Judging by the sales totals, it looks as if someone will have to soon organize a campaign to save the family car or have it covered by the Endangered Species Act, which is too bad because carmakers have worked diligently for more than century to build the perfect sedan.
In fact, sedans made today generally are really good, having benefitted from the attention, not to mention money, manufacturers have lavished on them during the past 10 or more decades and the polish and precision show up in modern sedans in all kinds of ways.
For example, the 2019 Nissan Maxima is a most impressive vehicle.
It is a big, full-size sedan that is comfortable in subtle ways that I think utility vehicles find hard to match. The Maxima delivers a nice steady ride on a variety of road surfaces. It also comes with more than enough power and carries plenty of technology to aid and enliven the daily commute.
The exterior design of Maxima, with the acute angle of its windshield and rounded back end, creates a sleek, shapely silhouette that complements the details such as the signature grille and tailored front fascia. In addition, lighting in both the front and rear accents the Maxima’s lines and fits like carefully selected jewelry, helping set the car apart in traffic or when it is parked.
The Maxima’s appearance is also set of 19-inch diamond-cut wheels and boomerang signature LED lighting that frames the grille.
The 2019 Nissan Maxima isn’t technically sold as a luxury car, but the interior is plenty luxurious with comfortable seats, an inviting layout within easy reach. Moreover, the furnishings, materials and details, such as aluminum sport pedals, used in the Maxima’s cabin make any one sitting in the vehicle think they are inside a more expensive car even though the Maxima I drove had a manufacturer suggested retail price for $41,000.
The 2019 Maxima is fully equipped with the technology features including an 8-inch color display with multi-touch controls, two illuminated USB connection ports for external devices, Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and streaming audio and voice recognition for navigation and entertainment.
The technology also includes driver assistance features such as automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot alerts, lane-departure warning and high-beam assist, which automatically turn on the high-beams on dark streets as needed without blinding oncoming vehicles.
The safety equipment on the Maxima sedan includes multiple airbags and safety anchors for car seats for children.
The 2019 Maxima also is equipped with intelligent cruise control and traffic sign recognition as well as an innovative intelligent driver alert, which warns the driver if drowsy driving is detected. Studies have shown that drowsy driving is involved in as much as 21% of fatal car accidents, Nissan notes.
The Maxima I drove also was equipped an around-view monitor that provides a 360-degree “surround view” of the vehicle, which is helpful when backing up or moving into a parking space.
The 2019 Maxima SR I drove was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 261-foot pounds of torque that also gets 30 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 mpg in the city. The engine is matched with an advanced Xtronic transmission and equipped with two drive modes – sport and normal – that adjusts throttle response, transmission tuning, steering feel and active sound enhancement.
The power in the engine is refined and enhanced by the Maxima’s driving dynamics, which are channeled through a well-honed sport suspension that gave the vehicle impressive stability and a very nice feel as it traveled various surfaces, around curves or during standard driving maneuvers, such as passing or pulling away from a stop light.
For a big car, the Maxima is quite nimble with crisp steering as well as excellent brakes, which make it, overall, great fun to drive. It also underscores the differences between sedans and utility vehicles, which have a higher center of gravity, making them inherently less stable even when equipped with technical assistance such as electronic-stability control.
Overall, the Maxima actually felt like a small sports car rather than full-size family-oriented sedan capable of carrying multiple passengers and their luggage in a rather spacious trunk with ample capacity for luggage or golf clubs.
Nissan executives have said recently that they are not ready to give up on sedans. With vehicles such as the Maxima in their portfolio, they have good reason to stay the course.
The years and years of competition in the global auto industry really has produced a better vehicle and the 2019 Maxima is a case in point.