The all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima is about as sleek as a four-door sedan can be. Nissan designers have stretched (by 56 millimeters) and lowered (by 33 mm) their flagship model to create a clearly sports-oriented vehicle with an abundance of what dealers call “eyeball”. Impressive from all angles, it’s the side profile that stands out with its high waistline, Nissan signature “floating” roof and sinuous lines front to rear. No doubt about it, this car turns heads.

But as you may know, large four-door sedans are no longer as popular as they once were. What are people buying instead? You might think SUVs, but mostly, according to Nissan Canada Chief Marketing Manager Andrew Wilton, sales are migrating to V6-powered midsize sedans. People are downsizing from large, Maxima-style sedans, in other words.

Nonetheless, there is a market – albeit declining – for the big cars, and in the 2016 Maxima, Nissan is offering tremendous value in the form of “class above” standard and optional equipment to complement its very appealing design.

There are four trim levels and no options. It’s an unusual approach to selecting the features you want, but it enables buyers to choose the Maxima “flavour” they like and be assured that key features are included as standard equipment. The model ladder starts at the $35,900 SV and moves up via the $38,950 SL and $41,100 SR to the $43,300 Platinum.

Under the hood of all Maximas is a re-engineered 3.5L VQ engine fitted with 60 percent new components and now making 300 hp at 6,400 rpm and 261 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The transmission is a new generation sport-tuned CVT “automatic.” The chassis is lighter and stiffer (a 25 percent increase in torsional rigidity). Although the Maxima is larger in size and the engine is more powerful compared with the outgoing model, fuel economy is improved by 15 percent to 10.9/7.8/9.5 L/100km city/highway/combined.

The base Maxima SV offers a suite of standard equipment, some of which could be optional even on entry-level luxury competitors. Standard equipment includes “Nissan Connect” Navigation with Mobile Apps and voice activation, heated and power assisted front seats, heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal repeaters, satellite radio with traffic information, leather interior, Intelligent Key with push-button start and rear-view monitor.

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Additional equipment is comprehensive, and varies depending on the trim level. All levels except for the SV, for instance, get desirable safety and security features including Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Forward Emergency Braking. They are also equipped with the Bose premium-level audio system.

The sporty SR gets sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara-finished door panels, an Integrated Dynamic-control Module with Active Ride Control and paddle shifters. No dual-pane panorama roof, however (no sunroof at all, in fact, for the sporty SR in an effort to maximize chassis rigidity).

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