EXCLUSIVE: No all-wheel drive for the 2016 Nissan Maxima’s future

The 2016 Nissan Maxima was revealed recently at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, after being initially teased during Nissan’s prime time commercial spot during the 2015 Super Bowl in February.

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Click here for our original post on the 2016 Nissan Maxima from the 2015 New York International Auto Show.

And now that the car was fully revealed, so were its specs, which include the use of Nissan’s usual 3.5L V6 massaged to produce around 300hp, all of which is going to the front wheels by way of Nissan’s ubiquitous yet fun-robbing Xtronic CVT transmission, which is the antithesis to all things spirited motoring.

We say this with a certain amount of pertinence because with the introduction of every new Maxima generation, Nissan promises the return of the of the “four-door sports car,” only they’ve come up a little short with recent past generations.

So to hear that they’re sticking with the CVT even with the new model doesn’t provide much promise for the new generation. To add, pretty much everyone knows that as you near the 300hp mark with a front-wheel driven vehicle, things start to get tricky to handle as the laws of physics begin to take their toll in the form of torque steer and understeer during cornering.

But thanks to improving and more readily available technology, automakers have been utilizing all-wheel drive setups to help put the power to the ground. Don’t expect that however to happen with the 2016 Maxima.

After speaking with an insider with Nissan, we learned that the Maxima won’t be gaining all-wheel drive because there’s not much demand for it in this particular market at the time.

He has a point–direct competitors such as the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima all manage with front-wheel drive just fine. Others however, such as the Volkswagen Passat, Ford Fusion and the Mazda6 (in Europe and wagon form only) offer all-wheel drive.

The market’s not rich with all-wheel drive options just yet. That means, it’ll just be 300 horsepowers being sent to the lonely front wheels, managed by a characterless CVT and an open differential. We hope Nissan’s engineers have come up with a clever way to deal with that power at the front.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: Nissan.


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Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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