2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SVPosted on February 2nd, 2010
Premium sport sedan
By Nina Russin
Despite its luxury price tag, the Nissan Maxima is first and foremost a great value. Its ride and handling, convenience and safety features rival much more expensive cars.
What hurt the car’s popularity until recently was its plain exterior. Last year, designers reconfigured the Maxima with a muscular, stylish body befitting its underpinnings. Buyers in the market for a sport sedan would be remiss not to test drive the Maxima.
The Maxima comes in two grades: the base S and upscale SV. Power for all grades comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and continuously variable transmission. Standard 18-inch wheels with V-rated tires give the sedan a wide, stable footprint. Four-wheel vented disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the Maxima on a dime.
The test car is the 3.5 SV which retails for $33,180, not including the $720 destination charge. Standard comfort and convenience features include keyless entry and start, leather trim, an eight-way power driver’s seat and four-way power passenger seat, Bluetooth interface, Bose audio system with XM satellite radio, USB connectivity, and a power moonroof.
A premium package on the test car adds a two-panel moonroof, bi-xenon headlamps, heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, heated front seats with driver’s seat memory, a downloadable hard drive and streaming Bluetooth audio.
Wolf in sheep’s clothing
Drivers need to push the envelope in order to appreciate the Maxima’s performance. Engineers purposely avoided a harsh throttle tip-off in favor of linear acceleration that showcases the engine’s torque.
The sedan excels on winding, two-lane roads. My test drive took me on some sparsely-travelled highways outside of Phoenix, where I could put the sedan’s 290-horsepower engine through its paces.
Paddle shifters on the steering wheel allow the driver to manually choose gears. The location of the shift paddles, just inside the steering wheel, makes them easy to reach. It’s not necessary to push the shift lever into a special setting to engage the manual shift function. The system will automatically disengage if the driver neglects to shift before braking.
With or without the shift function, the V-6 engine has an impressive amount of low-end power. To test it, I accelerated from a stop on a steep hill at an altitude of about 4000 feet. The V-6 engine develops peak torque at 4400 rpm. Since the transmission doesn’t downshift until over 5000 rpm, the car can easily accelerate up to speeds of over 70 miles-per-hour in a matter of seconds.
Front and rear stabilizer bars keep the chassis flat in the corners. The standard four-wheel independent suspension is compliant yet responsive.
The sedan’s low center of gravity gives it excellent steering response at speed. When I simulated an emergency evasive maneuver, the chassis remained completely stable. The Maxima’s 37.4-foot turning radius is adequate for the occasional U-turn.
Visibility around the perimeter is excellent. The thick rear pillars create some blind areas in back, which the rearview camera compensates for. The interior is quiet enough so that passengers in both rows can converse with ease. The only obvious noise from outside the cabin is an exhaust note during hard acceleration.
Fuel economy is good, though not exceptional. I averaged 21.4 miles-per-gallon during my 180-mile test drive: slightly below the EPA estimate.
Designers did an excellent job on the seats and steering wheel, which can adjust to fit drivers of various sizes. I appreciate the fact that the steering wheel diameter is small enough to fit my frame.
The power lumbar adjustment made it possible to stay comfortable during a three-hour test drive. A power tilt and telescoping steering wheel makes it possible for smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view.
The optional dual moonroof that comes with the premium package ($3230) includes separate glass panels over the first and second rows, bringing an abundance of ambient light inside. The only downside is that the option makes it impossible to mount a roof rack.
Heated front seats enhance comfort during temperature extremes. The front passengers have access to two, 12-volt power points and a USB port. The front doors have map pockets and bottle holders. There are two large cupholders in the center console. A deep center console bin and locking glovebox provide plenty of concealed storage.
A mouse device on the center stack controls the optional navigation system, audio and information functions. Nissan’s navigation graphics are some of the best in the industry: easy to program and read.
Dual overhead reading lamps in front and back illuminate the interior at night.
Three adults can fit in the back seats on short trips. A cutaway center seat pattern maximizes legroom in the center position, to compensate for the floor tunnel and center console.
I was surprised to discover that the rear doors lacked any sort of map pocket or bottle holder. However a fold-down armrest in back includes two cupholders, as well as redundant audio and temperature controls.
A deep trunk includes a small pass-through for skis. While I wouldn’t call the Maxima bicycle-friendly, it can certainly hold a weekend’s worth of luggage and camping gear.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, vehicle stability and traction control and antilock brakes. The Maxima received five-star federal crash test ratings for both rows of seating in frontal, side crash and rollover tests.
The premium package adds bi-xenon headlamps, which project a brighter, longer beam of light than halogen. The Premium technology package ($1850) adds live traffic and weather updates via XM satellite radio.
The 2010 Maxima is on display at Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Likes: A well-equipped sport sedan with excellent performance, steering response and braking. The Maxima gives driving enthusiasts the type of performance they crave in a practical package.
Dislike: Rear doors do not have map pockets or bottle holders.
Model: Maxima 3.5 SV
Base price: $33,180
As tested: $39,160
Horsepower: 290 Hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 261 lbs.-ft @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 19/26 mpg city/highway
9 responses to “2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV”
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Mike Mullins June 26th, 2010 at 19:58
does the 2010 maxima require “super unleaded” High octane , gasoline ?
Yes: Nissasn recommends premium.
Denise August 16th, 2010 at 06:55
I have driven 800 kms on one tank of gas through the mountains from Alberta to British Columbia.
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[…] 2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV examination | Auto Reviews | The Carspondent Premium competition sedan By Nina Russin Despite a oppulance cost tag, a Nissan Maxima is initial and inaugural a good value. Its float and handling, http://carspondent.com/2010-nissan-maxima-35-sv/ […]
It may recommend premium, but you can run regular and increase your gas mileage with today’s technology.
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