The 2009 Nissan Maxima marks the seventh generation of the fun and nimble sedan, and fans of the model will be pleased with the newest version. Nissan, and Maxima drivers, have long referred to the car as a four-door sports car that is very well priced for the performance. The 2009 Maxima continues that tradition, and indeed enhances it in comparison to the comparatively sluggish previous generation of the car.
The engine in the 2009 Maxima is the same venerable 3.5-liter V6 that has powered numerous Nissan vehicles, including the previous Maxima. This iteration of the engine, however, gets some upgrades, most notably in the intake and exhaust systems, that boost the horsepower to 290 and torque to 261 lb-ft, compared to 255 and 252 in the previous generation Maxima. Also, while power increases are normally accompanied by a decrease in fuel efficiency, the 2009 Maxima maintains the same 19 mpg city as the previous model and increases the highway mileage by 1 mpg over the outgoing model to 26. The engine itself is also mounted lower in the frame than the 2008 model, thereby reducing vibrations and lowering the center of gravity, which helps handling.
The 2009 Maxima comes in two trim levels, the 3.5S and the 3.5SV. The 3.5SV can also be enhanced through two option packs, either Premium or Sport. The Premium is a more luxurious option that includes leather interior, Bose stereo, and other such gadgets like satellite navigation and iPod integration. True driving enthusiasts will want to try out the Sport package, though. This package adds better and additional components to teh front suspension that will further increase the handling, and it also adds 19-inch wheels (over the standard 18s) skinned with high-performance, low-profile Bridgestone tires.
The 2009 Maxima is also a bit smaller than the outgoing model. The wheelbase is 2 inches shorter, the overall length is 4 inches shorter, and the car is a half inch shorter. However, the track width of the wheels has been increased 1.4 inches in the front and 1.2 inches in the rear. This wider stance, in addition to the aforementioned suspension upgrades in the Sport package, leads to one of the best-handling sedans on the market today, and certainly the best in the $35,000 price segment (the base-level 3.5S starts at $30,160).
The styling has also received a significant upgrade. Both the Maxima and its little brother, the Altima, are built on a similar platform, and Nissan needed a way to differentiate the two, so the styling was changed a lot for the 2009 Maxima. When looking at specific portions of the new Maxima, one can see where Nissan’s engineers took inspiration. The interior is as well-appointed as the the company’s Infiniti model brand, and a lot of the exterior body work takes its cues from Nissan’s 370Z and GT-R sports cars. In all, the car drives beautifully and has the looks to match.