2009 Nissan Maxima

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Flash Drive: 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV

By Staff of MSN Autos

With a new 290-horsepower V6 under the hood and a stylish sheet metal wrapper to go with it, this 2009 Maxima offers the look, feel and performance necessary to re-establish Nissan’s flagship vehicle as a serious player in the near-luxury sedan market. In a segment dominated by unimaginative design, the Maxima offers standout looks. The interior is just as fashionable, with high-quality materials throughout; comfort is not a problem, front or back. It is also comprehensively equipped, including an electronics package on par with anything in the segment. The navigation system is a true standout that’s easy to program, accurate and quick with the directional information. On both the highway and around town, I found the V6 and continuously variable transmission always combined to offer smooth, powerful acceleration. Steering is direct and accurate, and throttle response is immediate. It struck a nice balance between a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Bottom line, I found it to be a refined, well-balanced ride that can be both fun to drive and functional enough for everyday use. Chuck Tannert

Nissan brought back the moniker 4-Door Sports Car (4DSC) for this all-new Maxima, and while I think “sports car” might be a stretch, it’s still an impressive sedan. Seats are very comfortable, with plenty of legroom in the rear. The 290 horses provide plenty of oomph, and combined with Nissan’s excellent continuously variable transmission, the engine is kept in the peak torque when you want the power while the rpms stay low at steady speeds for impressive fuel economy. The Maxima handles well for a front-wheel-drive car; i.e., stable in corners, with precise steering. However, it becomes unsettled on uneven pavement at high speed. With a starting sticker price in the low $30K range, the Maxima is a bit more expensive than other midsize sedans on the market, but with the amenities and performance, it still feels like a good value. Perry Stern

Nissan has adopted a continuously variable transmission to help improve fuel economy, which it does, but in the Maxima the CVT also provides a super-smooth ride at all times. There are no lurches or jolts because there are no gear changes. The CVT does mean that even medium acceleration comes with significant revs from the engine. Thankfully, the interior is comfortable and well-insulated, so acceleration doesn’t come with intrusive noise. The Nissan Maxima is no longer the sportiest choice among family sedans, but it is very competitive in the category, with plenty of space and surprisingly good economy. Paul Hagger

Nissan did a great job on designing the new Maxima. The aggressive lines and attractive sheet metal look very European. The Maxima looks even better when the rear spoiler isn’t added to the trunk. Inside the car, the driver is treated with a great-looking dashboard and center console. The navigation system is taken from the Infiniti and is extremely easy to use. The leather seats are very comfortable during long commutes, and there is decent headroom and legroom in the front and rear seats. While the engine puts out almost 300 horsepower, the continuous variable transmission always has the car in the right gear for maximum fuel efficiency. I achieved 24 mpg in mixed driving. If you want an affordable 4-door sports car that has a usable trunk, you should take a look at the Maxima. Joe Chulick

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BB04 - 9/1/2014 2:13:14 PM