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2011 Nissan Maxima Review


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SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyers Guide

by Mark Fulmer
TACH Editor In Chief

The 2011 Maxima lives up to its description as a sports sedan, and then some.

SPORTS

The 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is what you'd expect from today's Nissans: strong, quiet, and reliable. Making your moves on either freeway or in town is just a toe tap away, and you accelerate smoothly with a well tuned automatic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT also includes a manual sport mode and steering-wheel paddle shifters for all those who care to participate more fully in the process. The handling is cat-like courtesy of stabilizer bars in the front and back, and a new Twin Orifice Steering System (okay, stop laughing, that's really what they call it) which helps provide good feedback from the road, most notable around tight turns.

Fun to drive? Oh yeah, fun to drive.

SEDAN

Maxima has a classy interior, quite comfy and ergonomic. It seats 5, but one of the five should either young or thin. Interior room is good and it has reasonable trunk capacity. Leg room, head room, and sight lines are all very good and all the passengers we hauled around enjoyed the experience. When it comes to sound systems you can't go wrong with the Bose premium audio system - and options like the 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, XM Satellite Radio, and iPod interfaces should satiate all ardent audiophiles. The Maxima also includes: a power moonroof, power front seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, an Intelligent Key entry and starting system, a six-disc changer, and steering-wheel audio controls.

THEN SOME

Style. Yes, a most subjective label, but it certainly applies to the Maxima. True style is daring enough to NOT be totally aerodynamic. Real style is also unafraid to push the bottom line a bit. In both cases the key is to know how much is too much. The 2011 Maxima, from its L-shaped headlights and taillights to its slinky sidelines exudes precise and refined style.

IN THE REAL WORLD

During the weeklong test of the Maxima, we got to see how it behaved during the 3rd wettest December in California history. As with previous Maximi (if indeed that's its plural), it sliced through valley fog, shrugged off rain like a Monterey sea otter, and cruised through wind gusts like a tight spiral off the arm of Chico native, Green Bay (via Cal) quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

Passengers were unanimous in their praise and enjoyment of the Maxima experience.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)