2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Buick Regal 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Maxima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Regal Sportback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the Regal Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 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 Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Regal 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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 5 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (300 vs. 250) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 260) than the Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (300 vs. 250) than the Regal Sportback’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Regal Sportback GS 3.6 DOHC V6:

 

Maxima

Regal Sportback

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

98.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Regal Sportback (18 vs. 16.3 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 Regal Sportback 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 on the Regal Sportback are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the Regal Sportback (245/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).

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 Regal Sportback’s standard 55 series tires.

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

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 Regal 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 Regal Sportback, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling

The Maxima SR handles at .86 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .83 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 Regal Sportback’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet). The Maxima’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (38.1 feet vs. 41 feet).

Passenger Space

The Maxima has .6 inches more front headroom, 2.9 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The Regal Sportback’s hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Maxima. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

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 Regal Sportback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Maxima’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Regal Sportback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Maxima Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Maxima SR/Platinum detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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

Both the Maxima and the Regal Sportback offer available heated front seats. The Maxima also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Regal Sportback.

The Maxima has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Regal Sportback.

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 Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because it costs $423 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the Regal Sportback, including $377 less for a water pump, $450 less for a muffler, $133 less for front brake pads, $217 less for a starter, $45 less for front struts and $147 less for a power steering pump.

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 Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Buick Regal by almost four to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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