1 Jun 2009
NISSAN will straddle the medium and large-car segments with its J32 Maxima sedan.
On sale June 1 from $33,990, the Thai-built, seventh-generation, four-door sedan retains the basic exterior dimensions of its Japanese-made, J31 Maxima predecessor, but introduces a smaller, 2.5-litre VQ25DE V6 base model (250 ST-L) to take on the four-cylinder rivals such as the Honda Accord VTi, Toyota Camry and Mazda6 sedans.
Along with a redesigned body and completely restyled interior featuring higher quality trim – the J32 Maxima’s front-wheel drive platform is virtually all new and much improved over the J31 model’s FF-L architecture.
Shared with the Z51 Murano mid-sized SUV as well as a host of other larger models available elsewhere, Nissan’s ‘D’ platform architecture introduces a new MacPherson strut front suspension with shock absorbers featuring in-built rebound sprints for flatter cornering abilities, and a multi-link rear end with shock absorbers positioned closer to the tyres for stability gains.
Nissan says Japanese engineers accumulated data in Australia before altering the Maxima’s suspension tune to local tastes. Models benchmarked for ride and handling qualities include the Toyota Aurion.
The base 250 ST-L is powered by a 2.5-litre, all-aluminium, double overhead cam 24-valve petrol V6 with Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS).
It produces 134kW of power at 6000rpm and 228Nm of torque at 4400rpm, and – on standard 91 RON unleaded petrol – returns 9.5 litres per 100km on the ADR 81/01 cycle, as well as 226 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions.
350 ST-S and 350 Ti models use the revised 3.5-litre VQ35DE V6, delivering 185kW at 6000rpm and 326Nm at 4400rpm. These figures represent a 15kW rise but a 7Nm fall from before.
The official combined fuel consumption figure is 10.2L/100km, which is a 0.6L/100km improvement. As expected, CO2 levels rise in the 350 ST-L and Ti, to 243g/km.
Driving the front wheels is a revised version of the old car’s CVT Continuously Variable Transmission dubbed X-TRONIC, utilising new software and other changes for improved shift response and quality. It also features a six-speed Tiptronic-style sequential manual mode.
Other mechanical changes include the introduction of a new speed-variable hydraulically powered rack and pinion steering system, while the brake system is a four-wheel disc system (ventilated up front), supported by Nissan’s VDC Vehicle Dynamic Control (ESC stability control) with traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and BA Brake Assist.
All models include the above, as well as dual front, and dual front-side airbags, and full-length curtain airbags.
Even the 250 ST-L arrives in Australia fitted with leather upholstery, high-intensity discharge (Xenon) headlights with auto-on function, automatic climate control air-conditioning, LED tail-lights, powered folding exterior mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-sized alloy spare, front fog lights, an eight-way powered driver’s seat and a four-way powered passenger seat, a six-stacker CD/MP3/AUX audio, push-button engine start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
When it was new