers (no, the tips aren’t actually connected to the exhaust for those of you who pretend like that’s still a big deal). 

On the inside, the updates aren’t quite as evident as the Maxima already had a comfortable and modern interior, with its cockpit style driving position. The biggest change with our top-trim Platinum tester is the new for 2019 $1,140 Platinum Reserve Package which includes heated rear seats, exclusive dark finish 19-inch aluminum wheels, Rakuda Tan semi-aniline leather seats with diamond-quilted leather inserts, a charcoal headliner, and Satin Bronze interior faceted finishes.

The Maxima’s seats are Nissan’s excellent Zero Gravity seats with sport bolstering. While we love the Zero Gravity seats in every Nissan we’ve ever tested (and owned), the Rakuda Tan interior seems like a bizarre combination with the Carnelian Red exterior. I might be in the minority here though, as others who saw the Maxima absolutely loved the color and diamond stitching. 

The 2019 Maxima receives a technology package update as well which includes USB-C ports, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration. Nissan takes safety extremely seriously, and the 2019 Maxima includes a whole armada (heh heh) of driver-assistance and safety features, including 10 supplemental air bags, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, as well as front and rear automatic emergency braking. All these features are standard on the Platinum trim level of our tester. 

On the business end of the 2019 Maxima, the 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine remains unchanged, producing 300-horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers power to the wheels by way of a “performance-oriented” Xtronic CVT transmission. Driving dynamics wise, the engine and transmission do the job admirably, and there’s never a feeling of needing more power. The steering and braking aspects do leave a bit to be desired, but this is a complaint I have about most sedans on the market today. Rather than being the 4-door sports car of years past, the Maxima continues to have overboosted steering that gives the driver very little feedback, and a brake pedal that lacks the firmness one would expect in a sporty sedan. For those who value comfort over performance, these complaints aren’t a big deal, but definitely something to note if expecting a truly sporty driving experience. 

Overall, behind the wheel of the 2019 Nissan Maxima is a wonderful place to be, and the slight styling and creature comfort upgrades help an already good car become even more compelling of a package. It’s also nice to see that Nissan is firmly committed to its sedan programs, at least for now. There are still buyers who have no interest in an xUV, and just want a sharp looking, well performing, comfortable sedan with all the bells and whistles. For those buyers, the 2019 Maxima should definitely be on their short-list. 

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve

Base Price – $41,440.00

Price as-Tested – $45,225 (incl. $895 dest. charge)

Major Options – Reserve Package ($1,440) 

Warranty – 3-year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain

EPA Fuel Economy Rating: 20 city/30 highway/24 mixed

Observed Fuel Economy over 314 miles mixed driving – 22.3 mpg

Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life by Nissan for the purpose of review, along with a full tank of fuel.

Photos courtesy Nissan North America

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Zerin Dube

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