2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Audi S5 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 S5 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 S5 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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the S5 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.

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 S5 Sportback was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the S5 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 S5 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 S5 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 S5 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the S5 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 S5 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 S5 Sportback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Chassis

The Nissan Maxima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

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 S5 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 S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The S5 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 S5 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 S5 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 S5 Sportback does not have an oil pressure gauge.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Maxima will cost $2135 less than the S5 Sportback over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Maxima will be $9305 to $13212 less than for the Audi S5 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 S5 Sportback isn’t in the top three.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by 74% during the 2018 model year.

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

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