2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the A5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 A5 Sportback:

 

Maxima

A5 Sportback

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 A5 Sportback:

 

Maxima

A5 Sportback

 

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.

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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A5 Sportback 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 52 more horsepower (300 vs. 248) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A5 Sportback (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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a CVT.

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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback, it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Chassis

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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Maxima has 3.7 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The A5 Sportback’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback 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 A5 Sportback’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

A power rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Maxima will be $744 to $2610 less than for the Audi A5 Sportback.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, 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 A5 Sportback isn’t in the top three.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 74% during the 2018 model year.

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

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