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At The Wheel

 

2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE: Shift to No Shifts

  

By Les Jackson   CruiseControlRadio.Com

 

The Dark Slate 2007 Maxima arrived just in time for an extended trip over a holiday weekend. It proved to be a welcome transport that was long on comfort and features. About the only thing of any complaint was the fuel mileage as it averaged just 23.8 miles/per/gallon over a 900 mile range with a medium sized load. That was a bit under the estimated 28 mpg, but not bad for a highway cruise up into the Northeast.

 

The Maxima is powered by Nissan's excellent 3.5 liter, 255 horsepower V6 that offers smoothness and hushed operation. Coupled to it is an Xtronic CVT, Nissan's continuously variable transmission. Since shifts don't exist in a CVT the only thing noticeable was the tendency to go into a high drive range very shortly after takeoff. Revs tended to stay around 2500 rpm during most driving situations and this level was barely noticeable when it came to noticing any noises from the engine bay. Nissan has done a nice job with this CVT.

 

On the outside the Maxima carries the familiar Nissan styling cues very well. It's easy to confuse it for an Altima (two friends did so) because both look very similar. The Maxima, of course, is considerably larger but that's about it for distinguishing features. Inside, the Maxima shows off its higher levels of materials and comfort features very well and you know you're in a nice car.

 

Entry and exit was made easy by large doors, both front and rear. Seats were comfortable and quite adjustable and the driver's seat had lumbar support, an important feature for long-distance driving. I particularly liked the heated steering wheel, as daily outside temperatures ranged down to the 20s. It's always hard to accustom oneself to rapid drops in temperature as the late fall moves into winter, and warm hands help a lot. Also nice were the power tilt/telescope function and the auto entry/exit system that allows you to keep the key fob in your pocket.

 

The test car was fitted with a one-touch glass sunroof ($900) and the Driver Preferred Package ($3,750) that had Bluetooth phone, power seat, HID headlights and a rear sonar system. Added to this were the Sensory Package (leather heated seats and heated exterior mirrors) and the Premium Audio Package which had a 5-speaker Bose system, MP3, speed sensitive volume control and XM Satellite radio, all integrated with Nissan's DVD NAV system ($1,800)

 

I put the NAV system to work several times during the trip, as we planned to visit a number of locations that we'd not been before and I had forgotten to bring maps. Data entry was fairly intuitive and the system brought us there every time within minutes of the scheduled arrival time. Changing from the route map to the trip computer to the audio system's information screens was simplicity itself.

My passengers remarked several times about the quality of materials and "feeling of solidity" in the Maxima. Most believed that they were driving in a luxury car costing considerably more than the $35,765 sticker price. That's a rave, by anybody's standards.

 

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