2009 Maxima New Car Test Drive
Nissan Maxima is all-new for the 2009 model year, and this seventh-generation model marks the return of the four-door sports car.
The 2009 Maxima was deliberately built, tuned and aimed at drivers who prefer sporty handling and a firmer ride as opposed to the softer, more luxurious ride associated with many cars in this class.
The Maxima four-door sedan has been part of the Nissan lineup dating back to 1981. Maxima was kicked up a notch when the Altima took over the role as the mainstream sedan and it became the Nissan flagship. This new Maxima now competes directly against sporty upmarket sedans. Among them: Acura TL, Infiniti G35, Chrysler 300, Cadillac CTS, and Toyota Avalon, as well as deluxe versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima shares its D-platform chassis and underpinnings with the other cars and SUVs mounted on the Nissan front-drive platform, including the Murano and Altima. The new Maxima is close in physical measurements to the Altima. This seventh-generation Maxima is deliberately shorter by a couple of inches in wheelbase and four inches shorter overall, but is slightly lower and wider than the outgoing (pre-2009) model. The track measurement, the width between the tires, is an inch and a half wider, so that the chassis is better able to handle the corners on its big, fat 18-inch tires.
Nissan has modified the platform and body of the Maxima extensively, with one additional stiffness package for the S and SV models, and additional rear reinforcements for the Sport and Premium package versions that uses a large steel panel behind the rear seat to connect the floor, walls and package shelf into a single, much stiffer unit that Nissan says is up to 17 percent stiffer than the base model. The 2009 base model is, in turn, 15 percent stiffer than the outgoing 2008 model. Sport versions add a tower brace across the front suspension towers for greater stiffness and steering precision.
The 2009 Nissan Maxima range consists of two models, the S and the SV.
Maxima S ($29,290) comes standard with cloth upholstery, dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, locks, mirrors and driver's seat, trip computer, power moonroof, cruise control, intelligent key and starter button, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 eight-speaker sound system with an auxiliary jack.
Maxima SV ($31,990) upgrades with perforated leather upholstery, a nine-speaker Bose sound system with speed-sensitive volume control, subwoofers and RDS, leather, a driver's seat with a thigh extension and power lumbar, a compass, fog lights, HomeLink, and turn signal repeaters in the mirrors.
Options for the SV: The Sport Package ($2,300) features a sport-tuned suspension, 245/40VR19 tires and 19-inch aluminum wheels, XM Satellite Radio, rear spoiler, HID xenon headlights, premium leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, premium leather steering wheel, power tilt/telescopic steering column, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, automatic entry/exit system (with two-driver memory), driver-side memory (driver's seat, outside mirrors, steering wheel), rear bucket seats, rear-seat trunk pass-through, large rear-seat fold-down center armrest with finisher, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, heated outside mirrors, auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror, metallic-link trim, cargo net.
The Premium Package ($3,450) features the Dual Panel Moonroof with power retractable sunshades, power rear-window sunshade, premium mood light, front and rear power windows with one-touch auto-up/down feature, HID xenon headlights, premium leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, premium leather steering wheel with stitch and dimple, power tilt/telescopic steering column, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, automatic entry/exit system (with two-driver memory), driver-side memory (driver’s seat, outside mirrors, steering wheel), rear bucket seats, rear-seat trunk pass-through, large rear-seat fold-down center armrest with finisher, rear-seat audio and HVAC controls, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, heated outside mirrors, auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror, Eucalyptus wood-tone trim, cargo net, seven-inch color monitor, RearView Monitor, Interface System for iPod, iPod net in center console, auxiliary audio/video input jack.
The Tech Package ($2,400) features the Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with Voice-Recognition, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, XM Satellite Radio, XM NavTraffic, seven-inch touch-screen color monitor, RearView Monitor, Interface System for iPod, iPod net in center console, auxiliary audio/video input jack. Similar packages allow buyers to mix and match these features and prices according to desired equipment.
Options include the Cold Package ($400) with a climate-controlled driver's seat; HID headlights ($400), the Bluetooth hands-free phone package ($300), a rear spoiler, and 19-inch high-performance summer tires.
Accessories for both models include floor mats and a trunk mat, splash guards, and a trunk sub-floor organizer with first aid kit and emergency kit.
Safety features include frontal, side-impact and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, yaw control, and tire pressure monitoring.