The Nissan Maxima SE offers a stylish eye-catching look, inside and out. The interior is a sleek, modern design sporting industrial accents. It's as pleasing to look at as it is to drive. I find my self creating reasons to run errands, just so I can drive it around town. I think I'll drive my son to the park today instead of my usual walk.
Inside I notice there are two sunroofs: one in the back and one in the font, each slides open separately. My son will point to the roof when he wants me to open it and look up for the moon. It's a little hard to reach up, over and back to open, but it's worth it if it creates peaceful driving conditions.
Not everyone can be comfortable in the car at one temperature, which is why dual air control is an invention whose time has come. While some auto manufacturers like to make this novel idea more fancy with high tech controls, the Maxima makes keeping people comfortable simple. Temperatures are easy to set, adjust and maintain with a touch of a button.
The information center, although easy on the eyes, reminds me of the first time I used a computer. I was in the sixth grade and everything was done on DOS mode with the green lights and digital text. The orange text and layout of the computer just seems old fashioned, not as hip as the rest of the car: fashionable interior design, comfortable seating and modern titanium accents.
There is one hangup I have with the interior of the Maxima: black leather seating. Yes, leather is ideal for easy cleanup but black shows everything from dirt to spilled milk, so the car constantly looks dirty. This stunning, sophisticated car looks like a tornado hit it. Well, actually a tornado did hit the car, I call him Tyler Tornado - my toddler. Luckily Nissan offers burnt orange, frost, or (my favorite) caffe latte leather colors to choose from, as well.
The SE comes in a five-passenger model and a four-passenger model. The five-passenger model has bench seating in the back and the middle seat has a center console that folds down with two cupholders. The four-passenger model is the more elite package with bucket seating in the back and a large center console to compliment the one in the front. It also comes with a rear window sun shade to keep the sun off the back passengers. Genius! I love when a car company offers something better than those cheap window sun blockers with the plastic suction cups that don't really stay on anyway.
Even though the four-passenger model is an elite package and has one-less passenger seat, I prefer it over the five-passenger version for its better family-friendly features. Plus, only two child car seats will fit in either version, so having the third middle seat isn't necessarily a bonus.
Like many cars, the Latch connectors are hidden beneath the seat, making it a difficult task to install the car seat. Why, oh, why do they do that? I still haven't figured out why some cars make it a cinch to install car seats by having the Latch connectors visible to the eye, while others make it a game: will I, or won't I find them and when I do how long will it take to do the installation?
While the Maxima may not be super easy to install car seats in, Nissan has taken car seat safety one step further; they have created a car seat guide that helps Maxima owners find car seats with the proper dimensions to fit well in the car. What a clever idea! Nissan should spend more marketing dollars on advocating this nifty guide to the $83 billion female automotive consumer market.
While I really enjoy driving the Maxima, I find it hard to classify this car as a great family-friendly choice because it shouldn't be subject to the workings of a family with young children - it's just too fabulous of a car.
*For more information on the Nissan Maxima and its safety features visit Cars.com.
Let's Talk Numbers LATCH connectors: 2 Passenger seating (including driver): 5
It's the Little Things That Count Storage Compartments (puny, fair, ample, galore): fair Cargo/Trunk Space(puny, fair, ample, galore): ample
Sense and Style Family Friendly (not really, fair, great, excellent): fair Fun-Factor (None, some, good times, groove-on): good times