Nissan further transforms itself into a performance brand, taking the Maxima from sedate sedan to quick sports car. To make matters even better, the cabin electronics are borrowed from the upscale Infiniti brand.
Nissan's slogan for the Maxima is "The 4-door sports car," making the not-exactly-revolutionary claim that a sedan can perform well. The only performance drawback with the Maxima is that it is on a front-wheel-drive platform.
Maxima has always featured a decent interior, and the 2009 model doesn't let down, with quality materials and fit. Nissan also does away with its low-end cabin electronics, fitting the Maxima with the gear previously developed for Infiniti models.
The Maxima uses a well-tuned continuously variable transmission, which sets the right drive ratio no matter how fast the engine is turning. Its sport program does an excellent job of holding high rpms.
The hard drive-based navigation system uses rich graphics to indicate turns. We really like the big multifunction knob for controlling the interface. It is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use in the business.