Sometimes trying to improve on a good thing results in disaster.But not in the case of the all-new 1995 Nissan Maxima.Three generations of Maximas have set the standards for luxury and performance among imports in its price category. And the fourth-generation car that began arriving in Indianapolis Nissan dealerships about a week ago tops anything Nissan has done in its sedan field."Words cannot describe the difference between this new car and previous models," said Gary Weinbrecht, general sales manager for Collins Nissan. "It's quiet. There's more interior room. And with the new V-6, there is plenty of pickup."In technology and styling, the 1995 Maxima is a significant addition to Nissan's line of motor cars. Inspired by concepts originated at Nissan Design International in San Diego, Calif., stylists have retained the previous model's C-pillar body but have smoothed the front end and raised the rear deck.The new lineup consists of a well-equipped Maxima GXE, a sports-oriented SE and a new top-of-the-line GLE.In laying out the vehicle, engineering went up a full two inches in wheelbase length and gave the car a fractional increase in overall length. While the length is almost the same as the previous model, the increase in wheelbase has resulted in greater rear seat room and an enhanced ride.Rear-seat leg room has been increased 1.1 inches with the 106.3-inch wheelbase. And the new body construction has increased rear head room one-half an inch and front head room six-tenths of an inch.The car is a five-seater, with wide front individual seats separated by a floor-mounted console containing the transmission shift lever and emergency brake handle. This is pretty much state of the art, with the controls adjacent to the driver's right hand.There's a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission in the GXE and SE. The five-speeder isn't offered in the luxury GLE."We sell more automatics by far," Weinbrecht said. "The five-speed is new to the GXE for '95. Before you could only get it in an automatic."The stereo and climate controls are based in the console section that rises into the dash. The sweep-hand analog instrumentation consists of a speedometer, a tachometer and temperature and fuel gauges.The speedometer and tachometer have large white numerals on black backgrounds for quick and easy reading at speed. But when running a five-speed, I would prefer an oil- pressure gauge, if only to give the driver ease of mind.Under the hood, Nissan's motor engineers designed a new 3.0-liter (182.2-cubic inch/2,988 cc) aluminum V-6. It's compact and lightweight for increased passenger room and less vehicle weight.To get 190 horsepower, Nissan went with four overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. By using more compact cylinder heads and optimizing the layout of the support componentry, engine height dropped 1.2 inches and engine width shrank 3.9 inches.With 190 horses, a GXE is rated at 7.6 seconds accelerating from 0 to 60 miles an hour, so this Maxima will run with some rather strong equipment.Part of driving the car, of course, is keeping the thing on the road. That proved a design challenge for a sedan with front-wheel drive and 190 horsepower.Nissan's suspension engineers developed a new Multi-Link Beam system that attains optimum balance in handling but still provides a comfortable ride.Foregoing the more common single link for lateral body control, the system's innovative linkage consists of a lateral link and a control rod. One end of the link is mounted to the body and the other to a torsion beam. 1995 Nissan Maxima GXE Base price: $l9,999.Type: Front engine, front drive, five-passenger midsized sedan.Engine: 3.0 liters, DOHC V-6, 24 valves, fuel-injected, 190 horsepower, 205 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission:Five-speed manual.Mileage: 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway.Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds. Wheelbase: 106.3 inches.Length: 187.7 inches.Width: 69.7 inches.Height: 56.0 inches.Curb weight: 3,063 pounds.Options: Bose stereo with cassette, CD stereo, automatic transmission, ABS braking, 2-speed intermittent wipers, keyless entry, power driver's seat, dual visor mirrors, cold weather package, theft deterrent system.
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