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New York show: Nissan confirms sexy Maxima

Maximum effort: Nissan's Maxima will look much like this Sport Sedan Concept when it goes into production in early 2015, and in right-hand drive too.

Style is back at Nissan as it locks in coupe-style Maxima sedan for an LA debut


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17 Apr 2014


NISSAN'S Maxima large sedan is set to come out punching in a new and more stylish guise at this year's Los Angeles motor show ahead of a 2015 roll-out around the world, including right-hand-drive markets such as Australia.

And the good news is that it is will look close to the Nissan Sports Sedan Concept that graced the Nissan stand at this year's Detroit motor show in January.

It will join the related Murano crossover vehicle that was formally released in production form at the New York motor show yesterday ahead of a progressive roll-out from Nissan's Canton, Mississippi, factory starting before Christmas.

Nissan Australia has confirmed that the Murano will make it down under in the second half of next year, but says it has no plans for the Maxima.

Nissan vice president and chief planning officer Andy Palmer – the man who calls the shots on all Nissan and Infiniti new products – says Murano and Maxima will be exported to 100 markets, including right-hand drive destinations.

Mr Palmer said the Maxima could be expected to look like the Detroit concept, and that the production version could be expected to start arriving in showrooms after Christmas.

Asked if the Los Angeles motor show in November would be a logical time to wheel out the production Maxima, Mr Palmer replied: “It would, wouldn't it?”.

Mr Palmer said the Murano and Maxima would sit on essentially the same front-wheel-drive D platform that was a development of the previous model and which also underpins the new Pathfinder that is also manufactured in the United States,The Murano gets Nissan's new styling direction, with a stronger “V-Motion” grille, boomerang-shaped lights and “floating” roof.

“In five years, this is what all our sedans will look like,” Mr Palmer said.

“We don't want vanilla, we want Marmite.”

While the new Murano is a major step in style over the current model, the swoopy, coupe-like Maxima is set to take it to a whole new level – a fact that might convince Nissan Australia to give it another chance in a market that has suffered a major decline on large car sales over the past decade.

Nissan Australia euthanised the current Maxima with the arrival of the Altima last year after selling just 748 units in 2013.

The Murano fared a little better, finding 1125 homes in Australia, although that was a decline of 47.6 per cent over 2012.

The new Maxima will get a variety of powertains, most likely including a petrol-electric hybrid that will also make an entrance in the Murano from 2015, as well as front- and all-wheel-drive configurations.

As before, Nissan's 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and ubiquitous VQ 3.5-litre V6 engine are likely to be the mainstay of the Murano and Maxima, perhaps with the latter in various states of tune to suit both family and sports drivers.

An Xtronic CVT automatic transmission will be standard fare across all models and markets.

Nissan promises a 20 per cent improvement in fuel economy in Murano, thanks to weight reductions, powertrain tweaks and innovations such as closing vents on the grille to help improve aerodynamics to 0.31Cd.

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