Lost amidst the wash of entry-level mid-sized sedans is the Nissan Maxima. To those who’ve owned one, they know the Maxima as a strikingly quick sedan, with a well-designed interior and reliable guts. However, from the outside the Maxima won’t really invoke a sense of exhilaration and comfort. It’s a shame, because the Maxima tenders more options than most of the mid-sized, moderately priced sedans it competes against.
Powering this hidden gem is a 3.5 liter V6 engine which produces a respectable 290 horsepower and 261 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is quick and powerful, yet still manages to knock out decent mileage ratings at 19 MPG/city and 26/MPG on the highway. Controlling the Maxima is Nissan’s continuous variable automatic transmission system (CVT).
Inside, the Maxima is loaded with features which easily surpass what the competition is doing. While this assault on what is considered “standard” for entry-level sedans isn’t overt, Nissan is quietly raising the bar in a field where options and features have become an expensive commodity. The interior uses premium materials, offers an attractive layout, and presents tons of options found mostly on luxury sedans. This includes an impressive iPod interface which blows away the competition, an easy to use (but optional) navigation system, and a comfortable rear seating experience.
Some might disregard this vehicle because its exterior is somewhat bland and nondescript, but behind the wheel it’s easy to see where Nissan overachieved. The engine is fast and accelerates at a pace more akin to luxury sedans. Handling is a dream and the steering is exact and precise. The suspension is adaptable, giving the Maxima a smooth ride. Most impressive however is the drivetrain. The CVT handles the quick shifts and acceleration with ease – a vast improvement over some of Nissan’s previous vehicles featuring the CVT.
Safety is another area the Maxima seems to handle well. Standard safety features include: antilock brakes, front and side curtain airbags, front seat head-restraints, and stability and traction control. Safety ratings ranged from “Good” to “Acceptable” according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
The 2013 Nissan Maxima might not look much more than a blasé sedan your father might drive, but inside it has the heart of a lion and a well-appointed interior more commonly found in a higher class of vehicles.
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