2009 Nissan Maxima Preview

FAST FACTS
  • All-new redesign

  • Built on Nissan's "D platform" with enhanced rigidity

  • Standard 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine

  • Revised Xtronic CVT transmission

  • Front engine/front-wheel drive

  • New TOPS power steering

  • "Liquid Motion" exterior design

  • "Super Cockpit" interior design

  • Available Summer 2008

Introduction

Introduced more than 30 years ago, the Nissan Maxima is the largest sedan and the flagship of the Nissan lineup. While the earliest Nissan "Bluebird" Maxima (sold in the United States as the Datsun 810) offered rear-wheel-drive (RWD), for the past two decades all Maxima models have been front-wheel-drive (FWD) 4-door sedans. According to Nissan, the "Maxima has always enjoyed a certain �duality'-a unique fusion of sedan practicality with the soul of a sports car." It was Nissan who coined the phrase "4-door sports car" for the Maxima.

The all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima is the seventh generation of the model. Manufactured on Nissan's "D platform" (shared with the Nissan Altima), the sport sedan features Nissan's "Liquid Motion" exterior design. According to Nissan, the theme focuses on "the flow of powerful and beautiful surfaces, like the undulation of a wave." The interior "Super Cockpit" is driver-oriented, with high-quality materials and user-friendly technology. It has been designed to enhance what previous-generation owners and Nissan call "Maxima-ness."

Model Lineup

The 2009 Nissan Maxima will be offered in two different models: Maxima 3.5 S and Maxima 3.5 SV. Standard features on the Maxima 3.5 S model include power windows, power door locks, power moonroof, 8-way power driver seat, 4-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, AM/FM/CD6/MP3 audio with 8 speakers, and an available iPod interface. The Maxima 3.5 SV adds such conveniences as leather-appointed sport seats, and advanced Bose audio system with 9 speakers, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, fog lamps, and outside mirrors with integrated turn signals. Standard wheels on both models are cast aluminum, 18 inches in diameter.

Several option packages are available for the all-new Maxima. The Sport package adds items including sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, high-intensity-discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, transmission paddle shifters, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and XM satellite radio. The Premium package includes a new dual-pane moonroof, HID headlamps, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, premium leather-appointed seats, Eucalyptus wood-tone trim, 7-inch color monitor, RearView monitor, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and XM satellite radio among its contents. The Maxima SV Tech package adds an advanced Nissan hard drive navigation system with voice recognition, 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, XM NavTraffic with real-time traffic information, 7.0-inch color monitor, RearView Monitor, and an interface system for an iPod.

Hardware

At the heart of the all-new 2009 Maxima is a revised and refined version of Nissan's award-winning VQ-family powerplant. The 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine under the hood of the Maxima is now rated at 290 hp, up 35 hp from the 2008 model. The torque rating has risen to 261 lb.-ft., an improvement of 9 lb.-ft. over the previous model.

The standard transmission, driving only the front wheels, is an improved version of Nissan's Xtronic CVT continuously variable transmission. New for 2009, the Xtronic includes a "Ds mode" (Drive Sport) with electronic control logic to offer a sportier driving feel. In this mode, the engine will hold higher revolutions during acceleration, engage automatic engine braking, and maintain engine speeds during cornering, Nissan says. Available paddle shifters, mounted on the steering column, allow manual control over transmission gearing. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway-very similar to that of the 2008 Maxima, despite the increase in power.

Mounted on Nissan's new "D platform," the front suspension is a subframe-mounted strut/coil spring design with an extensive use of aluminum components to save weight and improve the ride, the automaker explains. The rear suspension is of an independent multi-link design, also subframe-mounted, engineered to reduce camber change during cornering, Nissan adds. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard. Ventilated disc brakes, upgraded from the previous model, are standard on all four corners.

Safety

The safety features standard on the all-new 2009 Maxima include Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage front air bags and seat belt sensors, front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags on each side of the passenger cabin. The front seats are equipped with active head restraints, and 3-point seat belts with adjustable upper anchors, pre-tensioners, and load limiters. The rear seats, in all three positions, feature 3-point seat belts. LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors are standard. All models are equipped with a standard anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), traction control (TCS), and Nissan's vehicle dynamic control (VDC) stability system. A tire-pressure-monitoring system (TPMS) is standard across the lineup.

Technology

In keeping with the "4-Door sports car" theme, Nissan has equipped the all-new 2009 Maxima with a new Twin Orifice Power Steering (TOPS) system. The innovative and sophisticated vehicle-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system is similar to the steering system used on the Nissan 350Z sports car. The TOPS system is designed to offer high-performance response and stability at high speeds, yet still enable comfortable driving at low and parking speeds. This is accomplished, Nissan says, through the use of a high-accuracy gear within the mechanicals, and a new strut tower brace to add additional rigidity to the system. To further enhance steering dynamics and provide a sporty steering feel, the 2009 Maxima has the quickest steering ratio of any Nissan sedan, the company claims.