2010 Maxima New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Maxima, which was all-new for the 2009 model year, is one of a growing group of sedans that are becoming known as four-door sports cars. These are sports sedans, but with edgier styling and first-rate performance and handling, and the Maxima is one of the best.
The Maxima was engineered, built, tuned and aimed at drivers who prefer sporty handling and a firmer ride as opposed to the softer, more luxurious rides associated with many cars in this class.
The Maxima competes with the Acura TL, Infiniti G, Cadillac CTS, Toyota Avalon, as well as deluxe versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The Nissan Maxima features a notably wide track, which helps the chassis handle the corners on its big tires. The Maxima shares its chassis and underpinnings with the other cars and SUVs mounted on the Nissan front-drive platform, including the Murano and Altima; the Maxima is close in physical measurements to the Altima. For the Maxima, the platform is measurably stiffer. Sport and Premium package versions use a large steel panel behind the rear seat to connect the floor, walls and package shelf into a single unit that, according to Nissan, is up to 17 percent stiffer than the base model, all aimed at sharper handling. Sport versions add a brace across the front suspension towers for greater stiffness and steering precision.
Changes for the 2010 model year are minor. There are new finishes for the 18-inch and 19-inch wheels, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system is standard, XM Satellite Radio is standard on the SV trim level, the previous iPod connectivity is changed to USB connectivity, and there are two new exterior colors. In addition, there is a new optional Monitor Package, which includes a seven-inch color monitor, RearView monitor, auxiliary audio-video input jack, iPod net and 2GB Music Server. The Technology Package gains DVD playback capability, streaming audio via Bluetooth, and XM NavWeather.
The 2010 Nissan Maxima range consists of two models, the S and the SV. They are powered by a 3.5-liter dohc V6 engine and come with Nissan's Xtronic CVT. The Maxima is front-drive, and has four-wheel disc brakes with ABS as standard equipment. Nissan's Variable Dynamic Control (electronic stability control) and Traction Control System are also standard.
Maxima S ($30,460) 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, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 eight-speaker sound system with an auxiliary jack, and Bluetooth.
Maxima SV ($33,180) upgrades with leather upholstery, a nine-speaker Bose sound system with speed-sensitive volume control, subwoofers and RDS, a driver's seat with a thigh extension and power lumbar, a compass, fog lights, HomeLink, turn signal repeaters in the mirrors, and XM Satellite Radio.
There are three major options packages for the SV: The Sport Package ($2,030) features a sport-tuned suspension, 245/40VR19 tires and 19-inch aluminum wheels, rear spoiler, HID xenon headlights, leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, heated leather steering wheel, power tilt/telescopic steering column, 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, heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature and auto-dimming on the driver's side, and metallic-link trim.
The Premium Package ($3,230) features the Dual Panel Moonroof with power retractable sunshades, power rear-window sunshade, premium mood lighting, front and rear power windows with one-touch auto-up/down feature, HID xenon headlights, premium leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, premium heated leather steering wheel, power tilt/telescopic steering column, 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, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, heated outside mirrors, auto-dimming driver-side outside mirror, Eucalyptus wood-tone trim, seven-inch color monitor, RearView Monitor, Interface System for iPod, iPod net in center console, and auxiliary audio/video input jack. The Technology Package ($1,850) features the Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with Voice-Recognition, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather, and seven-inch touch-screen color monitor.
Stand-alone options include the Cold Package ($400) with heated front seats, outside mirrors and steering wheel; HID headlights ($400); a rear spoiler ($370); 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 dual-stage frontal, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control (electronic stability control), Traction Control, and tire-pressure monitoring.