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Distinctive and Luxurious: 2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Test Drive

Traditional sedans have seen better days. Legendary nameplates such Impala and Taurus will soon no longer be available in the North American market. The good news is that certain legendary sedans, such as the Camry and Accord, are still around. So is the Nissan Maxima, a fixture in the four-door segment for more than 30 years. In fact, Nissan refreshed it for the 2019 model year inside and out. It sports updated exterior styling, new wheel designs, restyled interior treatments (for certain trim levels), and upgraded safety technology, as well as additional convenience features.

The 2019 Maxima model range consists of the entry-level S, SV, upscale SL, sporty SR, luxurious Platinum, and top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve, which I had the privilege of testing for a week.

2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve Exterior

Nissan unveiled the eighth-generation Maxima back in 2015 and proved that affordable family sedans could look as cool as sports cars. Its bold grille, sharp lines, and pronounced curves made it stand out in parking lots and dealership showrooms. The 2019 model is just as distinctive, but features several visual updates. Designers restyled the lower front fascia and enlarged the V-motion grille, which now sits between standard jewel-like LED headlights.

All 2019 Maximas get new wheel designs. My Platinum Reserve test car had a set of “Hyper Silver” 19-inch wheels that looked as if they were moving even when the Maxima was parked. Their neutral finish was even more attractive under my press loaner’s deep, rich Carnelian Red paint.

Out back, the 2019 Maxima features a revised rear fascia, updated LED taillights, and attractive quad exhaust outlets.

In the years since Nissan unveiled the newest generation of the Maxima, other manufacturers seem to have taken a page out of their book and made their sedans visually bold and aggressive. Despite the trend, there’s still no car out there that looks quite like the Maxima. Its distinctive looks have only gotten better with its 2019 facelift.

2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve Interior

The Maxima was just as distinctive on the inside. Part of the flat-bottom steering and the heated and cooled Zero Gravity front and heated rear seats were covered in distinctive Rakuda Tan semi-aniline leather with quilted inserts. Faceted Satin Bronze trim on the door panels and dashboard added texture and brightness. A standard dual-panel moonroof made the cabin feel more spacious and upscale.

If you look closely at the instrument panel, you’ll notice a slight bias toward the driver’s side. I could feel it when I was behind the wheel. Whether I needed to start the Maxima, shift into gear, adjust the volume on the powerful 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 audio system, or enter an address into the navigation system using the eight-inch touchscreen, every control was within easy reach.

Platinum and Platinum Reserve models come standard with NissanConnect with Navigation and Services, such as automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, emergency call, and stolen vehicle locator. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto add another level of convenience.

Changes for 2019 include upgrades to several areas, including the instrument panel, door panels, stitching, seat materials, and headliner. The Maxima’s interior tech also gets an upgrade in the form of two USB Type-C charging ports.

Nissan did a nice job of making the Maxima’s cabin look luxurious, but I wasn’t sure if it had a luxurious amount of legroom in the second row, so tested it out. I’m happy to report that I was able to adjust the driver’s seat to my 5’10” height and sit behind it in the second row with legroom to spare.

2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve Performance

As comfortable as the Maxima was while I was testing out its legroom, it wasn’t made to stand still. It was meant to be driven. Let’s just say I used my right foot to help my press loaner fulfill its destiny. Doing that was a pleasure thanks to the Maxima’s naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6. Its 300 horsepower and 261 lb-ft of torque, combined with a performance-tuned version of Nissan’s Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), was more than enough to quickly get the Maxima up to speed. Engaging Sport mode made it even more enthusiastic about getting down the road.

According to the EPA, the Maxima’s powertrain combo is good for 20 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.**

Driving over rough country back roads made me realize just how well-tuned the Maxima’s suspension was. The Maxima seemed to glide over uneven pavement without totally numbing my feeling of connection to it.

The steering was an odd combination of little boost in low-speed situations, such as moving through a parking lot, and lightness at highway speeds.

2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve Safety

Nissan took the 2019 Maxima’s refresh as an opportunity to upgrade its safety technology, too. The new Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of features is available in the SR Premium Package and standard on the Maxima Platinum. It includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, and Rear Automatic Braking.

The Maxima Platinum also has front, driver and front passenger knee, side-impact, and head curtain airbags; Intelligent Forward Collision Warning; Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection; Rear Automatic Braking; Blind Spot Warning; and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2019 Maxima for its frontal or side crash performance, but it has given it a five-star Rollover score (the best one possible).

2019 Nissan Maxima

2019 Nissan Maxima Platinum Reserve Overall

Fear not, all of you sedan lovers out there. There are several manufacturers who still offer traditional four-door cars. Nissan is one of them and its Maxima flagship is still going strong. The 2019 model is even more visually distinctive and full of useful content. Prices start at $34,050.** My handsome, luxurious, and well-equipped Platinum Reserve press car had a final price of $43,835. To get the 2019 Maxima that’s right for you and your budget, head over to an AutoNation Nissan dealership.

* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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