When Nissan revealed its stunning Sports Sedan Concept back at the 2014 Detroit Show, I was genuinely intrigued with where the Japanese brand was heading in terms of corporate design language.
The 2015 Murano CUV was one of Nissan’s first models to showcase a change in styling direction, and news of the next Maxima adopting this new corporate aesthetic sounded tantalizingly promising. Finally, a carmaker with the plums to stand out from a sea of beige FWD large sedans.
With that in mind it was decided to remove the horrible tape, cladding and camouflage of those spy-shot caught test mules and digitally reveal the Maxima of 2015.
Brash New Design:
Comparing old with new, one will immediately notice its sleek, avant-garde styling. While the outgoing ‘max’ was never really a bad looker, its Volvo-like grille and awkward headlights could have been better resolved.
For 2016, the look is much more dramatic at the front end; with redesigned boomerang headlights, ‘V-shaped’ grille and air intakes. Much of the show-car’s character lines starting from the fenders leading into the doors have made production, as has the floating roof.
On The Inside:
Whilst many of the Sports Sedan Concept’s elements have made production, the overall proportions are less coupe-like in exchange for better interior packaging.
Cue better rear head and legroom with an overall ambience of improved perceived quality, materials and switchgear. Along with a raft of technical goodies to be best in class, one can only hope the fresh exterior theme is mimicked on the inside.
What Could Drive It:
Powertrain options should follow on from the MY2014’s; so cue a 3.5-liter V6, mated to an Xtronic CVT for optimum fuel economy…and not much else. Sadly, power will still be fed to the front wheels, however expect Nissan to tweak suspension geometry for an more engaging driving experience.
There also has been rumor of the Pathfinder’s hybrid system making an appearance. This setup would combine an supercharged 2.5-liter, four-cylinder petrol with an electric motor for an output of 250 horsepower plus.
Nissan potentially has a major advantage compared to the opposition; the larger sedan market is not the healthiest, with opponents merely making do with staid redesigns and little boundary-pushing. The 2016MY Maxima could carve out an niche, with stunning sports-car inspired styling that breaks from tradition.
Competitors such as Toyota’s Avalon, Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus and Buick LaCrosse aren’t exactly the most inspirational sedans out there. Sure, they’re roomy, however they’re more for those whom prioritize golf clubs and cigars than carving up mountain roads. This is Nissan’s opportunity to pounce and lure people back to the sedan segment.
A full reveal is expected early next year, before it goes on sale in the third or fourth quarter of 2015.
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By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes