My previous Maxima was 2 years old with 1 year remaining on the lease. I was very happy with it, had no intention of trading it, but when Nissan sent me a mailing offering high trade in values, I thou...
My previous Maxima was 2 years old with 1 year remaining on the lease. I was very happy with it, had no intention of trading it, but when Nissan sent me a mailing offering high trade in values, I thought I'd just take a look at the 2012 model, and see what my Maxima was worth.
I ended up driving out with a 2012 Maxima SV Premium with much lower lease payments than my 2010 Maxima SV, but the big surprise was how well the new Maxima drives.
I was in love with my old Max, but the new one has made huge strides in the levels of refinement. Every mechanical aspect has been improved. The steering is beautifully direct, the brakes are more linear, the engine is smoother and quieter, and the CVT has been very significantly improved. I was never enamoured with the CVT, but now there is no reason to avoid this car because of it. Place the gearshift into D Sport mode and the CVT simulates a conventional stepped 6 speed transmission, albeit a very responsive and smooth one. There is no hesitation common with other manufacturer's transmissions, and none of the revving typical of other CVT's.
The interior is sumptious. The soft, perforated Cafe Latte leather is now more of a cream color than the tan of previous model years, and together with the light colored double-stitching, the lighter colored seating and carpets provide a tasteful contrast with the soft, textured black dash, the black steering wheel and upper door panels. The simulated woodgrain looks real enough, and compliments the upscale interior.
The big surprise is the ride. For such a sporting car, the Maxima rides almost on air. It remains unruffled and composed across almost any surface, with no harshness transmitted to the passengers. Nissan engineers know how to design suspension systems.
The Winter-Frost exterior remains as voluptuous as ever, with tasteful curves and feline haunches. The paint is flawless, has a deep luster, and the panel gaps are tight. I love the way it looks.
As expected, the 3.5 liter V6 still performs like a Saturn V rocket engine, but with improved refinement.
It amazes me how Nissan have improved essentially the same car over just a couple of model years.
Now for the downside. The only negative is the back seat area which is rather small. Seating 3 adults across is tight, and the seatbelt buckles are a little difficult to latch with a child's car seat in place. The same can also be said for the Lexus LS350, which I also looked at.
Other than this, the Maxima is an extremely solidly built, very powerful car which does everything well, and feels like it costs a lot more than it does. Brand names do nothing for me - I prefer substance over snobbery, and having a top-flight Nissan of this quality instead of a luxury brand is fine with me.
This is why I keep coming back to Nissan.