2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2018 Audi A6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A6 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Maxima as “Superior.” The A6 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Maxima SL/SR/Platinum’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A6 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Maxima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Maxima Platinum has standard NissanConnect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The A6 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Maxima and the A6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Audi A6:

 

Maxima

A6

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

106

144

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/94 lbs.

410/454 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Audi A6:

 

Maxima

A6

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

188 G’s

238 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

591 lbs.

710 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A6 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A6. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A6 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 23 points higher than the A6.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A6 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 48 more horsepower (300 vs. 252) than the A6 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the A6 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

Maxima

A6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

93.2 MPH

Transmission

The Maxima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A6 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the A6 2.0T are solid, not vented.

The Maxima stops shorter than the A6:

 

Maxima

A6

 

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A6 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the A6, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

The Maxima SR handles at .86 G’s, while the A6 2.0T Premium Quattro pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Maxima’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the A6’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Maxima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 500 pounds less than the Audi A6.

The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A6 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Maxima has 2.2 inches more front headroom and 3.7 inches more front legroom than the A6.

Ergonomics

The Maxima has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A6 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A6 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

If the front windows are left open on the Maxima the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A6 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Maxima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A6’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Maxima has standard extendable sun visors. The A6 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Maxima with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A6’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “1” insurance rate while the A6 is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the A6 because it costs $144 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the A6, including $250 less for a water pump, $20 less for a muffler, $75 less for front brake pads, $480 less for a starter, $1203 less for fuel injection, $115 less for a fuel pump and $192 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Maxima and the Audi A6, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima second among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A6 isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Audi A6/S6 by almost five to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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