By Nitish Rele

So far, Nissan has sold 2.9 million Maximas in the United States. With a total redesign for 2016, we expect a spike in sales of the Smyrna, Tenn.-assembled eighth-generation full-size car.

The front-wheel-drive “four-door sports sedan,” as Nissan likes to call it, acquires a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which pumps out 300 horsepower (up by 10) @ 6,400 rpm and 261 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm. It weighs 82 pounds less than its predecessor though still mated to the continuous variable transmission.

However, fuel economy figures are up by 14 percent and platform rigidity by 25 percent. A new suspension of ZF Sachs monotube dampers means better response and high-temperature fade resistance.

A jet-fighter style theme, inspired by the Blue Angels at Naval Station in Pensacola, resonates with the V-motion grille, flanked by boomerang headlights, wraparound windshield, diamond-finish 19-inch wheels and floating roof. The theme continues in the roomy cabin with a wraparound console of 7-inch meter and 8-inch navigation screens, flat-bottomed steering wheel and start button. Contrast stitching on the instrument panel, doors and console, diamond-quilted inserts in Alcantara, and liquid-chrome faceted finishers enhance the appeal. The rotary knob for the fresh display commander knob controls the audio, navigation and phone systems. Apart from the standard safety features is a driver attention alert to monitor steering input, tremendously helpful during those long, drowsy hours on the highway.

The Maxima is offered in five grades starting at $32,410 for the base S trim and peaking at $39,860 for top-level Platinum with navigation and remote start standard on all.

Advice to the competitors: Toyota Avalon, Acura TLX, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Chevy Impala. Watch out for the newly redesigned sedan, which claims spellbinding design, tremendous performance, splendid craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. And rightly so.

Test drive a 2016 Maxima at Auto Nation Nissan Brandon, 9920 Adamo Dr. in Tampa

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