Taking on a festival like BottleRock up in Napa, California would be a road trip not fit for just any ride. A drive through the heart of California and ending in the beautiful countryside of Napa called for a car that would provide a comfortable – yet sporty – drive and fit right in with the culture and style of BottleRock.
Enter, the 2016 Nissan Maxima SR. With a beautiful mixture of sport, luxury, and practicality. I knew we had just what was needed to take on this journey.
Starting off with the sport, there is plenty of power under that hood with a sporty 3.5L V6 engine and agile, responsive handling and suspension. With 300HP the new Maxima is nearly at the limit for a FWD powertrain and accelerates with shocking force for what you expect from this drivetrain. From the interior, the sporty alcantara seats, steering wheel, and console made for an entertaining drive through heart of California and into the Bay. Lets not forget about the way this ride looks. The new, more aggressive look for the Maxima definitely says sport, and the 19′ alloy wheels on the SR don’t hurt too bad either.
This Maxima also packed all of the luxuries you could have asked for on a day long journey. From the comfortable, air cooled and heated, seats to the intuitive and powerful multimedia system – the Maxima made it easy to drive in style and comfort. Let’s not forget the sound system. Being from an audio background, it something I always long for and am frequently disappointed in. The Maxima definitely impressed with its 11-speaker Bose® audio system. Well placed, and powerful speakers provided a great sounding and well balanced listening experience. Which is important when you are gearing up to see performers like Stevie Wonder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
With all the sport and luxury features the car still fits within a more practical budget for what it offers. At around $38k in the SR trim, it definitely competes well with the more premium competition on bang for your buck. People shopping for rear drive sedans like the Dodge Charger RT or even the Infiniti Q50 may want to take a look at the surprising performance and comfort of this front-wheel drive sedan. Additionally, with an average of around 26 miles per gallon on our trip, the Maxima will beat most RWD sedans at the pump also.
Rolling into Napa for three days of covering the music festival, I definitely felt like I stepped up a few notches and could represent among the crowd of locals and young fans traveling in for the festivities. The BottleRock Festival seemed to have a common audience to that of the Nissan Maxima. The crowd consisted of young adults in their 30’s who seemed to be looking for a more mature way to enjoy some music and booze along with slightly older folks looking to stay involved with the passions that make them feel young again. The Maxima can also appease both groups and offers a somewhat sophisticated way to let your hair down. I couldn’t have asked for more out of the Maxima and any preconceived notions about what a Maxima could deliver – were blown away. It provided me just what I needed in a road trip sedan and maybe even a little bit more.
Now for the details. Let’s talk about a few of my pros and cons from the drive.
– Great value for what you get out of the ride
– Comfort, luxury, and sport mixed into one
– Fantastic sound system (being an audio-file, I honestly couldn’t believe how balanced and powerful the sound system was)
-Expected understeer when pushing the car hard because of front wheel drive
– Redundant control buttons on touch screen and around screen. Be better off choosing one or the other in most cases.
– Issues with nav & tech connection (bluetooth audio & the TEXT MESSAGE interruptions)