The Nissan Maxima was once considered a poor person’s BMW, and Nissan likes to call it a “four-door sports car.” The current-generation Maxima falls a bit short of that reputation, and it doesn’t look like the sedan will be restored to its former glory anytime soon. Debuting at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2019 Nissan Maxima gets minor styling tweaks and new driver-assist tech, but keeps the same old formula.
The aggressive styling hasn’t changed much. With its massive “V-Motion” grille and helmet-like roof, the Maxima’s styling isn’t for everyone. The minor changes Nissan made for 2019 don’t change that equation.
On the inside, Nissan claims to have upgraded the materials and trim. It needed to do that to continue distinguishing the Maxima from its little sibling, the Altima. While the Maxima is considered to be Nissan’s flagship, the difference between it and the Altima has eroded. For 2019, the Maxima also gets Rear Door Alert, which is designed to prevent drivers from leaving children or pets unattended in the back seat.
Nothing has changed under the hood, so the Maxima still gets a 3.5-liter V6 producing 300 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2019 Maxima gets the Nissan Safety Shield 360 bundle of driver aids, but it’s only standard equipment on the top Platinum trim level, and an optional extra on the Maxima SR. Safety Shield 360 includes autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning. The Maxima is also available with adaptive cruise control, Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor 360-degree camera system, and traffic sign recognition. A driver-attention monitor is standard on all trim levels.
The 2019 Nissan Maxima goes on sale in mid-December 2018. Nissan did not release pricing information, but we’re not expecting a big bump from the 2018 Maxima, which starts at $33,270 and rises to $40,940 for a top-of-the-line Platinum model. While Nissan keeps the Maxima in a holding pattern, it continues to be threatened by increased sales of crossovers. Whatever sentiment car buyers still have for the Maxima name may not be enough to prevent it from being inundated by the crossover tide.
Updated on November 29, 2018: Added live photos.
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