Review: Just by looking at the latest Nissan Maxima, you might
assume it's a bigger version of Nissan's bread-and-butter family car,
the Altima. Get behind the wheel and you'll quickly discover these two
cars come from very different branches on the family tree.
While the Altima
provides more mundane transportation, perhaps just a little more
exciting than the Honda Accord, the Maxima really is in a completely
different league. It's about a lot more than the size.
The Maxima feels more
like a luxury car for starters. Nissan could have easily slapped an
Infiniti badge on the hood and called it good, but the Nissan brand
benefits from having a more upscale, performance-oriented sedan to
fatten its lineup. After all, this is the same company that recently
started selling an $80,000 sports car called the GT-R.
Although the Maxima is
no GT-R, it is sensitively tuned to provide thrills for the driver. It
comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower, no small number,
coupled with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that provides a
good combination of fuel economy and outright speed.
If there's a weak link
in this car it would have to be the CVT. It's a good transmission for
driving around town, capable of moving you from place to place with
absolute smoothness. But in a car that's otherwise tuned so sublimely
for performance driving, the CVT just seems out of place.
offers a shift-it-yourself feature with the CVT. Paddle shifters behind
the steering wheel let you select "gears" almost like you would with a
more traditional automatic or manual transmission. It still doesn't
offer the same tactile feedback as other gearboxes though.
Most of the 2010 Maxima
is carried over from the 2009 model, but there are some improvements. A
Bluetooth phone connection is now a standard feature, and there are some
snazzy looking new wheel finishes.
The navigation system
is also improved. It has a 7-inch screen now and a new graphical layout
that makes it easier to operate. It also has new features like 2
gigabytes of music storage, DVD playback capability, Bluetooth audio
streaming and data on traffic and weather conditions on the nav screen.
The overall feeling in
the Maxima, especially when it comes with some of these high-end
features, is that of a premium sedan. It really does feel like a big
step above the Altima, both in terms of the interior ambiance and the
sheer level of technology it comes packaged with.
It's a great looking
car too, with a more aggressive body than the last generation Maxima.
The style seems to have taken a more hard-nosed direction to match its
renewed emphasis on sportiness.
Overall the Maxima is a
great car with few comparisons, unless you want to look to the pure
luxury brands. It's designed to compete with luxury-value brands like
Acura, and with a starting price around $30,000 it's worth cross
shopping with some of the more upscale nameplates.
What was tested?
The 2010 Nissan Maxima SV with a base price of $33,180. Options on the
test car: The monitor package for $700, floor and trunk mats for $180, a
sport package for $2,030 and the sport technology package for $1,850.
The total MSRP price as tested including the $720 destination charge
comes to $38,660.
Why avoid it?
The continuously variable transmission doesn't feel like a good fit in a
car that's otherwise tuned for great driving feedback.
Why buy it? It's
designed to compete with true luxury cars, and it succeeds. It has the
style, performance and amenities that premium-car buyers are looking
for. By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Nissan Maxima's handsome body is an improvement over the
previous generation. With aggressive styling, the car's looks now match
its renewed emphasis on performance. The Maxima's cabin has a premium
feel in terms of the materials chosen, to better blend the overall
design together with the technological features it's packaged with. The
bottom line is that it has great styling, with more standard features
that last year, and the sporty performance is impressive.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
And remember: “ You Are
what you Drive ”
Nissan Home Page
Column Name: Nissan
Maxima moves upscale
Topic: The 2010 Nissan
Word Count: 787
Photo Caption: The 2010
Photo Credits: Nissan
Maxima Internet Media
Series #: 2010 - 07
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2010 Nissan Maxima
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2010 Nissan Maxima