Raleigh, North Carolina - After only a four-year run, Nissan has chosen to replace the current-generation Maxima with a completely new version that seems to elevate the car into a whole new stratum within the mid-size sedan segment.
Liquid Motion design theme
Nissan refers to the fluidity of the new Maxima's exterior styling as Liquid Motion. The flowing lines and billowing, softly-sculpted body panels attest to this theme while skewing one's perception into believing that the car is larger and more substantial in mass than the one it replaces. In fact, the wheelbase and overall length of the new platform is slightly shorter than before but that reduction is more than made-up for in extra width, increased body rigidity and a tighter turning radius.
I was particularly fond of the unique, angular styling of the 2004-2008 Maxima. The 2009 iteration of this sporty front-wheel-drive mid-size is quite a departure stylistically. It took a tremendous amount of cooperation between the designers and engineers to succeed in creating a four-door sedan that shows off a svelte waistline, which is the slimmer middle portion of the car, giving it its pronounced fenders and hourglass shape.
The cabin has been completely redone as well. This isn't just a re-wrapping of a once-given present but a complete from-the-doorsills-up reconstruction. Nissan revisionists expended plenty of energy in creating a visually stunning yet highly functional layout that places all controls and instruments easily within the driver's reach.
Perhaps most worthy of praise in the new cockpit are its seats; the four primary perches provide outstanding comfort and support. └ la German machinery, Nissan has built a pullout thigh bolster (support) into the driver's seat. I question why this simple yet marvelously supportive mechanism has not been more widely adopted. As the owner of two long thighbones, I find this provision heaven-sent when enduring long stints behind the wheel.
Same great engine generates higher heat
Nissan's award-winning VQ-series 3.5-litre DOHC 24-valve V6 engine has been reworked to increase its output to 290 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque. The increase in temperature comes from new, more advanced variable valve timing technology. A spin-off benefit is an increase in fuel efficiency. The car is now rated at 10.8 and 7.7 litres of fuel per 100K of city and highway driving, respectively.
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