2009 Nissan Maxima 250 ST-L and 350 Ti Road

NISSAN HAS HAD A BUSY YEAR with new model launches in 2009. This year TMR has road tested the new 370Z, Micra, Dualis, Navara and face-lifted Murano, all with positive results.
Now it’s the turn of one of Nissan‘s more venerable model lines, the all-new Maxima sedan.
The Maxima model line has always been a solid performer for Nissan. The new model impressed us with our First Drive on release, let’s see if the gloss is still there.

For 2009, Nissan has taken a definite step forward with the design of the new Maxima.  Compared to the previous model, the face of the new model makes a bolder style statement with its raked-back xenon headlights and large front grille.
At the rear, Nissan has employed a sleeker roof line and sloping boot to give the Maxima a more coupe-like appearance. This distinctive shape is further emphasised by the placement of additional rear quarter windows, adding extra balance to the car’s overall proportions.
Minor styling accents around the body such as chrome trimming, LED taillights and indicator door-mirrors add a welcome touch of class, thankfully without making the car look tacky.
To complete the luxury styling theme, all models in the Maxima line-up ride on a set of elegant ten-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
It’s fair to say that previous versions of the Maxima are hardly what one would call ‘exciting’ in the design department. The latest Maxima however will turn a few heads while not scaring away repeat buyers with any over-the-top styling changes.

Interior wise, it’s a mixed bag. Highlights include a tidy instrument cluster and excellent leather seats (standard on all Maxima models) that are comfortable for long trips, but also have firm side bolsters holding you securely through the corners.
Interior space is another area where the Maxima shines. There’s ample space all round, offering decent leg room for the tallest of rear passengers and a high ‘ceiling’, even on the sunroof equipped Ti model.
While the boot looks small from outside, it’s a pleasant surprise that it offers 506 litres of stowage space and can easily swallow enough luggage for a family weekend away.
The leather multi-function steering wheel is comfortable to the grip and with all steering wheel controls logically and easily used.
Unfortunately, wheel adjustment is restricted to tilt only and not reach. We also found the steering wheel size – it’s a tad big – a bit cumbersome when executing tight turns quickly.
It’s also a letdown that the Maxima suffers from a very plain-looking centre console and gear surround.
A spongy gear shifter button and some afterthought design decisions, such as having the heated seat controls placed inside the central armrest compartment, leaves us wondering if Nissan could have done a better job here.
On the higher-spec models such as the Ti, the navigation and display screen is recessed into the dashboard with the controls sitting below the screen.
While there is nothing wrong with the way it works, it’s not as elegant a solution as BMW’s iDrive system, which positions the controller at easy reach ahead of the central armrest.
Disappointingly the Maxima does not offer a dedicated iPod connection – even as an option – although, on the plus side, the auxiliary jacks are compatible with most portable audio players.
Mobile communications are taken care of by the Bluetooth hands-free phone system. With the steering wheel controls, the hands-free is very easy to use, pairing with a variety of phones without fuss while also offering crystal clear voice quality.
Another Ti exclusive feature is a GPS voice navigation system. This system is identical to that found in its 370Z and Murano siblings.
It’s fairly intuitive and the only drawback with the navigation is that when searching for a destination, the driver is forced to specify an exact numbered address – a ‘general direction’ navigation to a particular street or suburb will not suffice.
Under the hood, the Maxima 250 ST-L differs significantly from that of its higher-spec 350 Ti sibling. The 250 ST-L comes with a smaller 2.5 litre VQ25 V6 engine, offering a reasonable 134kW at 6000rpm and maximum torque of 228Nm at 4400rpm.
Drive is sent to the front wheels via a newly designed six-speed ‘X-Tronic’ continuously variable transmission (CVT), which features a pseudo-manual mode that allows you to change gears yourself, albeit via the gear shifter only. No steering wheel gear controls are available.
The 350 Ti, on the other hand, gets a torquey 3.5 litre V6 with variable-valve timing (also driving through the front wheels). This is a similar unit to the one in the last generation Maxima and 350Z sports car.
It develops a very healthy peak output of 185kW at 6000rpm and 326Nm of torque at 4400rpm. It’s mated to the same X-Tronic CVT and is an effortless, free-spinning gem.
2009_nissan-maxima_250_st-l_350_ti_road-test-review_11Settling in to the Nissan Maxima is a breeze. The car automatically reverses the motorised driver’s seat back to allow more room for entry and, once seated in the comfortable leather buckets, there’s a natty keyless push button to start the engine.
The driving experience differs substantially depending on which engine is sitting under the bonnet.
That said, for both variants we tested it was clear that Nissan has family buyers in mind with the Maxima. The ride is very comfortable, with a softer suspension setup soaking up all but the biggest divots in the road.

Dymee.com delivers news, pictures and information regarding latest Nissan cars.

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