2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
My wife just picked this out and has been driving it a month now. I drive it on the weekends and we just took a small road trip. I drive a 1yr old VW on a daily basis. The experience with the dealer was very nice. The salesperson was knowledgeable and helpful and seemed genuinely looking out for our best interest. The service department was also very professional, we had to have a cup holder lid fixed.
As other reviewers point out, the car has plenty of power, drives easy but has significant understeer. It's clear that most people recognize the car as an entry level luxury/sport sedan and that's the perception and how Nissan markets the car. Our Maxima is fully loaded in grey.
The absolute best features we like are the dual glass in the roof and the premium sound system. The switch for the roof is a little complicated but it gets the job done. Of course it's a big sedan and it rides like one, soft and fairly smooth. The ride seems a little nervous at highway speeds, a little too much road feel and touchy, otherwise effortless. Of course with almost 300hp there is plenty of power but your paying for it with the gas mileage. Power is nice and linear through the CVT transmission and the lack of shifting takes a little getting used to. Back seat is roomy and overall seating is comfortable. Seat memory is great for a car with 2 driving on a regular basis.
I disagree with reviewers that the build quality is great. Sheet metal tolerances are not very tight and interior, some dash and door trim seams are not even along the length of the pieces. Nissan says the Maxima is a 4dsc (4door sports car) but the seating totally lacks side bolsters to support any kind of tight turning but they are otherwise comfortable. My biggest criticism has to be the complexity of the navigation/bluetooth phone system. The voice system prompts you for each piece of info instead of just push a button and say it all. The menu driven system forgot half my phone book and looking over to the center stack to read it was too distracting. Menus for navigation are too complex.