2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Audi A4

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 A4 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 A4 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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 A4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the A4 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 A4:

 

Maxima

A4

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

106

164

Neck Compression

20 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/94 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

103

236

Chest Compression

.7 inches

1 inches

Neck Stress

114 lbs.

119 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 A4:

 

Maxima

A4

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

188 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

286 lbs.

308 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

591 lbs.

777 lbs.

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

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 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

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Maxima has a 150-amp alternator. The A4’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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 14 points higher than the A4.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A4 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 112 more horsepower (300 vs. 188) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 236) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 52 more horsepower (300 vs. 248) than the A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

 

Maxima

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (18 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 A4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Maxima’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the A4:

 

Maxima

A4

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.13 inches

11.8 inches

The Maxima stops shorter than the A4:

 

Maxima

A4

 

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the A4 (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A4’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4.

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 A4 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 A4, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.

The Maxima SR handles at .86 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Maxima SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A4 Premium (26.6 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Maxima has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The A4 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

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 A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Maxima a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The Maxima has 6.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (98.5 vs. 92).

The Maxima has .5 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the A4 (14.3 vs. 13 cubic feet).

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 A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Maxima Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry 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 A4 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 A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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 A4’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 A4 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the A4 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 A4, including $297 less for a water pump, $8 less for a muffler, $49 less for front brake pads, $410 less for a starter, $130 less for a fuel pump and $587 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 31% during the 2018 model year.

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

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