The 2009 Nissan Maxima is renowned for being Nissan's flagship sedan car, but its roots fall in the sports car territory, albeit of the four-door variety. The car looks good and offers a fun driving experience, with just enough comfort and luxury to make it a good buy. This front-drive car has a quick V-6 engine that produces 290 hp, but it does prefer the more expensive gas. You'll find it gives a smooth ride, even on bumpy roads, due to its good suspension.
As a four-door sedan, it’s family friendly without being stodgy, so if you want something that looks and feels fun to drive without compromising on space for your family, then this might be the car for you. You'll appreciate the abundance of legroom in the back and the comfortable seating, especially the eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support. The Maxima has a good amount of cargo space in its sizeable trunk, but if you regularly carry around oversized items like double strollers, you might want to check if they fit before purchasing. However, it will probably win you over due to its luxurious interior, which comes in two different trim levels: the 3.5 S and the 3.5 SV.
Body styles: sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: continuously variable automatic
Models: Nissan Maxima 3.5 S, Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV
Redesigned for 2009, the exterior of the Maxima has more style and looks as if it owes much of its styling to the luxury Infiniti range. Apparently, it finds its inspiration in the iconic supercar, the GT-R. As a result, the Nissan Maxima almost looks sporty, especially with chrome door handles and chrome trim on the windows. The new Nissan Maxima also measures smaller than previous models, as Nissan has shortened it by nearly four inches. However, the car measures 1.5 inches wider and has a lower profile, giving it a meaner silhouette. The front boasts a bigger grille and wraparound L-shaped headlights. Its fenders have been reshaped, making it more imposing in appearance.
The Nissan Maxima is a cross between a four-door sports car and a more sedate family sedan, but it carries it off pretty well, and its newer styling makes it look a lot cleaner and more aggressive. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, but 19-inch alloy wheels offer an extra option. Other options include a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, a rear spoiler, and high-intensity headlights. The Sport Package adds sport-tuned suspension and high-intensity discharge headlights. The car weighs in at 3,500 pounds, but this adds to its stability on the road.
The luxurious interior of the SV model includes leather seats and a comfortably chunky leather steering wheel. Both the front seats and the steering wheel are heated, which comes in handy during harsh winters. Nevertheless, the seat also has a cooling function for those lucky enough to live in warmer climates.
The back seat comes in two different configurations: one that allows for a pass through opening that enables larger items to fit in the car, and the traditional 60/40-split fold down seats. The fold down seats seem to be a better option as they offer greater versatility. The SV comes with a technology package that includes a 9.3GB music box hard drive system, a seven-inch monitor, and satellite radio.
Performance & Handling
With its new shortened body, the Nissan Maxima is much more fun to drive, holds the road well, and responds well. Although it contains a massive engine, Nissan has increased its air intake to make it more efficient. However, the model suffers from engine and road noise, especially at higher speeds. Luckily, it has a good stereo system to help muffle the noise. When in standard transmission, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) shifts smoothly, but putting it into Drive sport (Ds) mode instantly makes it more aggressive. The transmission feels like a regular transmission and has the advantage of giving you better fuel economy.
Dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags for both rows of seats come standard, as do traction control and vehicle dynamic control.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Maxima S: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Nissan Maxima SV: 19/26 mpg city/highway
- Its elegant styling inside and out
- Easy driving
You Won't Like
- Engine noise and road noise
- Need for premium gas
Comfortable yet sporty to drive, especially for a larger sedan.
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