Pre-2009, the Maxima had gotten soft. Pudgy. Fat. Non-sporting. Any number of unflattering adjectives could be used to describe the last generation Nissan Maxima. The point is, it was no longer a Four Door Sports Car. Enter the all-new 2009 Maxima. The styling is bold and powerful. Ignoring the love/hate headlights, the grille looks menacing. The rear fenders are positively meaty. This car looks fast as hell.
Whether you pick the base S or upscale SV, you get the same 290 horse V6 mated to Nissan’s CVT. Yes, a car like this should offer a manual. Yes, Nissan made a bad call by not offering one. That being said, the CVT just works in this car. Plus, if you just can’t get used to it, you can bump-shift using the gearshift, or go nuts with paddle shifters. Your call.
The 09 Max drives, well, pretty darn good. It’s the best Nissan I’ve ever driven. It’s fast, handles well, and is comfortable. The problem? That pesky front wheel drive. With cars like the BMW 335 not extremely more expensive than the Max, its’ hard to think of the Max as a bonafide sports car. Think rather of the Max as a sporty alternative to the Avalon. If you do that, you won’t be disappointed in the least.
2009 Nissan Maxima Specs
- 290 HP 3.5 liter VQ V6
- 261 lb-ft of torque
- CVT – continuously variable transmission
- Curb weight: 3579 lbs
- EPA Says: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
2009 Nissan Maxima Reviews
TTAC reviews the 2009 Nissan Maxima and writes – ‘OK, we’re here now. Is this the “world’s best-handling 290hp front-wheel-drive-car?” Surely the concept is as ridiculous as the “world’s best one-armed boxer.” Yes, the traction control steps-in when mashing the gas from a stop. But otherwise, torque steer is blessedly absent. Even better, the new Maxima corners so evenly you’d think it had outriggers. Even betterer, Nissan’s quick but unfortunately-named twin-orifice power-steering rack provides a direct connection to the front tires. There’s a feeling of slippery nimbleness that even an Altima coupe would be hard-pressed to match.’
Autoblog reviews the 2009 Nissan Maxima and writes – ‘As we stood in the lobby of the hotel at the end of the day, the obvious question was whether or not this new Nissan was really all that different from its predecessors. Had the automaker reinvented the “4-Door Sports Car” again, or was this just another downhill slide of the Maxima legacy? The indication we were given in our 200-plus miles behind the wheel is that this car is a step forward for the Maxima. As for whether or not it deserves that “4DSC” sticker on the rear window once again, let’s just say that real sports cars don’t use CVT transmissions.’
Cars.com reviews the 2009 Nissan Maxima and writes – ‘Its hard-nosed character encourages the sort of driving a responsive five- or six-speed automatic might complement, and in such situations the CVT inspires little confidence. You can shift it in manual mode — there are six fixed ratios that simulate gears, shifted either via the gearshift’s manual gate or the optional steering-wheel paddle shifters — but doing so makes the car slower than it would be if you just left it in Drive and stood on the gas.’
Edmunds.com reviews the 2009 Nissan Maxima and writes – ‘Part of the Maxima’s confident personality is due to its pairing of the powerful yet tractable V6 with a brilliant continuously variable transmission (CVT), with which Nissan has proven that it is possible to merge the benefits of both a manual and an automatic with only a few of the downsides of either. Whether you’re snapping off “downshifts” for engine braking, plodding through traffic or making a quick getaway, the CVT makes everything so effortless that you wonder why other automakers bother with traditional automatics anymore.’