By on July 27, 2009

While Ford and GM consider building their mid- and full-size cars on a single platform, Toyota and Nissan are already doing it. The Avalon has been based on the Camry platform since its inception and now Nissan is giving us an Altima-based Maxima. The key to pulling this trick off successfully is differentiating the resultant cars visually and dynamically and, preferably, aiming them at different market segments. Did Nissan succeed at this mission, or did they just give us an Altimus Maximus?

Previously the Maxima was Nissan’s largest car. It still is, but it’s nowhere near full-sized. Its wheelbase is the same as the Altima’s; it’s less than an inch longer and actually has less front headroom (thanks to the standard sunroof), legroom and hip room. Its track is a bit wider but overall it casts pretty much the same shadow as its lesser brother.

Fortunately it owes more of its looks to the 370Z and the GT-R than the Altima. The taut lines are creased and folded to perfection and the view from the drivers seat over the sculpted hood and bulging front fenders is almost worth the price of admission alone. The optional spoiler perched on the edge of the rear deck looks a bit out of place but it’s the only thing I could find to bitch about in the looks department

The interior is a mixed bag. The first glance takes you to Infiniti (but not beyond). However, on closer inspection you wonder if a few e-mails got lost between the design and purchasing departments. The seats are upholstered in nice leather with classy contrasting stitching but the dashboard and doors are covered with a rubbery-feeling petrochemical derivative that looks like it should still be on the dinosaur. The electroluminescent instrument cluster could have come from an Lexus while the non-nav readout for the radio and AC controls consists of orange dot-matrix letters and toothpick numbers that brings to mind the Kia Amanti. And the “Metallic Link” (silver basketweave) plastic trim that replaces the “Piano Dot” (black dot matrix) plastic trim doesn’t add anything to the equation.

I found a few loose trim pieces inside and outside. Admittedly, they were small things but still totally inexcusable on a car that’s billed as the brand’s flagship sedan and can cost $40K when fully optioned.

Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5L VQ V6 resides under the hood, pumping out 290 hp in this application (20 more than in the Altima, but requiring premium fuel to do it). As always, it’s smooth and pulls readily to the rev limiter. As good as it is, you can’t help but wonder what the Maxima would be like with the 328 hp 3.7 from the Infiniti G37. It’ll probably never happen, though because of that pecking order thing.

Why they chose to saddle the Maxima with a CVT escapes me.  Nissan’s is arguably the best CVT in the industry and is great in their mass-market-mobiles. However,  a car with sporting pretenses needs something with real gear ratios (and preferably a third pedal). While you can put the CVT in “manual” mode and shift it with the obligatory paddles, all that does is jump the CVT abruptly between pre-programmed settings. It doesn’t really do much to help the performance and you always feel like there’s something between you and the fun, kind of like hugging Scarlett Johansson while you’re both wearing rainsuits and hockey masks.

Fortunately the transmission doesn’t affect the handling, and oh, can this baby handle. The family connection to the 370Z is readily apparent, even if it is being pulled along by the front wheels instead of pushed by the rear. Nissan’s engineers worked some kind of magic with the front suspension that totally negates torque steer and makes you forget every bad thought you ever had about front-wheel-drive handling. Just point it and it goes, with no fuss, no muss and no plowing.

The down side is that when you’re not channeling Jack Baruth, the ride with the optional sport package ($2300) is a little on the harsh side. OK, it’s a lot on the harsh side, with plenty of road noise to boot. It was so bad I actually visited my local Nissan dealer to drive a Maxima without the sport package and 19-inch high performance summer tires to see if that was the problem. The ride is quieter and much more compliant without the hoonery gear. You give up a little crispness and road feel but it’s a lot more comfortable for daily use. Unless you feel you absolutely have to wring every last g out of every corner you come to, you’d be better off leaving the box next to the sport package unchecked. (And a big thanks to Jeff Lanier at Town Center Nissan for providing a comparison car.)

The Maxima is a great road car. But is it worth $10K or more than the similarly-sized Altima? If you’re just looking for a family car to schlep groceries and the kids, the Maxima isn’t for you. But if you want a reasonably-priced mid-sized sports sedan that handles like it’s on rails it’s worth a look. Just don’t take the name literally.

(Nissan provided the car, gas and insurance for this review.)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

74 Comments on “Review: 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV, Take Two...”


  • avatar
    John R

    A crying shame, this car. Everyone knows the Maxima needs to go rear drive, but Infiniti would scream bloody murder.

    I would kill for a Maxima that was actually a de-contented G37. No satnav. No leather. Sunroof optional. Just RWD, the 300 horse motor, a half decent stereo and autolocks and mirrors. Hell, it could just have G35 motor if it made fiscal sense to Nissan. But even with just that I feel the Infiniti would still scream bloody murder.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    It begs the question: Why buy a Maxima when the G37 inhabits the same price range?

    I’ll take the Infiniti thank you…

  • avatar

    Glad to hear they fixed the torque steer. Sad to hear of the loss of the manual (4DSC my butt).

    This Maxima is much nicer looking than the previous model, however, it needs to be larger still. The previous Altima was actually larger than the previous Maxima. It’s better now, but the differences are still not big enough.

  • avatar

    The sheetmetal looks tortured to me. A friend who test drove one with me commented that there is “way too much s*** going on.”

    The steering and handling are perhaps the best among mid-sized front drive sedans.

    The price difference is far under $10,000 unless you’re comparing a base Altima four-cylinder to a Maxima SV. Compare an Altima 3.5 SL with the Maxima SV, and the MSRP difference is about $4,500. Adjusting for feature differences cuts this to about $3,000. So the real question: is the Maxima worth another $3,000?

    TrueDelta doesn’t have reliability stats for the 2009 Maxima yet. Possibly in November. Additional participants in out Car Reliability Survey always helpful:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I totally forgot this car was for sale. I saw one in NYC the week they came out and then nothing. Are these selling anywhere?

  • avatar
    osnofla

    what does SV stand for? I’m guessing it’s not super veloce

  • avatar
    oldsnwbrdr

    I rented one of these in Houston and enjoyed the car immensely. Overall I think the car is underrated.

    I think Nissan deserves credit for downsizing the Maxima, instead of following the market trend of continually upsizing the car with a redesign (e.g., Acura TL and TSX).

    I threw the car into corners and slammed the accelerator and noted NO torque steer… unlike previous editions of the Maxima, where the torque nearly ripped the wheel right out of my hands.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Beating a dead horse here, but I just don’t see any room between Altima and G37 for this car. The Maxima lost its way years ago, when the Altima grew up, and should probably be retired.

  • avatar

    don1967:

    My initial reaction was that the G37 is at least a few thousand more. But the price difference is actully about $1,300.

    So, yeah, not much room between the two.

    Price comparisons can be generated here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

  • avatar
    John R

    @dolo54:

    They’re all over L.I. last time I was there in June. And I see at least 3 a week down here in DE.

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    As a previous Maxima owner (’97 SE, 5 spd) it is so sad to see where the nameplate has gone over time.

    Nissan has failed so miserably at bringing us a true re-iteration of the 4DSC, that it escapes me how it got to this vehicle.

    I know they are challenged with brand overlap with the G37, and that is likely the core factor which caused this generation’s total miss.

    They should have offered it as a practical, 4 door GT-R essentially. Put the 3.7L VQ with a DSG transmission, going to all 4 wheels. That would be different enough from the G’s offering to minimize cannibalism, and it would have actually achieved it’s target goals of being a 4 door sports car.
    Instead we get a FWD CVT with a middle-of-the-road engine.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    These are all over the place around Metro Boston.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I owned an 82 Datsun Maxima (in line 6), an 87 and 96. Back in the day they were good cars, and reliable. But time marches on, the styling deteriorated into ever more blandness, and what was the point? I saw a new one the other day (these things seem very scarce), and it stirred nothing in my psyche that closely approached, “I’d sure like to own THAT.” In fact, if I hadn’t realized it was a Maxima, and given my past history, I’d have ignored it. I’m guessing the Maxima remains a competent family car, and there’s nothing really wrong with that.

  • avatar
    wsn

    If cost is of no concern, then this is a good sedan. But realistically, cost is always a concern, even for a Ferrari.

    I just don’t see it worth $10k more than a V6 Accord or V6 Camry SE. It’s as expensive as, if not more than, a Lexus ES. If you are really into the “handling” thing, you can get a G37 or 328 for similar prices.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    it’s nowhere near full-sized

    the optional spoiler perched on the edge of the rear deck looks a bit out of place

    the interior is a mixed bag

    I found a few loose trim pieces inside and outside

    why they chose to saddle the Maxima with a CVT escapes me

    the ride with the optional sport package ($2300) is a little on the harsh side. OK, it’s a lot on the harsh side, with plenty of road noise to boot

    That’s a lot of negativity for a 4-star car. Why not 3 stars? Would a Chevy with these strikes against it earn 4 stars?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I just don’t see it worth $10k more than a V6 Accord or V6 Camry SE.

    Or, as others have pointed out, the Altima. It’s definitely not exciting…but considering how much I drive for business, in almost two years mine has definitely been a good handling, comfortable and affordable daily driver. Not that this inspires passion for a vehicle, but it’s the only vehicle I’ve ever owned that had not one single fit and finish flaw at delivery, nor has it needed a single repair during the warranty period.

    I’ve owned three Maximas, and also feel as though this model has lost whatever it was that made its predecessors so desirable.

  • avatar

    I know I’m in the minority, but if I am going to buy a performance car, it has to have a stick. Full stop. End.

    I don’t want a layer of automation between me and the driving experience, and I have yet to drive a manually-overridable automatic that makes me not wish it were a real manual.

    Luckily there are lots of performance-oriented sedans that do have sticks… sorry, Nissan.

  • avatar

    gslippy:
    That’s a lot of negativity for a 4-star car. Why not 3 stars? Would a Chevy with these strikes against it earn 4 stars?

    The overall rating is an average of the ratings in each individual category. Those items rated above average were enough to offset those rated below average when I did the math and rounded to the nearest whole number. And a Chevy (or any other car) that got the same individual scores would get the same overall rating.

  • avatar
    NN

    I’ve got a friend looking at a 4-cyl CVT Altima, and although the rest of the car is nice, I told him that I didn’t trust CVT’s in general and to stay away from it. Reliability is suspect and the driving experience is downright strange. I know Nissan makes the best CVT’s apparently, but that may not mean much. Do any of you guys know how well these CVT’s are holding up on long term durability?

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    Nissan wins the “me too” prize for the thickest chrome trim on the rear doors. Take that Lexus!

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    NN:

    I have no stats regarding CVT, but I am also suspect of them. Especially after my friend’s 2007 Murano puked a CVT at just 15,000 miles.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    As the original (and still) owner of an original 4DSC, I rather like this Maxima.

    I still can’t warm up to the nose, but it has a lot of the same virtues as the original: the front seat is comfy and big enough for a big guy, the FWD gets you by in a Midwestern winter, and it has a nice ride-handling compromise. Please note that the G can’t make at least 2 of these 3 statements. And as the trump card, for its time and category it brings a LOT of performance.

    As for the price, I actually prefer the base model. It has cloth instead of stick-to-me leather (ventilated seats are 2 price levels up), the idiotic dual sunroofs and utterly unconvincing fake wood are missing, and you don’t suffer the pointlessly stiff sport suspension.

    I’m seeing these advertised for under $24K new, which makes this car a much more tolerable value proposition. The only glaring omission is sat radio, which you don’t get and can’t add to the base model S — not even via the aftermarket, since they’ve thoroughly screwed up the radio controls and displays just to hamstring the buyer from having audio options. This clever profit strategy crosses the Maxima off my list; hope they’re proud of themselves.

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    I test drove the 2009 with CVT, my only complaint was no third pedal. It’s good to hear they got the torque steer thing handled. I bought a 2005 Maxima SE 6-spd and it wants to dive into the guard rail whenever the pedal is down.

    Nissan’s 3.5 VQ and FWD w/o a LSD makes for a death car.

  • avatar

    NN
    Do any of you guys know how well these CVT’s are holding up on long term durability?

    Audi has used them since 2000 and I haven’t heard anything about problems with durability there. I also haven’t heard about any problems with Nissan’s, although apparantly there were some issues with the one Ford used in the 500 and Freestyle a few years back.

  • avatar
    Ach

    Nice car but as noted above, a FWD sport sedan doesn’t make sense at this price point. Why would anyone buy this over a G37 (or the numerous other cars available in the mid-30’s, which is where this ends up when decently equipped)? It’s not like FWD is going to provide any bad weather traction advantages with those wide, low-profile tires. And if I wanted to go the luxo-barge route I probably would go with the Taurus.

  • avatar

    I agree on the stripper-G37 Sedan idea. That is a good one.

    The car Nissan should be pitting this against is a BMW 5-series; or at least as a losing-but-scrappy contender.

    It is a little hard to imagine the 4DSC idea if it’s not RWD and following the spiritual trail of the M5.


    now if someone could just explain to me why the Sentra and the Versa were designed to be even fuglier than the Maxima’s front end…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    SupaMan :
    July 27th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    It begs the question: Why buy a Maxima when the G37 inhabits the same price range?

    I’ll take the Infiniti thank you…

    The G37’s definitely a brilliant car, but it has a major disadvantage compared to the Maxima: a very tight back seat. The Maxima’s greater interior room is due to its FWD platform; the G37 is RWD, so it’s not as space-efficient.

    Otherwise, yeah, I don’t see why anyone spending in the high 30s for a Maxima wouldn’t pop for a G37 instead.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    I got to drive one and I think it’s a fantastic car. Call it blasphemy, but I found the CVT more enjoyable to drive than the manual 6 in the Altima, which I found a bit recalcitrant. I’ve rented quite a few Nissans with CVT’s, and they’ve held up well (some had 30+k on them), but I don’t know if that says anything about 100k+ reliability.

    I don’t understand why people think the Maxima should be RWD- a RWD Maxima is essentially an Infiniti G37. IMO, the Maxima competes with the Acura TL and Volkswagen CC/Passat- people who want sporty handling but also prefer the weight/fuel economy/packaging/ snow performance of FWD and don’t quite want the ownership costs of a luxury marque.

  • avatar
    NYCDRIVER

    There is a reason that the vast majority of G37 sedans sold in the NYC tri-state area are the G37x model. Quite simply RWD without dedicated snow tires absolutely sucks when the weather gets bad. And don’t give me any of that crap about Traction Control, because it is all but useless when the rear wheels cant bite and get a grip.

    A Maxima with 19″ wheels and A/S tires will get you just about anywhere a G37x will in the snow, at the same time it will be roomier inside and will be able to fit an extra large suitcase or two in the trunk. Recently I had to forgo a G37x rental simple because it did not have enough cargo room for 3 people.

    A loaded Maxima tops out at less than 40 grand. A G37x equiped to the same level is a good ten grand more. There is a big difference! Now, a G37 is a much nicer car than a Maxima and I know for a fact that it is a better driver, but in reality the Maxima IS fun to drive.

    There are a lot of folks out there that actually like FWD cars and find the handling of some to be fine if not excellent in normal day to day use. For many the larger back seat and trunk are more important.

    I also remember folks that would drive a loaded Buick or Mercury but would never drive a Caddy or Lincoln becuase it made them look “smarter” and more financially prudent. The same goes today for Maxima and G37 drivers or Avalon and ES350 drivers.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    The only reason I think the Maxima exists is so that the q45 can be built (again)

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    @FreedMike: Otherwise, yeah, I don’t see why anyone spending in the high 30s for a Maxima wouldn’t pop for a G37 instead.
    I agree, but I can actually think of a reason: A lack of Infiniti dealers in some fairly populated areas of the flyover states. In the extreme northwest corner of Arkansas, for example (where I now live) the population of the MSA is close to 500,000, and composed of mostly transplants from the coasts and the upper Midwest (there are Fortune 500 companies and a major university located here, so no redneck jokes, please). But the nearest Infiniti or Lexus dealer is over 100 miles away; maintenance and service becomes a major pain for me if I have to drive to Tulsa or Springfield, Missouri. True, the need for service is relatively rare, but for some it is a consideration.

    @NN: I’ve got a friend looking at a 4-cyl CVT Altima, and although the rest of the car is nice, I told him that I didn’t trust CVT’s in general and to stay away from it. Reliability is suspect…
    I defer to Michael Karesh to provide us with TrueDelta data on this, but I will say that Consumer Reports’ owner reliability surveys show that – with the exception of the Murano’s first year of production (2003, with CVT standard) – Nissan’s CVT-equipped models have been extremely reliable in both the areas of “Transmission – Major” and “Transmission – Minor.” I’ll admit that I was skeptical when I considered the Altima, because quite frankly, it just seems as though a belt can’t match the robustness of gears, but then remembered hearing that my grandfather had the same concerns about Hydramatic well into the 1950s – which turned out to be unfounded. Theoretically, one would think that a four-cylinder Altima would be even less apt to have CVT issues, since the amount of torque loaded into the transmission is is less (however, this may be a moot point…the four-cylinder Altima uses a slightly different Jatco unit from the one used in the six-cylinder model, the Maxima and Murano).

  • avatar
    dgduris

    The more I see these on the streets, the more I like it…the outside, at least.

    And, I think: “What a shame! 4 Door Sports Car? What’s in a name?”

    Obviously nothing truthful for, as anyone can see: FWD and CVT make no 4dsc.

    At least for me!

  • avatar
    don1967

    The CVT is actually very sporty, if you think of sportiness in a speed boat/F-16 kinda way. I mean that sincerely.

    Unfortunately, my opinion about longevity is not so positive. The idea of a belt-driven transmission from the same company which slapped together my 2004 Quest (a poorly-built, cost-cut POS which forever shook my faith in Nissan) sends chills up my spine. Yeah, I know they don’t build the CVT themselves. But you still wouldn’t catch me owning one outside of warranty.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    NYCDRIVER :
    July 27th, 2009 at 7:28 pm
    A loaded Maxima tops out at less than 40 grand. A G37x equiped to the same level is a good ten grand more. There is a big difference! Now, a G37 is a much nicer car than a Maxima and I know for a fact that it is a better driver, but in reality the Maxima IS fun to drive.

    Actually, not to contradict you, but a G37 AWD with the sports and technology packages comes in around $42K. I’ve been considering a candy apple red one at my local Infiniti store.

    I haven’t really considered the Maxima; maybe I’ll check one out. But after driving performance oriented FWD sedans for years, there’s no comparison handling-wise between even the best of them and a proper RWD car like the G37. I just wish you could shut off the AWD system for the summer months.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    FWD and CVT make no 4dsc.

    Lest we forget, the original 4DSC of 1989 was front wheel drive.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    The center console ruins the car.

  • avatar
    Lug Nuts

    I see these everywhere in southern FL. Nearly all are obvious rentals. On the other hand, they seem virtually non-existent around Washington, DC. Photos do not do the car much justice. It’s quite the looker in person compared to the Accord and Camry. That said, I see this car as no more than a direct competitor to the Camry V6 and Accord V6. I cannot conceive of spending upper 30s for it. $27-30K seems more like it, especially considering the uninspiring CVT. Not surprisingly, no haggle price in my neck of the woods is $28.3K for a well- equipped SV, the same model reviewed above. No haggle price for the S model is $26.5K. Both prices about $5K below MSRP. For discounts that big, it seems well worth a second and third look for people in the market for a sporty family sedan.

  • avatar
    jenkins190

    I think the first review of this car said it best regarding the “smeared mascara” headlights…They look absolutely awful. I have a hard time getting past them to see anything else.

    Shame what’s become of the Maxima.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    BuzzDog: But, NW Arkansas has an Acura dealer, right? (I’ll admit that this Maxima looks better than late-model Acura sedans.)

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Correct, mtypex. Acura, Benz, BMW, but no Lexus or Infiniti.

    Acura missed my short list…used to really like them, but today if I wanted a vehicle with a “cow catcher,” I would buy an old locomotive.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    There’s only one reason people EVER bought a Maxima in the past 3 generations (since 1995). At least the smart ones… It’s called an $5,000 – $10,000 discount. This one will be no different. So comparing MSRP’s is a waste of time. Eventually it will only be a few more grand than a nicely optioned Camry V6/Accord V6. Then it becomes a car you go ‘Hmmmmm’ about.

  • avatar

    True story: I begged/pleaded my father into buying a black ’87 Maxima SE five-speed as his daily driver. It was a bad-assed car for the era and he put 52,000 trouble-free miles on it in just 22 months before selling it in favor of a Jaguar XJ6 that rarely went a month without meeting a tow truck.

    The 1989 Maxima SE, with its magical reversing dashboard, entranced me so much that I rode my BMX bike 12 miles to look at one the day they arrived at my local dealer.

    I thought long and hard about buying a 2003 six-speed because I saw the photos of the ’04 and knew they were about to ruin the car the rest of the way.

    What I’m saying: I’m a Maxima fan. But this car does nothing, nada, zip for me. Without a six-speed and a truly aggressive visual package, it’s just a remixed Altima to me.

    Nissan! Are you listening? Maxima SE-R, six-speed, 3.7 liter. $34,999. See you at the dealership, I’ll be the guy in the white 993.

  • avatar
    V6

    i’ve always had a soft spot for the Maxima. the north american Nissan lineup is somewhat crowded though, here we have Tiida (Versa) and the next car up is Maxima, you N.A has the Sentra and Altima inbetween and the G37 above which we also don’t have.

    the Maxima starts here at not much more than 4 cylinder Camry money too

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Jack –

    THANK YOU!!! Like you, we were a Maxima family for years – two 1990s (1 GXE, 1 SE with the first of its kind dash and the great for 1990 Bose stereo) and then a 1995 SE with a stick.

    Those cars didn’t die. We had to take them out back and shoot them.

    I’ll be right behind you with the $34,999 Maxima SE-R payment…but I don’t have a white 993. I do love Maximas though, and yes, this current generation looks much better in person than in pictures, especially in dark colors.

    I’ll second the pro-FWD in the north argument also…I’ll say at least 75% of the G35/37’s here in SW Ohio are of the “x” variety because we have way too many hills and we can get way too much snow. I’ve also seen a lot of non-rental Maximas on the roads. Maybe the jump above 40K for the AWD G-series is too much. Maybe people want the loaded to the gills Maxima compared to the not-quite-as-loaded G. Maybe people want the FWD instead of the extra weight and possible maintenance issues and higher cost of the AWD system in the G3*x.

    I still like both of them though and if there was no snow to worry about, give me the G.

  • avatar
    puppyknuckles

    My ’92 Maxima SE was, admittedly, a FWD 4-door sedan, but that little 4DSC sticker on the window made a lot more sense to me on that car. The 190hp VE30DE engine with LSD, the 5-speed manual transmission, and taut styling added up to something that felt, well, sporty. In Brooklyn, tons of people would notice that car back in the day, black on tan leather, sunroof, white gauges. It felt fast, too. After the Taurus I had owned since the day I got my license, it felt downright mean.

    In Colorado recently I rented a car to drive from Denver to Vail and back, and I was handed the keys to the ’09 Maxima. I hadn’t really thought about the Maxima too much the last few years; the 2004 model being so ugly I just started looking away as soon as one would enter my vision, as if my high school girlfriend kept showing up around town but 200 pounds heavier and bald. But after years of looking somewhere between boring and terrible, the new Maxima actually looks purposeful again. I was getting a little excited by the time I sat in the nicely stitched leather seat, and thought, “100 more horsepower than my ’92!” But the CVT spoiled the fun quickly, unfortunately. It felt like nowhere near 290 hp thanks to the rubberband in the tranny. Sigh. It was a great cruiser, nice and quiet, but I knew Nissan had lost the plot a little bit when I got out and saw that same 4DSC sticker on the window.

  • avatar
    pmmatty

    I have read all of the above comments. Following are mine. I have owned the 2009 maxima sv for about 2 months and love the car. The research I did before purchase was extensive.

    If I can summarize many of the previous comments, they go like this: its not a g37; it doesn’t have rear wheel drive; its not worth the money; its an altima in disguise.

    I purchased my max for 29,500. A comparable g37 would sell for 36,500. The max looks awesome- why would I want an altima when there are thousands on the road: I want a car which is somewhat unique.

    So here is what I see: the max looks and drives great. I think it is more distinctive than the g37. Unless you drive on the track, why does anyone really need 328 horsepower (g37) when the 290 on the max will probably never be used. Why do you need rear wheel drive? I’ve put my max through tight turns and it holds like glue.

    So for 29,500 I have a great looking car with plenty of power, all the bells and whistles, and uniqueness to boot.

    I only hope they don’t sell more so I can stay somewhat unique.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I like a Gun Metallic Nissan Maxima.

    I like this Maxima the best model ever. I always wonder, why it looks so heavy and drives so heavy.

    Because it’s a Van disguise as a Car. I think it’s pretty descent car for those who likes to be a family man without being teased. Hey! Would rather drive a car that drives like a Van or drive a real Van?

    You choose?

    And please it’s not a 4 door sport sedan and it will never be. Nissan is excellent on interior and exterior looks but it’s almost there but not quite.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Two words: Tail lights.

    FTL.

  • avatar
    Gerrr

    It does not matter what anyone says about this car. The only thing that matters is that it sells. When care sales are down -25% to -30% maxima sales are up 60% to 80%. This car sells way more than the 09 G37 and 09 Acura TL.

    This car does everything well (not great). It is not the fastest, best handling, luxurious, largest interior but is strikes the best balance between the 4.

    A regular driver who wants some sporting intentions with the balance of luxury. I hate to say this but it is like the “Camry” of sport sedans.

    That being said I think nissan can plurge and give the enthusists a maxima (SR) with a 6 speed stick, higher reving engine and their new rev match technology (in 370z). Then they can put that sticker in the back window of the car after I buy one.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    But I’m still wondering why this car SELLS ALOT like pancakes.

    I think the roomy interior that makes it buyable.
    I think some consumer never think about horsepower when they buy a car. you asked them and they don’t even know. as long the car as a roomy interior made by Honda, Toyota or Nissan they will buy the car and forget about the rest.

    Nissan cars doesn’t really perform well on acceleration and cornering except for the Nissan GT-R.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I don’t get the G-37 comparison with the Maxima. totally 2 different cars.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    BEAT :
    July 28th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Nissan cars doesn’t really perform well on acceleration and cornering except for the Nissan GT-R.

    Oh please. So the 370z which can do 0-60 in under 5 seconds and pull almost 1G on the skidpad can’t corner? If the 370Z was a Mitsubishi, you’d be praising it.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Oh please the Nissan 370z is just another sports car that nobody buy. count how many kids out there with money that drives a Lancer GTS or Evo and compared to the Nissan 370z tank?

    Nissan, I had 1 Nissan cars 90s and 2000s models they all heavy to steer, drive and tell me if you can use 1 fingers doing 65 per hour on a curve. try doing that with a Z with 1 fingers. I can do that with my regular Lancer ES.

    By the way check the old EVO 8 versus Lambo.
    That’s the old Evo just imagine the new Evo X
    against the Lambo. A tiny 4 liter engine against a V-12 Lambo.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AMIoQUCEvY
    case closed!

    That’s how you buy a car and test it not because it looks like a sports car you will buy them or made by a famous Japanese car maker. tsk tsk tsk

    I bought My 2088 Lancer because I saw this clip but turbo lag is another story
    Watch the new FQ400 EVO x on top gear versus the Subaru WRX.

    if the FQ400 does a turn in 1 finger the possibilty of a regular Lancer doing it is the same. I tried and it work. Believe it or not

  • avatar
    wsn

    Gerrr :
    July 28th, 2009 at 8:24 am

    It does not matter what anyone says about this car. The only thing that matters is that it sells. When care sales are down -25% to -30% maxima sales are up 60% to 80%. This car sells way more than the 09 G37 and 09 Acura TL.
    ————————————————

    If sales number is what matters than the Maxima is a big no no.

    Camry is the No.1 selling car in the US; Accord is the No.2. Both sold around 400k last year. How many did Maxima sell?

    It doesn’t matter that the sale increased. It’s a new model and it has inconsequential sales number to begin with.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    That’s the thing though.

    It’s like buying an Avalon (or Camry XLE) when there’s an ES350 at the Lexus dealership across the street.

    If I want a FWD sports sedan, I’ll buy an Altima SE (at least THAT comes with a 6 speed manual). But if I’m spending anywhere above $35-$45 grand, I’ll step to the Infiniti G37.

    And while the Camry/Avalon/ES are just different dresses for the same chassis, a FWD like the Maxima pretending to be a sports car is just bonkers. G37 please (for the same money….nix AWD, I’m in South Florida).

    The Maxima worked in the late 80s and 90s when there was no G35/G37 to speak of in the same price range. With the Infiniti living in the same range however, I fail to see the logic of spending that kind of money on a Maxima…unless of course I was a die hard fan….which I’m not.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    I will never buy a car with a CVT. I may be old school, but I need a relation between engine speed and road speed when I drive.

  • avatar
    diesel24

    according to edmunds the msrp on a loaded up maxima is over 47k (I just checked all the option boxes), the tmv was around 43k which is more reasonable. If I were looking for a large car around 40k I would go with the Taurus SHO, you get 75 more horses and AWD.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    BEAT :
    July 28th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Oh please the Nissan 370z is just another sports car that nobody buy. count how many kids out there with money that drives a Lancer GTS or Evo and compared to the Nissan 370z tank?

    Did you actually look up the numbers? I doubt it. What were the EVO sales this year as compared to the 370Z?

    Nissan, I had 1 Nissan cars 90s and 2000s models they all heavy to steer, drive and tell me if you can use 1 fingers doing 65 per hour on a curve. try doing that with a Z with 1 fingers. I can do that with my regular Lancer ES.

    Yes, because the ability to drive a car with 1 finger is the ultimate test of a car.

    By the way check the old EVO 8 versus Lambo.
    That’s the old Evo just imagine the new Evo X
    against the Lambo. A tiny 4 liter engine against a V-12 Lambo.

    case closed!

    The Evo 8 stats are similar to the 370Z. Put the 370Z in the same video, and it would show the same results.

    I’m not quite sure why you can’t appreciate a Nissan. You seem to appear in every Nissan review bashing whatever model they’re reviewing.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Edmunds is woefully inaccurate. I prefer carsdirect as it gives a more accurate figure for the actual selling price, depending on your locale. I just priced a Maxima SV with the Premium Tech package, floormats, and splash guards and the net cost (with rebate) comes to $33,800. YMMV.

    If you want AWD, the Infiniti G37x (w/ 7-speed, Premium, Nav and Tech pkgs, Burr Brown sound system) can be had for $37,131. Even better is a lease: 3 years, 15K miles-per-year, 57% residual and .00123 MF. (Lease data courtesy Ride with G.)

    Edit: Longer warranty, too: 5 years/60K miles.

    I’d be surprised if Ford puts rebates on the SHO’s hood in its first year.

    Or not.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The Maxima worked in the late 80s and 90s when there was no G35/G37 to speak of in the same price range. With the Infiniti living in the same range however, I fail to see the logic of spending that kind of money on a Maxima…unless of course I was a die hard fan….which I’m not.

    Most people don’t need rwd. The money (and space) that goes into it is better spend elsewhere.

    I’m not quite sure why you can’t appreciate a Nissan. You seem to appear in every Nissan review bashing whatever model they’re reviewing.

    He received a head injury when he owned that nissan, which he blames on the car to this very day.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I’d like to see Nissan re-imagine the Maxima as a true flagship for its mainstream brand, rather than a gussied up Altima. Basically, a simplified M35 – large, RWD, with a choice of transmissions.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Mitsubishi of America has a Love Hate Relationship with the American consumer. I think hiring people from Leo Burnett can help.

    The company since 1917 has been making cars. The company is only 25 yrs in America. Probably if the company was introduced in 1946. A lot of American consumers will be buying Mitsu cars but not really. The Sales for 25 years was never been high or low but Mitsu group of campanies never really cared of car sales because car making is only a fraction of their profit compared to other products they sold around the world., the only country that is low on car sales is America but compared to Asia,Europe and Africa sales of Mitsubishi cars are competitive.

    The MAJORITY OF AMERICAN CONSUMERS started buying Japanese cars after that long long line in the late 70’s and really started to grow on sales during the 90’s. Honda Toyota, Mazda and Nissan or Subaru.

    These Japanese companies are car manufacturers especially Toyota, Nissan and Mazda but Honda is like Mitsubishi they make almost everything.

    Mitsu a Japanese company who really didn’t care about looks of their cars but perfected the Suspension and Steering.

    Now introduced a lot of Engineering marvels in the Rally world of rough riding like YAW Control, Active Center Differential, etc etc and sorry to include the 650 and the 750 watts rockford fosgate audio system or just the 140 watts sound system is the best in the market today compared to Honda and Toyota stereo systems.

    but sad a lot of stereo type American consumers doesn’t know that.

    That’s all

  • avatar
    farside808

    I looked at the Maxima. I tried to bargain hard on a lease. They came back asking for almost $550 per month. Literally, I walked across the parking lot to the Infiniti dealership (with Nissan salesmen taking customers to the roof), and got a ’09 G37 sedan (base model, natch) for well under $400 per month.

    I railed the salesman in the Nissan dealership beforehand. I said that the Maxima does more to sell Altimas than anything Honda or Toyota can come up with. I told the fleet manager that I’m sure that when people see the Maxima and then they see the price, it’s a simple “Maybe we should look at the Altima” and a deal is done. He couldn’t help but crack a smile.

    It drives great, but why you wouldn’t get a G37, I don’t understand.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    What I also don’t understand is why Nissan has such a difficult time keeping their flagship cars special compared to the rest of the lineup.

    Nissan shot themselves in the foot when the Altima came out with the 3.5SE model and was almost the same size and had the same engine…and cost less. They could have made that mid-2000’s Maxima into something better with a different engine and feel, but they didn’t and now the Maxima is in a Taurus of the same era death spiral.

    The Q45 was another example. They botched the promotion work when it first came out (water, twigs, and rocks won’t sell cars) and then the second generation was the best example of “huh???” and then that was pretty much it for it. They had that generation with the “gatlig-gun” lamps but you see so few on the road.

    The powerful G and the very comfortable M sealed the Q’s fate.

    They aren’t alone – see Acura TL and RL.

  • avatar
    osnofla

    what is BEAT talking about?

  • avatar
    segar925

    Having been an owner of numerous Honda & Nissan vehicles, here’s my two cents on the new Maxima:
    1. It’s way better than the two previous Maximas.
    2. Looks much better in the flesh than in photos.
    3. Other FWD competitors are either too generic (Accord, Camary) or down right ugly (Acura TL).
    4. It’s no G-37, but it’s the best FWD alternative and several thousand $$ less.
    Sure, I’d rather have a 6 speed Maxima because almost every vehicle I’ve owned in the last 35 years was a standard, but the CVT is much better than the annoyance of an automatic that constantly shifts up, down & in-out of overdrive.
    The Maxima CVT is the ONLY automatic I’ve found that’s tolerable for this hard-core manual trans guy. I also prefer a FWD sedan because it goes everywhere 365 days a year without the added expense & maintenance of AWD. So the new Maxima is by far the best sport sedan for me. Honda’s bizare styling cost them my business and the new TL is Butt-ugly. My 1999 Maxima has been absolutely trouble-free & unlike a Honda or Toyota V-6, it will never need a new timing belt. I’m convinced Nissans are every bit as dependable as a Toyota or Honda and often Nissans are less expensive.

  • avatar
    Power6

    with 1 fingers. I can do that with my regular Lancer ES.

    That is because you are going slow in a Lancer ES, and it is tuned for ease of parking.

    You are always comparing your bargain basement Lancer to performance models, it’s not the same ball game. The ES is not an Evo, heck the Ralliart isn’t even close.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Say what you will but the new Maxima has a visual presence like few other “normal” cars on the road today; like a blond with long legs, good boobs, nice hair, and who cares about the face?

  • avatar
    davey49

    Maybe your issue with the CVT + sporty car is your problem. Stop thinking of the Maxima as a sporty car

    “and sorry to include the 650 and the 750 watts rockford fosgate audio system or just the 140 watts sound system is the best in the market today”

    Mark Levinson (lexus), Dynaudio,(VW, Audi, Volvo) B&O,(Audi) and the THX system in Lincolns are generally considered the best.
    The Ford systems seem to be the most well liked for regular cars

  • avatar
    davey49

    “count how many kids out there with money that drives a Lancer GTS or Evo and compared to the Nissan 370z tank?”

    Mitsu sold 1712 Lancers in July, that’s every model. ES, GTS, Ralliart, Evo
    Nissan sold 890 370Zs
    The smart people here can figure out why your statement is bogus.
    “Kids” don’t buy enough cars to matter. Old farts are where it’s at, and the Maxima is a great old fart car.

  • avatar
    segar925

    The Nissan 370Z is far superior to any Mitsubishi and the resale value 8-10 years down the road will be twice that of a Lancer.

    High mileage Mitsubishi engines are notorious for burning oil because their piston rings are thin. I had a Mitsu 3.0 V-6 in a Chrysler Minivan that started using oil at about 120K.

    Nissan’s V-6 is one of the best engines out there, of any size, period.

  • avatar
    SheriffBooth

    I’ve actually been cross-shopping the Maxima and G37 and there seems to be a wrong assumption above that the Maxima is a bigger car.  G37 actually has more front and rear headroom and legroom.  I was astonished, especially with the rear legroom numbers (G37 = 34.7″ rear, Maxima = 34.6″ rear).  With the minimal price difference in MSRP, the G37 sedan seems to be a no-brainer on every level.

  • avatar

    If this car had a 6-speed manual, I’d buy it tomorrow.

  • avatar
    ttchiu

    I just bought a brand new 2011 Maxima SV Sport. For a FWD car it handles great but then again I don’t corner that hard. As for power sure it’s 290 hp vs 328 hp but the G37 is about 200 pounds more and is only slighty faster. I’m comparing automatic transmissions. The CVT is not as bad as everyone says. But yes I prefer a regular automatic transmission. And yes I’m concerned about the reliability of the CVT. I didn’t really consider the G37 until I read all these comments comparing the two. I was actually looking at FWD cars so I can drive in bad weather. I wasn’t going to look at AWD cars because of the extra maintenace and the extra cost of them. Too late now I already bought the car. Oh the Maxima is a lot nicer than the Altima. I bought a brand new 2011 Maxima SV Sport in late January of 2012 and got a huge discount. I got $10,000 off sticker price. Yes the Maxima is kinda over priced but I feel better that I paid only $28,500 for a car that stickered just shy of $38,000 I highly doubt that Infinity could have knocked off 10 grand off the sticker price of the G37. I also looked at the BMW 328i and the Audi A4 Quattro. I was afraid of the cost of repairs for the German cars plus they didn’t discount much. I like the styling of the Maxima on the outside and the inside. It was FWD and was a good deal. That’s why I bought the car. Plus why do you want a manual in such a big car. I have a 1999 Trans Am pushing about 375 horses if I want to go fast and corner hard…albeit the Pontiac is mated to a 4 speed slush box:( It does pull like a raped ape and does a 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and finishes the quarter in 13.1 seconds. Pretty damn fast for an automatic. For drag racing automatic is the way to go…for curvy roads not so much. Bottom line just buy what makes you happy…it’s your money after all. I’m happy about my purchase…it’s abig step up from the car I replaced. I had a very basic 1993 Ford Taurus with 198,284 miles on it when I traded it in for $500. Ha…it did not have any major problems.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States