The Nissan Maxima is a handsome, sporty car that Nissan calls a “four door sports car.” It’s not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the most exciting car in this class. What do you need to know before you buy a Nissan Maxima? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.

The Nissan Maxima got its street cred by being a bit overpowered for its segment. That was cool back in the day when you could smoke Mustangs with the family sedan, and the new one’s definitely not slow, but Nissan keeps throwing the words “four-door sports car” around, and we think that’s a bit of a stretch.

With 300 ponies under the hood and sharp, aggressive styling, the Maxima is definitely “sporty.” It even comes with paddle shifters, which are neat. Except that those paddle shifters are hooked up to a continuously variable transmission, the least sporty thing in the whole wide world. The second least sporty thing in the world is front-wheel drive, and, you guessed it, that CVT routes power to those front wheels.

Still, even if it isn’t a proper sports car, the Maxima offers tons of cool standard features, plenty of power, competitive fuel economy numbers, and bold good looks.

What’s New About The 2016 Nissan Maxima:

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The eighth generation Maxima is brand new for 2016, and it looks good. The new fascia and lights are sharp, the side profile sports very odd but still kinda cool, flowing character lines, and the rear lights looks classy but still very Nissan.

The new Maxima is 2.2 inches longer, 1.3 inches lower, and 82 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. It’s also more slippery, with a 35 count lower drag coefficient than before (0.295 vs 0.33). The 3.5-liter V6 gets an extra 10 horsepower and is mated with an all-new “performance-oriented” continuously variable transmission.

The interior also gets a nice update for 2016, and can be outfitted to look Lexus levels of swanky. There’s new tech in there, too, like driver attention alert system and forward collision warning.

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It’s a nice update. But it’s still not a sports car.

Which One We’d Buy

The new Maxima comes in five trims: S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum. They all come with the same 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and CVT transmission, and they all come well-equipped with goodies like navigation, remote start, Driver Mode Selector dial, big aluminum wheels, LED headlights, a rearview camera, and an eight inch touchscreen.

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So that might make you think: “Just buy the base model, then.” And we agree that the $32,410 base model S offers good value. But we’d be tempted by the gorgeous leather seats that come standard on the next model up, so we’d likely end up plopping down $35,215 (including destination) at the end of it all for the SV and its leathery goodness [Build Your Own].

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $32,410-$39,860 Top Speed: 130 MPH (estimated)

Acceleration: ~6.0 to 60 (estimated) MPG: 22 city/ 30 hwy / 25 combined

Engines: 3.5L V6

Transmissions: CVT automatic Curb Weight: ~3,470-3,590 pounds

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD IIHS Rating: Not Tested

Photo credit: Nissan

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