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2010 Nissan Maxima SV Review

2010 Nissan Maxima SV Sport (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Nissan Maxima SV Sport Sedan

SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyers Guide



Model: 2010 Nissan Maxima SV
Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm/261 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: CVT with manual mode
Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 190.6 x 73.2 x 57.8 in.
Tires: P245/45R18
Cargo volume: 14.2 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 20.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,565 lbs.
Sticker: $$37,430 (includes $720 destination charge and $3,530 in options ($700 for 7" monitor; $400 cold package; $180 floor and trunk mats; $400 HID headlamps; $1,850 3.5 SV technology package - mostly audio))

The Bottom Line: Nissan's 4-wheelsports car, the Maxima, delivers on the promise. It offers performance, good handling and the type of ride quality you'd expect from a sports car, yet in a four-door mid-size sedan.

Nissan's Maxima sedan has been around for a long time. Over the years it has evolved form a good mid-size sedan, if on the smallish side, to what Nissan likes to call, a 4-door sports car (4DSC).

While we fondly remember the old days of Trans-Am and sedan racing where Bob Sharp's Datsuns would dominate, those cars were highly modified. This version is showroom stock, and it's probably almost as good, even if I'm not the driver Sharp was.

The Maxima has a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 under the hood that delivers a healthy 290 horsepower through a CVT automatic transmission that also has a manual mode. The engine has good power. When you want to you can get the Maxima up to 80 mph quickly. It cruises nicely at or above the speed limit.

While the Maxima has fairly generic mid-size styling, the view over the hood is something that brings back memories of Jaguars and other swoopy classic sports cars. The sweep from the fenders down and up over the hood and down and up back to the other fender is classic. It's almost worth the price of admission by itself.

Similarly, the view out the back through the exterior rear view mirrors is almost Porsche-like, with flared fenders stretching out almost horizontally.

So the 4DSC may be more than a slogan. On a nice winding road, the Maxima is fun to stretch its legs and hit the corners with some pace. Sadly, most of the roads in my area of Pennsylvania are more Connecticut-style with small tight turns. It would be fun to take the Maxima out over some great California roads, like the stretch between Half Moon Bay and San Gregorio.

Like any good sedan, the Maxima has a good trunk. However, we had to fold the rear seat backs to accommodate my golf bag. The rear seat release is located in the trunk, so it's easy to find and use. The Maxima's front seats are comfortable and have decent side support, while the rear seats have good leg and knee room. There is also good side support for the rear seats.

I found the navigation system fairly easy to program using the center-mounted "master controller" that also works the audio and HVAC. It's somewhat intuitive and requires only a few minutes to learn it.

We drove the Maxima in some oppressive heat and the HVAC system did a great job in cooling us off. We also had a heated steering wheel which we didn't try.

The Nissan navigation system offers two views, a standard map and a "bird's eye" that looks at the road at a 45 degree angle. Both are useful and I'm undecided as to which one I prefer.

In addition, the Maxima has a rear-view camera that has lines that move when you turn the steering wheel, giving you an idea of where the car is headed. I have reached the point where I rely on the curved lines when parking and I usually get the car spot on between the lines.

I've driven and owned some serious sedans that think they're sports cars, some of which are actually derived from sports cars. While I wouldn't go so far as to say the Maxima is in the same league as the 370Z, it is a decent sports sedan, if not a sports car. It has everything one would want in a sports car, including those extra two doors that are so important for a family.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate