When Nissan redesigned the Maxima for 1995, it nabbed several honors and asserted itself as a tiger in the midsized sedan class. For 1996, the Nissan Maxima got a larger cupholder, two new exterior colors and a power seat on the passenger's side. The 1995 redesign was prompted by a desire to broaden appeal beyond the sports-car enthusiast segment. Nissan definitely succeeded on that front by modifying the body design in a way that downplayed the sportier looks of the previous Maxima. While the more rounded body design drew some yawns from the more sportily inclined, the new Maxima scored big among family-sedan buyers. But if the appearance of the fourth-generation Maxima does not make the heart of performance enthusiasts go pitter-patter, all is forgiven once they get behind the wheel. Nissan chose a wise strategy. If the redesigned Maxima may look more conservative than its antecedents, it actually packs more power. Therein lies the genius of the redesigned Maxima: Road-burning acceleration in a quieter, roomier and smoother-riding 4-door sedan. The Maxima comes in three models: The entry-line GXE, the sport-equipped SE and the luxury-line GLE. Our test model SE was granite pearl in color, that is a deep gray to you and me, and sported a base sticker price of $22,679. Standard equipment on the GXE includes air conditioning; cruise control; stereo cassette player; tilt steering wheel and power seats, windows, door locks and mirrors. SE included such standard equipment features as sport-tuned suspension; liquid-controlled front suspension (on models with automatic transmission); alloy wheels; rear-deck spoiler; front fog lamps; sport velour seat cloth; leather-wrapped steering wheel and black-on-white analog gauges. The upline GLE offers such additional standard amenities as woodgrain trim; automatic transmission; 8-way power driver's seat and 4-way passenger seat; automatic climate control; keyless remote entry system and Bose CD audio system. Our SE came with nearly $4000 worth of options. They included: antilock brakes ($999); power sunroof ($899); Bose audio system with CD player and six speakers ($799); the security and convenience package--which includes power driver's seat, keyless remote, intermittent wipers and illuminated vanity mirrors ($699)--and a cold-weather package that includes a heavy duty battery, heated front seats and heated outside mirrors ($199). That brought the total suggested retail price up to $26,274, and Nissan's standard destination charge adds another $405.