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2009 Nissan Maxima

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  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    In the Jan 2009 issue of Motor Trend, the professional testers report a 5.9 second 0-60 MPH time with the new Max, and ¼ mile time of 14.4 98.6 MPH.

    www.theautochannel.com reported a 0-60 MPH time for the1997 Maxima at 7.5 seconds, and ¼ mile time of 17.0 84 MPH

    I would be careful about comparing acceleration times from different sources. They all have their own testing methods. Motor Trend, if I'm not mistaken, has a staff of former boy racers that (on non-manual transmission cars) hold the brake while depressing the accelerator so as to "launch" the car for maximum acceleration. That makes for good numbers that sell magazines, but doesn't exactly conform to the way I drive. Coincidentally, Nissan has had early transmission failure issues in their GT-R, and has instructed owners that the repeated use of the built in launch control feature will invalidate the warranty.

    I still have the Car and Driver June 1994 issue in which the test the new 1995 Maxima SE 5-speed manual. Their results are 0-60 in 6.7 seconds, 1/4 mile in 15.2 seconds at 92 mph. And no, that didn't require a 5,000 rpm clutch dump and is easily replicated by responsible drivers.

    I will grant you that the 1995-1999 Maxima fitted with an automatic transmission was a dog. But I still don't think the CVT is close to what a short throw 6-speed manual could achieve in the same vehicle. Not in performance, not in fuel efficiency and certainly not in driving enjoyment.
  • I don't have those old mags around anymore, so got my info where I could - this is more credible than me saying only that "when I floor my new car it really hauls [non-permissible content removed], and I drove all the other cars that were mentioned and they don't." This is actually true as far as my own perspective goes, and I think I'm pretty subjective, i.e. I'm not the fanboy type, and am not a Maxima loyalist; after trying lots of cars (several times) I decided it fit me well and Nissan did a good job with it.

    I think the reason why MT got such a good result is that all the other tests I've seen were on early or pre-production cars last summer at release time. This is perhaps a more realistic test because it's not early production - and we don't really know for sure how they drive the cars during testing, do we? My car feels 5.9 seconds quick 0-60, and I've had lots of cars over time, some much faster than this. I realize this isn't proof either, but it's an honest impression.

    I agree with you for the most part about the CVT, except I would prefer a real AT or DSG over a manual box - I just don't want to shift anymore. However, the CVT in the 09 Maxima is not the same as the one in the previous generation car, they have improved it (mostly in the software, I think). I won't claim that it's a good substitution for (any) other transmission, but it isn't half bad either. For the most part in a car like this (which is NOT a sports car), it does a decent enough job. And, the manual mode works pretty well on the street, I enjoy it. I'm sure it would suck on the track or any other truly hard driving session, but I'm not going there anyway.

    Ideally Nissan would dump the CVT and give us a real tranny, but I doubt if that will happen any time soon. I still bought the car, CVT and all, and am very happy with it.

    I will say that my car has a sporting feel that other cars in that price range lack, particularly the Lexus GS350 - a nice car but no soul. The Maxima has a nice growl upon acceleration, and feels very flat and planted during cornering. Again, I won't compare it to a BMW or Porsche.

    Had I wanted to spend a lot more and was more concerned about the "sport" aspect, I would have gone with a true sports sedan like the rear-wheel drive 535i. You cannot beat the driving dynamics of a BMW or Porsche, but you have to be willing to pay for that German engineering. If BMW wasn't so interested in gouging you at every upgrade step ($63K is way too much for a loaded 535i), I'd probably be driving it today.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I find it interesting that you would prefer a "real" automatic transmission to the Maxima's CVT. I thought the most favorable impressions of the CVT came from those that view it as better/smoother than a slushbox automatic.

    With a gun to my head, even I'd probably take the CVT over Nissan's previous automatic transmssions. Although if and when I ever get tired of shifting, hopefully whatever I opt for will have a DSG option.

    Another point I will concede is that the Maxima isn't "sport" competitive anymore. Back in 1994, when I tested the 95 SE 5 speed against a 328i, it held up reasonably well. The BMW was definitely the better balanced and better handling but not dramatically so. The Maxima was just as quick and offered foul weather advantages. But that 15 year old comparison was when both cars had about 190 horsepower and weighed in at about 3,000 lbs.

    Since 1995, both the BMW and Maxima 500-600 lbs heavier and have 100+ horsepower. In 2008, there is no way the FWD setup of a Maxima - or any 3,600 lb car for that matter, can compete with the 335i. And, while the extra 110 horsepower of the 335i powering the rear wheels ttook the 0-60 times down by nearly 2 seconds, to former 911 range, the extra 100 horsepower in the Maxima makes a much more modest positive impact on acceleration, partly offset by more wheel hop and torque steer. The gap between a 2009 Maxima and 335i is far, far greater than that between a 1995 Maxima and 328i, to the point where even my desire for a 6-speed manual won't close that much of it. (Although I'll still keep asking).

    Lastly, not that $53k isn't also a big premium over the Maxima in price, but that was what I could pick up a custom ordered 535i 6-speed with sport, premium, cold weather packages, navigation system, hi-def radio and a few other goodies. The list is $60,500, the US invoice is $55k+/- and the European delivery price, at $1,500 over ED invoice is $52,660. It does require a trip to Germany, but if that was on your family vacation wish list, you get a free rental car while you are there.
  • habitat1, I appreciate your response to my post.

    To compare the new Maxima to the 335i directly isn't really fair. The 335i weighs several hundred pounds less, has more horsepower, and (with similar equipment) costs many thousands more. I would also say that to compare the new Max directly to the 328i isn't fair to the 328i either for the same reasons (except price). Of course the handling dynamics, ride and steering of any 3 series will be superior to the Maxima. I agree with you that there is no way the Maxima can compare with the 335i.

    You seem to be rationalizing this evolutionary comparison based upon similar capabilities of the Maxima and 328i in 1995. Marketing forces, company budget, philosophy and goals, internally developed technology etc. all conspire to effect the internal evolution of a vehicle. The new 3 series has come a long way from 1995 in refinement and performance, and BMW is to be congratulated for what they have achieved. I doubt though that either BMW or Nissan would recognize a competitive relationship between the Maxima and 3 Series.

    It's really not useful to compare the 3 to the Max in any case; the 3 is a rear-wheel drive German sport sedan, the Max is a larger front-wheel drive Japanese entry-level luxury sedan with a sporting flair. A better comparison to the 3 series from Nissan would be the rear-wheel drive Infiniti G, which was developed by Nissan specifically to challenge BMW’s small sedan.

    The GT-R has demonstrated that Nissan is capable of world-beating performance at a relatively reasonable price, however to instill some of the same prowess in the Maxima would have brought the cost of the car beyond what its intended market (in the eyes of Nissan) is, all talk of 4DSC aside.

    Nissan made a choice to use the existing platform of the Altima instead of the rear-wheel drive G35/37 platform for the new Maxima, mostly for cost-saving benefits, but also to avoid infringing on the sales territory of the G sedan. This was a business decision made by the bean counters and senior management at Nissan, not by the automotive visionaries working in Nissan’s design groups. They took their instructions from above and did their best to implement them.

    I'm not aware of any wheel hop in the Maxima, and have not seen it mentioned in print or online until your post. There is still a bit of torque steer, but compared to my wife's 97 it's virtually nonexistent.

    The best comparisons to draw for the Max would be its competition in the segment: the Acura TL (fwd), Lexus ES350 and Toyota Avalon. However, the Lexus and Avalon are more focused towards luxury (the Lexus in particular is a floaty-boat) than sport. I would like to see a road test comparo between the front-wheel drive TL and the Max.

    My own impression after driving both more than once was that the Maxima’s ride is more controlled, and it has better acceleration than the TL (of course, it has more horsepower and similar weight). Both the interior and exterior are much nicer in the Maxima, and they are equals in technological amenities for the driver. The only thing the TL had going for it was its AT vs the CVT in the Max, though this wasn't enough to swing the deal for me. As with everything though, this is simply my perspective. Not being loyal to any one brand, however, had I liked the Acura more I would have bought one instead.

    Just wondering, have you driven a 2009 Maxima?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Just wondering, have you driven a 2009 Maxima?

    Yes, but not extensively. Both times (July and October) were for about 30-40 miles as a loaner while my car was in for service.

    To be honest, I so strongly prefer a manual transmission for anything intended to be sporty, that I can't get past that issue. So my assessment of the 2009 Maxima probably isn't as objective as it should be.

    I agree with you, compared to cars such as the ES350 and Avalon, it looks pretty darn good. As for the TL, I have a 2004 6-speed, so again, I'm a bit biased and would never trade away my TL for a CVT Maxima.
  • I think we've had this discussion before, but I think you have correctly summarized that 15 years ago, the Mazima was a much more legitimate competitor to the 3 series than it is today. I am a long time BMW owner/enthusiast, but I recall many of my employees (MBA's, Engineers) opting for the Maxima as a sporty Japanese alternative to the 328i back in the mid 1990's. The wouldn't have considered an automatic only, anemic ES/Camry/Avalon in a million years.

    Today, the Maxima is not remotely competitive with the 3 series for the enthusaist oriented buyer. And, perhaps not surprisingly, in the intervening years, the Maxima has lost 75%+ of it's former sales volume. Even adding the Infiniti G leaves you with about 1/3-1/2 of the former Maxima buyers looking elsewhere.

    I happen to know the owners of a DC area Nissan dealer that also have a BMW dealership. They used to have a healthy amount of cross shopping between the Maxima and 3-series, now it is next to none. They would admit that, notwithstanding the GTR, Nissan as a company now competes far more with the Koreans than the Germans.

    What I find equally interesting is that during the same period Nissan managed to self destruct the Maxima as a 3 series competitor, Audi has resurected itself as a BMW competitor. They literally had to give away cars for several years after the Audi 5000 debacle, but are now charging upwards of $50,000 for an A6 and $80,000+ for an S6. If someone had told me that they would be able to do that 15 years ago, I would have lost my shorts on the bet.
  • I agree with you, compared to cars such as the ES350 and Avalon, it looks pretty darn good. As for the TL, I have a 2004 6-speed, so again, I'm a bit biased and would never trade away my TL for a CVT Maxima.

    The 04 TL is a handsome car - it has an almost Italian look to it. I brokered an 05 for one of my clients and she is still driving it - she loves the car.

    As you are probably aware, those considering a new 2009 TL cannot get one with a manual transmission (at least right now - next year the more expensive SH-AWD version will have the option - and good for Honda for stepping up to the plate with that). Neither do they get a handsome design, IMHO.

    Had they decided to offer a manual transmission with the front-wheel drive TL, it would have given it a leg up on the 2009 Maxima for some folks. As it is though, and this is a carefully considered, although subjective opinion, I believe Nissan did a better job with the redesign of the Maxima than Honda did with the new TL.

    I wanted to like the new TL and approached it with a positive outlook, but after driving it found it wasn't at all compelling to me, particularly coming directly off a test drive of the Maxima about an hour before.

    As my dad used to say, that's what makes horse races.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    And it sounds like you picked the right horse for you.

    I've been reasonably happy with my 2004 TL 6-speed, but I would definitely not end up in a 2009 FWD TL automatic and probably not even a 2010 TL SHAWD 6-speed, thanks to a nearly 2-ton curb weight. If an automatic transmisison is the preference, I agree that the 2009 Maxima is a noticable improvement over the outgoing model and the TL is, for many folks, a styling step in the wrong direction. There is more chrome on the 2009 TL than on all the cars I've owned in the past 30 years combined.

    Happy Holidays.
  • Is the wind direction changing your opinion of the TL styling? I eluded to its shortcomings in my message number 291, to which your responded with message 300 stating that beauty is in the eye of the beholder which is true but that grill kills the rest of the car.
    I do agree that the 09 TL is a step in the wrong direction, Acura has decided to mimic/imitate the outgoing Maxima that got so much criticism for styling including its front grill too. Although a more edgy type of design, the TL and outgoing Maxima have many similarities. The one place where the TL leaves the old maxima in the dust is the interior, TL wins that hands down.
    Saw an 09 Max today in Mystic Jade, very interesting color. Light enough to be easy to keep clean and yet dark enough to pick up a good shine with a nice coat of wax. It resembles Precision Grey but with a hint of green, certainly different and one I will consider.
    To all a Merry Christmas..Be safe..
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You have a better memory than me - I had to go back and check what I wrote in "message 300".

    Fortunately, I don't think the wind direction caused any inconsistency in my position. Which is, that for someone looking for a "sport" sedan, distaste for the styling of the TL would unlikely push them to buy a CVT Maxima. Unfortunately, I can now safely conclude that neither car offers the substance that a serious enthusiast would seek and even the addition of a 6-speed manual to the AWD TL may not overtake the obese curb weight negative.

    I would bend a little under the breezes to say that the styling miscue of the TL might benefit the Maxima for those looking for less of a sports sedan and more of an entry level near luxury sedan. But that's not the type of buyer I was addressing in post 300.

    And a Merry Christmas back to you...
  • Spirit, yes, I agree with your analysis that the Max doesn't compete with the 3 series. But you leave out the part about the G37, which many feel is the closest Japanes competitor to the 3 series as many people cross shop those 2. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The Max has its own strong points, such as space and value, that the 3 series cannot match. I feel there are more choices for the consumer now than 15 years ago; it's a great time to be a car enthusiast, whether one favors luxury over sport or vice versa... :shades:
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,697
    Why are people comparing a BMW to the Max? Why are people stuck on a marketing gimick that Nissan has for the new Max? In many ways for 90% of the people who buy the new Max it is a sports sedan. But to sit here and beat a dead horse its getting old people. There is no way to compare a 09 to 95 Max, that is like comaring a 1995 911 to a 09 Porchse 911. Also for people to make a judgement on only a 20 minute trest drive, it took me a month to see the benefits of the CVT in my Altima Coupe, as it takes a while how to figure out how to drive one. But I can tell you, it will be VERY hard for me to go back to a "normal" automatic transmission car...
  • Why are people stuck on a marketing gimick that Nissan has for the new Max?

    Maybe you should be asking a different question - to Nissan. As in, why are they using a 13+ year old label that clearly no longer applies to the Maxima? It seems that Nissan is the one that is "stuck" here, not those that call the company to the carpet for not delivering the goods.

    I am a very satisfied owner of a 2003 BMW M5 that runs like new, so I'm not likely to be trading to a Nissan Maxima or Infinity anything anytime soon. But that does not preclude me from giving credit where it was due to Nissan. The former (1995 vintage) Maxima might not have really been a 4-door sports car, but it was clearly superior to its Japanese competition at the time and set itself apart enough to develop a loyal following among enthusiasts. Notwithstanding FWD, it did better against the BMW 3 series back then than the G35 does today. In both sale volumes and road test comparisons.

    In many ways for 90% of the people who buy the new Max it is a sports sedan.... it took me a month to see the benefits of the CVT in my Altima Coupe, as it takes a while how to figure out how to drive one.

    I sure as hell hope you are wrong on both counts. I would suspect/hope 90% of current Maxima buyers DON"T consider it a sport sedan. And if it took you a month to "figure out" how to drive a CVT, maybe it's a good thing that Nissan didn't really challenge your physical and/or mental capacities with a three pedal manual transmission.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,697
    It simple why Nissan is using the same sloagn, it worked....

    The CVT is a different bird, and it take a while to get used to it, I wouldn't expect someone who drives a M5 to understand what I'm getting at.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It simple why Nissan is using the same sloagn, it worked....

    Excuse me? What "worked" back in 1995 was Nissan delivering a superior product. That had real "substance" relative to its competition. Attempting to resurect that marketplace success with a marketing slogan instead of substance is why the current (or at least immediately prior) Maxima models sell a small percentage of the volume of the former one.

    You might fool a couple of naive consumers with a catchy slogan, but sooner or later you have to deliver substance or you simply embarass yourself. If I was Nissan, I'd market the 2009 Maxima for what it is - a very nice entry level/near luxury family sedan - and avoid embarassing myself by having a sales person try to expalin why a "4DSC" doesn't have anything but a CVT transmission option.

    As for a CVT taking a while to get used to - more so than an M5 6-speed manual? You lost me on that one as well. I'm successfully (mostly) teaching 4th-5th grade girls to do a crossover dribble between their legs. Please explain the challenge you had in putting the transmission into D and depressing the accelerator? Maybe I can make some beer money on the side. :)
  • Just a suggestion for those of you who own the 09 Maxima, Motor Trend January 09 issue identifies the reasons for which the car did not win Car of the Year and why it is not considered a good value. Those of you who have been criticizing the CVT and the designation as a "4DSC" will find validation in the article. I would pay close attention to the last sentence in the article, Nissan would need to drop such a power plant and match it with the right transmission into the "Sport Package" version to really back up its claim, until then the $2,300.00 option should be called the "Sport Appearance Package."
    Enjoy and to all a Happy New Year!!!!
  • I've looked at the Maxima and the satelite (sirius/xm) is available as part of the tech package. Does anyone know if the satelite radio can be added to the SV without opting for the expensive Tech Package?
  • out4catout4cat Posts: 91
    You can go on www.nissanusa.com pick the Maxima and build your own, all models and options are available that way. Having satellite radio is a great thing.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,455
    The xm radio is standard with three months free service. No need to order the tech package.
  • draz2draz2 Posts: 50
    And then I drove the car. On a positive note, I love the exterior styling and the interior is pretty sharp too. The steering is superb and the brakes are awesome. I think the orange dashboard lighting is glaring and tacky. I found the nav system to be nowhere near as clear as that on my current Lexus ES350 (2007). Now for the really negative. The engine under acceleration was unbearably loud and the CVT transmission felt like a very loose rubber band. I suppose you could get used to those things but I really don't want to feel like I'm driving a Mack truck every time I pull away from a light. A real shame because I thought this might be a real steal in the under $40k category. I guess it just goes to reaffirm the old point..."if it's too good to be true, it probably is."

    Too bad. I was all set to be in love.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,455
    Take a test drive in a cadillac cts [rwd or awd]. Rated well and priced right.
  • out4catout4cat Posts: 91
    Cadillac CTS is also distinctively styled but not overwrought, better engined and transmissioned, better color options, and the interior is truly luxurious (no fake wood that looks like contact paper). ENJOY!!
  • draz2draz2 Posts: 50
    I might except for the fact that my wife has always sworn that she would never, ever, drive in a Cadillac. Something about 80 year olds with blue hair and Miami Beach. Hell, I can't even get her to let me consider the Lincoln MKS. Once she sees the CTS I may be able to get her to rethink these positions but I'm not holding my breath.
    So I'm thinking the Acura TL (probably too small in the interior), the Acura RL (sells like crap so there are probably some awesome deals out there), the Audi A6, M-B E350 (I can get a lease on an outgoing E Class for $725/month on a 20k mile/yr lease) or the BMW 5 Series.
    Any thoughts?
    I'm still pissed the Maxima was/is not a better car....I really thought I had found a steal. Grrrrrrr ;-) :mad:
  • Depends on what kind of ride you like

    If you think TL is small..RL is smaller
    Infiniti M is another good car and not selling well.
    Hyundai Genesis..yes its hyundai.. but its best value out there
    Jag XF?..If you are considering MB then XF may not be out of your price range
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,455
    chevy impala ltz or malibu ltz could be players and save you 8-10k for starbucks.
  • draz2draz2 Posts: 50
    Yeah, but I need a little more status that an Imapla or a Malibu.

    Hey, I'm insecure, what can I tell you? ;)
  • draz2draz2 Posts: 50
    The TL is bigger inside than the RL??? Then again I do remember th RL being kind of cramped inside from about three years ago when I cross shopped it before getting the 2007 ES350. But I had thouught they extensively redesigned the RL since then.

    Infinity M is a great car and I might well end up getting it. I'm not in love with the exterior but the interior is simply gorgeous.

    I'd be all over the Genesis except for the fact that it's RWD only and I live in NY where we get a lot of snow. So I'm limiting my search to AWD or FWD vehicles.

    XF is a nice enough looking car but it's priced thru the roof and it's reliability is a question mark (it is a Jag, after all...lol).

    The M-B E-Series is priced way high but M-B seems to have a pattern of offering really deep discounts on both purchases and leases. This will especially be the case as they attempt to liquidate inventory to make way for the "new" E-Class due out in Aug. (I'll be ending my ES350 lease in June). So I think the outgoing E-Class may be an especially great deal around then. That and I despise the photos I've seen of the new E-Class (looks like a C-Class on steroids).

    The Audi A6 is of great interest to me. Now with the supercharged 3.0 engine it rectifies the anemic performance of the former naturally aspirated "3.2" (it was actually a 3.1 liter engine BTW). Problem is that Audi wisely had made it's reputation in the past by undercutting its German rivals by about $5-7k on the same class of car. That no longer seems to be the case and they may be pricing themselves right out of the market. Too bad because the Audi's are great looking cars both on the exterior and especially on their class leading interiors.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,455
    Saw a new mb 300c awd at the mall. List 39900. Been there for 6 months. Beautiful car. Must be a deal there. My wife even went ooooh!
  • out4catout4cat Posts: 91
    draz I am curious as to why not stick with Lexus, did you not like the ES you now drive or are you simply looking to break away from the brand?
    Have you considered the Pontiac G8, above the Malibu and Impala, more power, great reviews.
    I am sure that a good close look and test drive of the Caddy CTS and your wife will certainly realize it is not the blue hair vehicle of years ago. Have you seen the commercials with Kate Walsh in one of those, SMOKIN HOT!!! Recent Motor Trend articles have placed the CTS-V above the M5, yes above the M5....Good Luck!!
  • I am interested in purchasing a 2009 Maxima and have read all the technical information available. I do a lot of driving on hills in snow and ice in Maine and my Lexus E330 is O.K. but not great. The all wheel drive Audi I owned previously was much better in this respect, but not in reliability.

    The literature on the Maxima notes that it has traction control, which aparently only reduces the throttle when slippage occurs. However, it does not seem to have a limited slip differential which I have always thought the best way to eliminate getting stuck in the snow.

    I would appreciate hearing from folks who have had experience with driving in snow and ice in the '09 Maxima. I love all the other features of the car.
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