2010 Nissan Maxima SV Sport – Click above for high-res image gallery Front-wheel drive is a funny thing. When originally introduced during the Thirties in the Cord 810 (then later in the awesome supercharged 812) and the Citroën Traction Avant, FWD was hailed as a major breakthrough, a wondrous technological innovation that allowed for lower ride height and greatly increased passenger space. Postwar consumers got a taste of the wonders of FWD with the iconic Citroën DS. At the top of its game in the Sixties, General Motors reintroduced FWD to American consumers with two remarkable luxury coupes: the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado and the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado. Come the Seventies, Citroën produced what is arguably the greatest GT coupe of that decade, the impeccable (and FWD) SM. It's not that RWD is always better than FWD. Only in this case, it is. Roll the clock forward to the Eighties and suddenly everything was being tugged around by its front wheels. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all jumped head first onto the FWD bandwagon and, for the most part, they haven't looked back. Granted, Cadillac has rethought which wheels get driven, but with the exception of a dinosaur livery-mobile, there isn't a single rear-wheel-drive Lincoln to be found. Even Volkswagen got in on the transversely-mounted engine madness. This left only the Germans – namely Mercedes-Benz and BMW – to seriously carry the rear-wheel drive passenger car torch for nearly a decade. Sure, Lexus and Infiniti brought out some heavy hitting RWD sedans along with a raft of FWD offerings (M30 I30, G20 anyone?), but Acura never bothered. The average gearhead hates FWD for all the right reasons (weight distribution, steering feel, the front tires being asked to both propel and turn, etc.), and during a recent discussion we had with a half-in-the-bag PR guy, [NAME REDACTED] exclaimed, "Front-wheel drive sucks!" So, how can a technology go from the penthouse to the doghouse like that? One answer (of many) comes from the Minnesotan economist/social philosopher Thorstein Veblen and his book The Theory of the Leisure Class. Here's a quick, ten-cent Cliff Note version: When electric lighting first appeared, only the rich could afford electric lights. As such, electrically lit dinners were considered romantic and desirable. However, once electrification trickled down to the unwashed masses, only the rich could afford both bulbs and candles. Hence, candlelit dinners became en vogue. Which – believe it or not – leads us very nicely to the 2010 Nissan Maxima SV Sport and its $38,384 asking price. %Gallery-79966% Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc. Granted, you can get a new Maxima for less scratch. The base car starts at "just" $30,460. But the car Nissan provided us has a price tag of nearly $40,000. You do get a lot car for that money, but at the end of the day, $38,384 is a big chunk o' change. So big, in fact, that you might be tempted to choose an Infiniti …
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|MPG||19 City / 26 Hwy|
|Transmission||Xtronic 2-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||290 @ 6400 rpm|
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