2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV
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The new Maxima is Nissan’s top-of-the-line sedan…and as such, it comes pretty close to bumping into Infiniti territory.
This is the one that Nissan bills as “The 4-Door Sports Car”…and our version did have pretty much every luxury and performance option that Nissan offers.
The standard…and only…powertrain option is a 3.5 liter six rated at 290 HP…hooked up to a Continuously Variable Transmission. You might remember the commercials for this transmission. The man driving…the woman ready to apply her lipstick just as soon as the transmission shifts…which it never does.
These CVT’s are probably the transmissions of the future. They deliver high-mileage, and have fewer parts to break. But in a “sports car” I’m still looking for the feel of a transmission popping off shifts up and down as we go through the gears.
Fortunately, the Max comes with very useable paddle shifters on the steering wheel…and while you’re not really stirring through actual gears when you use them, it does give the feel of shifting…a very good feel, indeed.
Our Max also had a 7” color monitor with backup cam, all the usual connectivity, 19” alloys, smoked Xenon headlights, heated leather seats with memory and power lumbar, a heated steering wheel, power telescoping steering wheel to fit all sizes of drivers, a hard-drive nav system with voice recognition, moonroof, tire-pressure monitoring and more.
The heated steering wheel is a real nice touch on those winter mornings…and is usual in a modestly priced vehicle like the Max.
And yes…we can call the Maxima “modestly priced”, as while our loaded-down test car came in at $40,055, the Maxima line starts in the low 30’s.
Women liked it…men liked it…and all for good reason…as the Max is one of those attractive, solid performers that seems to have something for everyone.
It’s rated at 19 MPG city and 26 highway. We averaged a hair over 24 in a weeks’ worth of varied driving. Competitive with just about everyone in it’s class.