Nissan Maxima 2009 Detail Specification Video Reviews

From $30,160
Delicately precise steering, strong powertrain, high-quality interior craftsmanship, tons of high-tech features, best iPod integration presently available.

Luxury and Sport models lack the brand cachet their price tags imply, mostly useless middle rear seat with Sport or Premium Packages, equipment stuffed into expensive packages.

The Nissan Maxima is completely redesigned for 2009, with an added focus on performance and luxury.

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We can already hear the complaints: “I am not paying $36,000 for a Nissan sedan.” We understand. For that kind of money, you could be driving an Infiniti, a BMW or even a Mercedes. They must be smokin’ something interesting at Nissan’s Tennessee headquarters, right? Well, they’re not as nutty as you may think, as the all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima is a high-quality entry-level luxury sedan that is well worth the fair amount of cash Nissan’s charging for it. In fact, when fully loaded, it undercuts similarly equipped luxury-badged sedans by thousands, while in some cases being dynamically superior.

While wrapped in sharp, unique styling, the ’09 Maxima was put together using the best bits and pieces found in the Nissan and Infiniti warehouses. The basic front-wheel-drive architecture comes from the sporty Altima midsize sedan; however, its length was reduced and width increased to improve handling. Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6 shows up yet again, in this case with an ample 290 horsepower on tap. The Altima’s excellent continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the lone transmission choice, but in the Maxima’s SV trim, it comes with metal paddle shifters that control artificial transmission “gear” ratios. The low-friction, high-feel power steering is similar to the Altima too, but once again, it was upgraded to provide a more driver-focused feel.

Inside, the Maxima is an analog clock and fancier gauges away from being 100 percent Infiniti. Materials and construction are thus as good as or better than those on a G35, while the same sort of high-tech and high-lux equipment is available — from one of the best iPod integration systems available to a cooled driver seat. Interior space is actually a smidgen less than the Altima, so don’t expect the range-topping Maxima to be some sort of full-size Avalon competitor.

As long as you can live without “oohs” and “ahs” from the neighbors, the 2009 Nissan Maxima should be on the must-look list of any luxury-car buyer searching for something in the 30-grand range — particularly something that offers foul-weather-friendly front-wheel drive. Vehicles that offer a similar amount of high-tech equipment for a low price include the Acura TSX and TL, Hyundai Genesis and Volkswagen Passat. Vehicles that offer less equipment when similarly priced, but feature more driving fun and/or brand cachet, include the Audi A4, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS. We think the Maxima stacks up well with any of these choices, but where it ultimately stands depends on your definition of a luxury car — or in other words, how much you’re willing to throw down for a Nissan sedan.