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2009 Nissan Maxima



  • The exhaust is definitely not the same as a g37 (I traded in an FX35- similar sound). Actually it's a similar pitch if you really get on it but normally it's very muted. On the Infiniti's the sound is noticeable in the cabin all the time. It's not very noticeable in the cabin in the Max.
  • Oh you are right, I forgot about the FX35, that car has a great sound as it drives by. I wonder why the Maxima with the same engine, high HP and similar exhaust tips is not designed to sound the same, especially the one with the Sport Package. Oh well, maybe for 2010 or 11.
  • Hey out4cat,

    The Max is definitely quieter inside with respect to the Infiniti G37 coupe to my ears (not sure about the sedan) - one reason I passed on the G is that I felt the somewhat constant droning sound would eventually get irritating over time - I like how it sounds in the short term though. That said, the newer gen G sounds much better than the previous gen G35 coupe, it's less "buzzy" sounding.

    I had a 99 Camaro SS and bought it new - it had a great V8 sound with a manual transmission, but after about 30K miles the exhaust noise had definitely worn out its welcome, and I vowed to take the long term into consideration with any future automotive purchases.

    From what I understand for the new Max Nissan "piped in" some of the sound to give the car a sportier sound for the driver as there is so much sound deadening material it was too quiet - and that's why it sounds robust upon acceleration but very quiet on the freeway. I really like this tradeoff.

    Auto pricing is always about supply and demand - and I need to point out that mine stickered out at $39,205 - about $2,200 more than the one you are indicating at $37K. The price I got was $35,457 - $200 below dealer invoice. This is a good result considering that the SF Bay Area dealers aren't carrying inventories of more than a few new Maximas each. The one I got was the only one in California with the color combination I wanted - and I bought it the day after it came in off the truck. Two other reasons why mine cost more than the ones that have been sitting for months at your dealer.

    I have a business relationship with these guys, and dealerships are hurting right now. It wouldn't have been appropriate for that business relationship going forward to lowball them too much, they have to make a living too. All in all I'm happy with the price I got.
  • The end resulting exhaust sound in a car has very little to do with the exhaust tips, essentially a cosmetic decoration, or the engine itself (except for the number of cylinders) and more about the entire exhaust system setup. Automotive engineers can "tune" the sound to their liking with different lengths and diameter of piping in different locations along the system, and of course the muffler they use will make a big difference. It might be that in the case of the newly designed FX they felt more sound was indicated (look at the mean shark face front end) than in the Maxima, of course I'm not privy to what their considerations were. While both vehicles use a version of the Nissan VQ, they are really apples and oranges for comparison sake.
  • Good points on the reason why some price deals may vary from time to time and place to place. I am sure that having 27 Maximas in stock had something to do with the lower price figure at the dealer out here in the D.C. area.
    Point taken on the long term effect of a lively exhaust note, I am very happy with the engine hum I hear when I step on the gas on my 07 but can agree that I also love the quietness that takes over when I let go of the gas pedal.
    I saw a black 09 parked by my job today and except for the fact that it was filthy dirty, I liked the look. Only the similarity in the trunk design to the Altima stands in the way of falling for the new design.
    You hit the nail right on the head with the FX looking like a shark, I am glad I am not the only one with the same thought.
    I had also read an article somewhere that backed up your take on colors that dealers stock most and are most popular. I would love to see what the new car looks like in the dark green that was available in 01-03, coral sand, and pebble beach (all colors from the previous model). Living in northern VA without a garage and being a clean car fanatic, I cannot see myself getting the dark slate like yours, or black. My life is quite different than when I lived in Florida and had a garage to keep those colors shiny, oh well. By the way, speaking of shine, I use Pizzaz Carnauba wax from and love what it does for my precision grey color, imagine what it will do for yours being darker.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Especially if you like the Cadillac inspired pimp-mobile look. :surprise: ;)
  • I was referring to the car in black not the wheels. I can't understand buying the sport package with 19" wheels and then replacing them.

    Don't knock all Cadillacs though, the CTS (motor trend COY)and CTS-V (rated better than the M5 by motor trend) are great cars, too bad the rest of the line up is not quite up to par.
  • Let me get this out of the way right now - the 2009 Maxima is not a sports car in the traditional sense. A proper sports car doesn’t have front wheel drive, and there would certainly be a manual transmission, or at minimum a properly set up automatic transmission or DSG, not a CVT.

    Most of the criticism leveled at the Max in the automotive journals is based on their lofty 4DSC claim, because it simply does not measure up to that bar in the areas that count. I think Nissan made a big mistake with that, and opened the Maxima up to needless criticism. But. This is only marketing, folks; the newly redesigned Maxima is what it is, and that is a well put together, sporty, entry-level luxury car.

    I spent 25 years in Silicon Valley working as a design engineer at technology companies like Cisco. During that time I had many battles with marketing folks who quite frankly live in another world. I learned over the years to take marketing with a grain of salt, and to look at products for what they really are. Marketing often consists of hype and half-truths, and so I treat it as such and basically ignore it.

    So, I urge you to ignore the “4 Door Sport Car” moniker and give the Maxima a fair chance if you are considering an entry level luxury car with a sporty feel, and decent acceleration and handling. Anyone who is looking for a real “sports car” should look elsewhere, and I’d bet they most probably are anyway.
  • I’ve seen some recent posts that claim acceleration figures for the 09 Maxima, and also the BMW 328i and an older 90s model Maxima. As I’ve driven all of the cars mentioned and didn’t feel the claims were accurate based on my own seat-of-the-pants impressions, I went out and did a bit of research.

    I’m no stranger to older Maximas, as my wife had a 1997 Max (purchased new in 97) until recently, and it was my daily driver for most of the past year. I must confess that until the 2009 model came out, I wasn’t much of a Maxima fan. I think the 97 was a good car, and pretty fast too, if you could ignore the huge amount of torque steer. It has 100 less horesepower than the 2009, but is also much lighter (3,001 lbs curb weight for the 1997 vs. 3,602 for the 2009)

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

    Comparing these two cars is like apples and oranges, the new Maxima with its 600 lb weight disadvantage (and 100 horsepower advantage) absolutely mops up the 1997 Maxima though.

    BMW 328i vs 2009 Maxima

    I was unable to find a test of the 2009 328i in any of the magazines, but tested the 2008 328i. Acceleration results were: 6.4 seconds 0-60 MPH and 14.6 @ 94.7 MPH. Again, the Maxima wins the drag race by a full half second in 0-60, but the BMW narrows the gap in the quarter mile. The bottom line is that the Max is faster, but again the weight differential (the BMW is 250 lbs lighter at 3,362) and horsepower difference (the Max has 60 HP more) make these two cars difficult to compare directly.

    I will readily admit that the driving dynamics of the BMW will be superior to the Nissan, but we are only talking about acceleration here.

    2009 Acura TL vs. 2009 Maxima

    In my opinion the best direct comparison is between the new TL and the Maxima, as both are similarly sized front wheel drive sporty sedans, at a similar price point. I was unable to find a 0-60 time for the front wheel drive model, but the Jan 2009 issue of Motor Trend lists the higher performance TL SH-AWD model at 6.2 seconds to 60 and 14.7 @ 97.2 MPH for the ¼ mile. This car has 15 more horsepower than the Max, yet weighs a lot more at 3954, so this is again not a good direct comparison given the weight and horsepower differential. The front wheel drive model weighs about the same as the Max, but has less horsepower, so I assume that the end result would be the same. Bottom line though is the 2009 Maxima again wins the drag race.

    Of course, when considering a new vehicle purchase the performance specs aren't nearly as important as your own driving impressions - and anyone considering a vehicle like the new Maxima won't be at the track or drag strip, so ultimately how the car feels to you in everyday driving should dictate your decision. I believe that all of the cars I mentioned in this post are excellent choices, by the way.
  • 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. 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...
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