Condition

Year(s)
to

Edmunds Special Offers

Trims

Price
Purchase Price | Lease Price
to

Mileage
to

Features

Exterior Colors

Interior Colors

Engine/Mechanics
Engine
Transmission
Fuel Type
Drivetrain
Make
Model
or
Type
near
Zip Code
Enter your ZIP code to show only
relevant vehicles for sale nearby
within
Radius

Used Nissan Maxima For Sale

782 matching vehicles
page 1 of 44

2017 Nissan Maxima
26 photos
2017 Nissan Maxima SV with 25,144 miles, Leather interior, Heated Seats, Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, Power Driver Seat, Navigation and 1-Owner Carfax history! This 2017 Nissan Maxima comes with a CARFAX Buyback Guarantee, which means you can buy with certainty. Looking for a one-owner vehicle? You've found it. CARFAX shows this vehicle was owned by the original buyer. Added comfort with contemporary style is the leather interior to heighten the quality and craftsmanship for the Nissan Maxima This vehicle comes with a navigation system. That doesn't mean you won't get lost. But it does mean you won't stay lost.

2007 Nissan Maxima
20 photos

List: $10,599 save

ABS Brakes,Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,AM/FM Stereo,Automatic Transmission,Auxiliary Audio Input,Bluetooth,BOSE Sound System,CD Audio,Cruise Control,Front Seat Heaters,Leather Seats,Memory Seat(s),Overhead Airbags,Parking Sensors,Power Locks,Power Mirrors,Power Seat(s),Power Windows,Preferred Package,Rear Defroster,Rear Spoiler,Satellite Radio Ready,Side Airbags,Smart Key,Sunroof(s),Traction Control Price excludes tax, title, tags and $299 CarMax processing fee (not required by law). Some fees are location specific and may change if you transfer this vehicle to a different CarMax store.

2013 Nissan Maxima
36 photos

List: $11,677 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

**CLEAN CARFAX!**All of our vehicles pass a rigorous Multi-Point Quality Inspection so you can buy with confidence. No credit, No problem! We Finance EVERYONE! Guaranteed Credit Approval! Rates starting at 1.99%. Extended Warranties Available! Call (703) 445-CARS (2277) to make an appointment or drop by to check out our new Chantilly showroom at 25280 Pleasant Valley Rd, Suite 150, Chantilly, VA 20152. We are open Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 11am-4pm.

2010 Nissan Maxima
31 photos

List: $11,941 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.


2010 Nissan Maxima
31 photos

List: $10,499 save

Hurry and take advantage now! Hurry on down here! This wonderful-looking 2010 Nissan Maxima is the rare family vehicle you have been searching for. Load it down with passengers, cargo, whatever! This Maxima's cavernous trunk and interior space will haul around everything you need. J.D. Power and Associates gave the 2010 Maxima 4 out of 5 Power Circles for Overall Performance and Design. All prices exclude taxes, title, license, and dealer processing fee of $699.00. Published price subject to change without notice to correct errors or omissions or in the event of inventory fluctuations. All features not on all vehicles. Vehicles shown are for illustration purposes only. MPG is based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors. MPG is based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors.

2016 Nissan Maxima
29 photos

List: $23,690 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

2016 NISSAN MAXIMA 3.5 S ** NAVIGATION SYSTEM ** BLUETOOTH ** BACK UP CAMERA ** AM / FM / CD (MP3) ** SIRIUS SATELLITE READY ** NISSAN CONNECT ** ANTI - THEFT SYSTEM ** POWER WINDOWS AND LOCKS ** CRUISE CONTROL ** KEYLESS START ** DUAL POWER FORNT SEATS ** DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS ** ALLOY WHEELS ** FOG LIGHTS ** CARFAX CERTIFIED NO ACCIDENT ** 1 - OWNER ** MUCH MORE **OUR VEHICLES RECEIVE QUALITY INSPECTIONS AND ARE SERVICED TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS VEHICLE CONTACT US TODAY AT 1-855-424-3919.


2014 Nissan Maxima
36 photos

List: $18,636 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

Red 2014 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV FWD CVT 3.5L V6 DOHC 24V 18 Aluminum Alloy Wheels, 7 Touch-Screen Color Monitor w/VGA Display, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, BOSE Audio System, Cold Package, Heated Front Seats, Heated Outside Mirrors, Heated Steering Wheel, Navigation System, Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with Voice Recognition, SV Value Package, Technology Package, XM NavTraffic & NavWeather.Odometer is 5069 miles below market average! 26/19 Highway/City MPG***Buy with confidence ! 7 DAY EXCHANGE POLICY ON EVERY PURCHASE**Every vehicle IS safety and performance inspected by certified VIRGINIA State inspectors**Reviews:* Strong acceleration; steers and handles well for a car its size; excellent interior materials; easy-to-use high-tech features. Source: Edmunds* With an aggressive silhouette - and the power to match - the 2014 Nissan Maxima embodies refinement and style. The dual mufflers that show off its throaty roar, accentuating its commanding stance. Also featured is automatic on/off headlights and LED taillights. The Maxima features a power sliding moonroof that adds both ventilation and sunlight to the interior. The tinted moonroof slides, tilts and has a manual sunshade, all controlled by a single button. The interior features Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition that allows you to unlock the doors and start the engine, all without taking the key out of your pocket. Conveniently integrated into the gauge cluster, the multi-function trip computer records and displays your current and average fuel consumption, your distance/time traveled and the outside temperature. Comfortable combinations are endless with the 8-way adjustable driver's seat and 4-way adjustable front-passenger seat. And with the power controls and manual lumbar support for the driver's seat, personalizing your journey is easy and efficient. Exhilaration comes standard with Maxima. The legendary 3.5-liter V6 engine rapidly unleashes its 290 horses with a press of the accelerator. The innovative valve design, coupled with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust ports, helps generate incredible torque for off-the-line acceleration and improved power at higher engine speeds. A stiffer, lighter suspension allows for quicker acceleration and enhanced agility. With the advanced Continuously Variable Transmission, seamless power is a green light away. Safety comes standard. Maxima's Advanced Air Bag System includes dual-stage supplemental front air bags that adjust their inflation rate depending on the severity of impact and seat belt use. Anti-lock brakes and a Traction control system keep you in control. The Nissan Maxima is a high-octane and intelligent vehicle, sure to make a brilliant first impression. Source: The Manufacturer Summary

2014 Nissan Maxima
20 photos

List: $11,900 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

EXCELLENT CONDITION! Factory Sunroof Premium Sound System Aux Input Bluetooth Keyless Entry Alarm Push Button Start Alloy Wheels Power Seats Clean Carfax... A MUST SEE! Vehicle comes with 3months/5000 miles Powertrain Warranty! Easy financing with low rates! Second chance credit and TAX IDS are welcome! NEW! NEW! NEW! 2014 Nissan Maxima SV 4DR Sedan...auto 69K highway miles Factory Sunroof Premium Sound System Aux Input Bluetooth Keyless Entry Alloy Wheels....Very Well Maintained! This Maxima is one-of-a-kind! The vehicle is impressively well maintained and it comes with 3months/5000 miles Powertrain warranty. We also offer extended warranties at very reasonable prices. We offer low interest rate financing. Second chance credit and TAX IDS are welcome. For more info please call 703-351-9400 ask for Carlos or Moe or JulioVisit Auto Bank II online at autobank2.com to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 703-351-9400 today to schedule your test drive.Auto Bank offers quality luxury vehicles at very reasonable prices. We have interest rates as low as 2.99% on 2002 vehicles and newer on approved credit. All of our vehicles come with 3months/3000 miles warranty. Auto Bank offers extended warranties at very reasonable prices. Open on Sundays from 1100 am -500 pm.

Huge Panoramic Sunroof, Premium Alloy Wheels, Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, Excellent Fuel Economy, Automatic Transmission, and Traction Control System. Electronic Stability Control, Front dual zone A/C, Illuminated entry, Remote keyless entry, and Steering wheel mounted audio controls. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: - Lowest Prices Every Day: Our market based WOW pricing utilizes competitive market pricing guides, no games. So it is easy to make an educated, hassle -free purchase from us. Many of our competitors add freight, reconditioning or certification fees to their price quotes. Your WOW price has no hidden charges. Just add tags, taxes and processing fee. - Complimentary CARFAX Vehicle History Report - 7 Day Exchange Policy: This policy simply states if you are not completely satisfied with your vehicle purchase, bring it back to us for a full credit towards your next vehicle, no questions asked! RECALL NOTICE: Some vehicles may be subject to manufacturer safety recalls that for various reasons may not be repaired prior to sale. You may also check for open recalls at www.safercar.gov

2017 Nissan Maxima
36 photos

List: $23,586 save

+ Perks

**NAVIGATION**, **BLUETOOTH**, **BACKUP CAMERA**, **LEATHER**, **ONE OWNER**, **BALANCE OF FACTORY WARRANTY**, **CLEAN CARFAX VEHICLE HISTORY REPORT**, and **PURCHASED HERE @ CRISWELL NEW**. ABS brakes, Compass, Electronic Stability Control, Front dual zone A/C, Heated door mirrors, Heated front seats, Illuminated entry, Low tire pressure warning, Navigation System, Remote keyless entry, and Traction control. Don't pay too much for the terrific-looking car you want...Come on down and take a look at this good-looking 2017 Nissan Maxima. This wonderful Nissan is one of the most sought after used vehicles on the market because it NEVER lets owners down. MD State Inspected with a Fresh Oil Change! Every Pre-Owned vehicle purchased from Criswell Nissan comes with a free CARFAX vehicle history report. The Used Vehicle Sale Price is plus sales tax, tag fees and a $300 processing charge. All prices, specifications, and availability are subject to change without notice. Pictures may be for illustrative purposes only; offers not valid on prior sales. Please contact Criswell Nissan in Germantown, MD for details and the most current information.

2011 Nissan Maxima
27 photos

List: $10,965 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

WOW A SUPER CLEAN AND FULLY LOADED MAXIMA DRESSED IN BLACK IN GREAT CONDITION INSIDE AND OUT WITH ONLY 68K MILES!! HURRY BY TO SEE THIS SPORTS SEDAN LOADED WITH; **SUN ROOF** **ALLOY WHEELS** **MULTI FUNCTION STEERING** **XENON HEAD LIGHTS** **PREMIUM SOUND SYSTEM** **WARRANTY** AND MORE. VA INSPECTED CARFAX CERTIFIED SERVICED **NEW TIRES** AND BACKED BY WARRANTY AT OUR FIRM ASKING PRICE PLUS $395 PROCESSING FEE. Open Mon-Sat 10:00 to 7:30 PM and Sun. 12:00 to 4:00 PM. Internet Prices are based on cash or cashier's check. Our Internet price does not include a $395 Processing fee Tags title and FINANCE FEES!Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Interested parties should confirm all data before relying on it to make a purchase decision. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. Prices may not include additional fees such as government fees and taxes title and registration fees finance charges dealer document preparation fees processing fees and emission testing and compliance charges. Internet special price may not be compatible with dealer sponsored or subsidized subprime financing.

2014 Nissan Maxima
36 photos

List: $15,000 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

LOADED, Crimson Black Metallic. Auto Buying Service Certified, Moonroof, Heated Leather Seats, Navigation, Aluminum Wheels CLICK ME!KEY FEATURES INCLUDE: Sunroof, Back-Up Camera, Bluetooth, Aluminum Wheels, Keyless Start, Dual Zone A/C Nissan 3.5 SV with Crimson Black Metallic exterior and Charcoal interior features a V6 Cylinder Engine with 290 HP at 6400 RPM*. OPTION PACKAGES: Deletes compass in rearview mirror, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, Nissan Hard Drv Navigation Sys w/Voice Recognition, HVAC and DVD playback capacity, 7 Touch-Screen Color Monitor w/VGA Display, XM NavTraffic & NavWeather Requires activation and contract after initial period, SV VALUE PACKAGE: BOSE Audio System, 9 speakers, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Outside Mirrors, Heated Front Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Outside Mirrors, Heated Front Seats. Non-Smoker vehicle VEHICLE REVIEWS: Edmunds.com's review says Tidy handling and crisp steering are also surprising for a front-wheel-drive sedan of this size.. PRICED TO MOVE: Was $19,875. This Maxima is priced $1,500 below NADA Retail. SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE: 3 Month/ 3,000 mile Warranty, Includes a Rigorous Multi-Point Safety Inspection WHO WE ARE: BEST IN USED CARS SINCE 1970 Pricing analysis performed on 10/4/2017. Horsepower calculations based on trim engine configuration. Please confirm the accuracy of the included equipment by calling us prior to purchase.


2016 Nissan Maxima
26 photos

List: $25,500 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.


Check out this gently-used 2017 Nissan Maxima we recently got in. This is the one. Just what you've been looking for. You can finally stop searching... You've found the one you've been looking for. The Nissan Maxima SV will provide you with everything you have always wanted in a car -- Quality, Reliability, and Character. More information about the 2017 Nissan Maxima: The Nissan Maxima starts at a little below $33,000, so while it would never be accused of being an economy car, it is also priced below most luxury vehicles in the marketplace. The Maxima offers more space than an equivalently priced Audi, BMW or Mercedes, but it also offers more pace than a high-end Camry or Accord. The Maxima tries to let buyers have their cake and eat it too, reproducing the fun driving experience offered by European sports sedans, without reproducing their higher prices and smaller cabins. Interesting features of this model are sporty driving experience, efficient CVT transmission, Striking styling, powerful engine, and upscale luxury features

2013 Nissan Maxima
33 photos

List: $19,995 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

AT INSIDERS AUTO SALES WE SPECIALIZE IN GUARANTEED CREDIT APPROVAL PROGRAMS. WITH OVER 50 YEAS OF FINANCING EXPERIENCE GOOD, BAD, NO CREDIT, BANKRUPTCY EVEN REPO. NO PROBLEM! WE CAN HELP! WITH OUR GUARANTEED CREDIT APPROVAL EVERYONE RIDES 100% OF THE TIME.INSIDERS AUTO SALES HAS GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND ENDLESS SATISFIED CUSTOMERS.ALL OUR VEHICLES ARE CARFAX CERTIFIED WITH BUYBACK GUARANTEE AND COME WITH A VA 124 POINT INSPECTION. YOU WILL EASILY SEE WHY BUYING YOUR NEXT VEHICLE SHOULD BE WITH INSIDERS AUTO SALES.WE ARE ONE OF THE FEW DEALERS IN THE AREA THAT OFFER AN IN-HOUSE WARRANTY MAKING YOUR DECISION TO COME VISIT US EASIER, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. WE HAVE EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND UPHOLD OUR PROMISE TO SELL THE BEST USED CARS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.** FOR MORE GREAT CARS, SUVS,VANS,TRUCKS CHECK OUR INVENTORY WWW.INSIDERSAUTOSALES.COM OR CALL(703)497-77772013 NISSAN MAXIMA Front with powerful 3.5L DOHC 24-valve SMPI V6 engine and driven only 61804 miles! Fully loaded and much more! CARFAX CERTIFIED**FINANCING AVAILABLE** Contact our Sales at 7034977777

48,195 mi
2014 Nissan Maxima
Stock photo 1 photo
stock photo

List: $14,950 save

Special Offer + Perks

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

NISSAN FACTORY CERTIFIED!, BLUETOOTH!, AUXILIARY AUDIO INPUT, and HID HEADLIGHTS. Gasoline! Silver Bullet! Join our VIP Club to take advantage of oil changes, tire rotations and many more great services offered by Sheehy!! Please call 703-361-5161 and ask for AJ or Mike with any questions!! Want to stretch your purchasing power? Well take a look at this beautiful 2014 Nissan Maxima. This great Nissan is one of the most sought after used vehicles on the market because it NEVER lets owners down. It is nicely equipped with features such as AUXILIARY AUDIO INPUT, BLUETOOTH!, HID HEADLIGHTS, and NISSAN FACTORY CERTIFIED!. Nissan Certified Pre-Owned means you not only get the reassurance of up to a 7yr/100,000 mile Warranty, but also a 167-point comprehensive inspection, 24/7 roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, and a complete CARFAX vehicle history report.

2005 Nissan Maxima
19 photos

List: $2,995 save

Special Offer

Expires Oct 31, 2017.

VIRGINIA STATE INSPECTION DONE, READY TO GO!!!! WE FINANCE AND GUARANTEE CREDIT APPROVAL----CALL 703-331-1818 TO SCHEDULE TEST DRIVE ----HABLAMOS ESPANOL


2011 Nissan Maxima
29 photos

List: $9,495 save

+ Perks

VA inspection passed! Drives excellent..2011 NISSAN MAXIMA Front with powerful 3.5L DOHC 24-valve SMPI V6 engine and driven 102613 miles!You can always call us or text at (703) 763-4428 for quick answers to your questions..For appointments only: We are available until 7:30 pm Monday to Saturday . We are open on Sundays 11 AM - 4PM. Please call us prior to your visit...Terms of Sale Overview: We reserve the right to end this listing at anytime should the vehicle no longer be available for sale and sales prices are subject to change without notice.Fees and Taxes: All vehicles sold are subject to $295 dealer processing fee. This represents the costs incurred with inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles. This fee also covers preparation of all documents, as well as all costs incurred with shipping of paperwork. Buyers are responsible for all state, county, city taxes and fees, as well as title/registration fees in the state that the vehicle will be registered. Accepted Payment Type: Cash, certified check, bank transfers, EFT or 3rd-party financing.WARRANTY: Please call us about warranty details. Different terms may be applied which is dependent on the millage, year and make of the car. Warranty is applicable when full/advertised price is paid when purchasing the car. FINANCING:If you have a job we can assist with financing (bad or good credit).Interest rates may vary and related to your credit and income.Please note, processing fee, DMV fees and taxes are not included in the price..Millage : Millage on the odometer may be higher than you see on the ads

page 1 of 44

Used Nissan Maxima History

With the 240Z, which it introduced in 1970, Datsun (a.k.a. Nissan) proved that it could build a vehicle so good that it would sell on inherent virtue rather than price advantage. But the sports car market is a fairly narrow one — hard-core enthusiasts can make a car a success while seeking characteristics most buyers would never even consider. Midsize sedans, on the other hand, need broad appeal and advantages that are instantly apparent even to buyers who don't know the difference between a carburetor and a carbohydrate.

While the 1977 810 was the largest sedan Datsun had ever sold in the United States, it was also a move toward the deepest part of the American mainstream. It wasn't just another Asian alternative to cheap American sedans like the Chevy Nova, Dodge Dart or Ford Maverick; rather, it's comparable to the well-equipped mainstream Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Mercurys of the day. It was also sophisticated enough to challenge such Europeans as the BMW 3 Series and Volvos 240- and 260-series. And it still had a price advantage over most of them.

Of course, Datsun wouldn't stay Datsun and the 810 wouldn't stay the 810 — but you knew that by the title of this Generations piece.

First-Generation 810: 1977 to 1980

"Datsun has recently introduced what may well be one of the best buys so far in 1977," wrote Road & Track in its April issue of that year, "the 810 four-door sedan." For a magazine known for its muted praise, that sort of comment amounts to an emotional outburst — Road & Track loved the 810.

There was, after all, a lot to love about the 810. First there was the rear-drive chassis that featured an all-independent suspension consisting of MacPherson struts up front and semitrailing arms in the back. Then there was the engine, which was the same 2.4-liter, single-overhead-cam, 12-valve, straight six used in the original 240Z, but equipped with Bosch fuel injection rather than the old Z's carbs. Rated at 154 gross horsepower, it was making something like 125 hp using the "net" SAE standard that was by then the accepted way of expressing engine output. The standard transmission was a four-speed manual, while a three-speed automatic was optional. Nothing revolutionary, but good stuff nonetheless.

Sure, the 810 still used drum brakes in the back and a recirculating ball steering gear, but this was still a relatively sophisticated package built around a solid unibody structure. And with a base price of just $5,099, at a time when the four-cylinder BMW 320i started at $7,990, the 810 was a raging bargain, too. A five-door station wagon version was also offered, but it used a solid rear axle on leaf springs instead of the independent rear suspension.

"So, all the mechanicals of the 810 are tried and true, both in design and use," continued Road & Track during its first test. "What makes the car excellent is the blend of all those components. The six-cylinder engine transforms the car from the usual four-cylinder sedan where all the get-up has gone to one that gets up and goes. We noticed the markedly different performance as soon as we picked up the car and confirmed it during our acceleration testing: 0-60 mph in 12.2 seconds, which puts the 810 in a class with the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT, BMW 320i and the Ford Granada five-liter. The time for the standing-start quarter-mile run was an equally impressive 18.7 seconds at a speed of 74.0 mph….

"The pleasing blend of proven components extends to the 810's handling characteristics as well. There is mild understeer and no abrupt transition during hard cornering as with many cars that use semitrailing rear suspension. Nor does it switch to oversteer if you back off the throttle during a tire-squealing turn."

So what about the exterior and interior design of the 810? Well, the cabin was roomy enough for a 183.5-inch-long car on a 104.3-inch wheelbase. And by the humble standards of the day, it was a well-appointed interior that featured such advanced technology as a quartz digital clock! But the exterior was pretty darn hideous.

Basically a scaled-up version of the awful styling then infecting Nissan's smaller sedans, the 810's shape managed the bizarre trick of being both overstyled and fully anonymous. There was a half-hearted attempt to make the car look upscale with the big, upright front grille. But that's as far as the tasteful styling touches went. The tail looked like it had been backed into a puddle of molten red and amber plastic. The 810 also wasn't particularly aerodynamic, and at least a few critics noted that the wind whistled around the A-pillars.

The inherent goodness of the 810's drivetrain, chassis and overall package, however, was apparently enough for it to overcome the dreadful styling to become a solid sales hit for Datsun.

Datsun barely touched the 810 for 1978 with the addition of power steering as a standard feature about the only significant change. Hey, no one was buying an 810 without power steering anyhow. However the 810 did pick up a major competitor with the introduction of the similar-specification Toyota Cressida that year. A two-door coupe version of the 810 was new for 1979 along with the adoption of four rectangular headlights in place of the four round ones that originally framed the car's face. The coupe used the same 104.3-inch wheelbase of the sedan and featured both small side-quarter windows that rolled down and large opera windows in the C-pillars. Furthering the 1970's penchant for tackiness, the coupe's interior featured a plaid upholstery fabric that was among the creepiest ever conceived. But again, under the skin the 810 shone; Datsun's new 280ZX used essentially the same suspension as the 810 under its sleeker sports car bodywork. The coupe also got a five-speed manual transmission swiped from the Z car parts bin as standard equipment. The 2.4-liter six was unchanged and now carried a 120-hp net rating.

What worked so well under the sedan continued to impress critics under the coupe. "We doubt anyone will mistake the 810 coupe for a BMW or Alfa," wrote Road & Track. "A bargain? Well cost is a relative thing. But where Datsun is concerned, it is still the most important factor."

However inflation and the plummeting value of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen made the 810 more expensive and less of a value in the market. Throw in the fact that the quirky styling was now aging and, no surprise, sales suffered.

Halogen headlights and cruise control were new options for the 1980 810 coupe, sedan and wagon, but the rest of the car was essentially unchanged. Why bother when there was a new 810 on the way? And that second 810 would prove so good, it would outgrow its own name.

Second-Generation 810/Maxima: 1981 to 1984

There was nothing radical about the second Datsun 810, but it was cleanly styled and handsome in a way the old 810 had never been. In the early '80s, that was enough to make the car a hit.

In general specification, the 1981 810 didn't differ that much from the old one. The suspension still used MacPherson struts up front and a set of semitrailing arms in the back. The engine was still the same fuel-injected 2.4-liter SOHC straight six ripped from the Z car and it still made 120 hp. A five-speed manual transmission was now standard, but it still sent power back to the rear wheels. And the brakes were still discs up front and drums in back. However the steering gear was now a rack and pinion design.

While the sedan was still the heart of the 810 offerings and the station wagon was kept around for family-type buyers, the coupe was killed off since Datsun was now selling the 200SX to that niche.

America's new 810 was actually a revision of the four-cylinder Japanese-market 910 with the biggest change being an additional 3.9 inches of length spliced into the nose between the firewall and front wheels in order to accommodate the longer six-cylinder engine. Of course Datsun could have called the new car a 910 here in America as well, but why throw away what brand equity had been built for the 810 nameplate?

Compared to the old 810, the second one's 103.2-inch wheelbase was 1.1-inch shorter and overall length dropped by 0.6 inch. The newer 810 was also marginally wider and the interior was roomier. The cowl was significantly lower as well, dropping its waistline noticeably and increasing the size of the greenhouse. And the new design eliminated much of the irksome wind noise that plagued the original.

The 810 was offered in two trim levels, with "Deluxe" representing the base model and "Maxima" at the top of the range — which marked the first appearance of the Maxima name. "The Deluxe comes with a five-speed manual gearbox (the automatic is optional), an interior done in basic vinyl and a rudimentary set of instruments," explained Road & Track during its first test of the new 810. "Buy a Maxima, the model we tested, and you must take the fuzzy upholstery materials and the complete instrumentation, but can't have the five-speed manual. We'd prefer being able to order a Deluxe model with the full set of instruments or a Maxima with a good vinyl or perhaps even leather upholstery."

"The Maxima is loaded for American bear," wrote Car and Driver during its first road test of the second 810. "Gimmicks, comforts and competences are everywhere, and delivered in a very handsome package. The new 810 has gotten the sort of face-lift that snugs up lines without stretching too tight. The old 810 was just as much fun to drive, but it was unrepentantly gawky. The new car gathers a better grade of stares." They also noted the Maxima's most controversial feature — "a little artificial voice that will scare the wee out of you in the middle of the night at the Texaco station in Chetopa, Kansas, by whispering, 'Please turn out the lights.'" That's right, the 810 Maxima was in the vanguard of that oh-so-'80s fad — cars that talk.

Another early-'80s fad was the diesel engine and the 810 got one of its own midway through the '81 model year. The 2.8-liter diesel six was rated at just 80 hp. That's wholly inadequate against 3,100 or more pounds, yet at least a few were sold anyhow.

Road & Track measured its 810 Maxima traipsing to 60 mph in 12.3 seconds and completing the quarter-mile in 19.0 seconds at 75.5 mph. Solidly competitive for the era and enough to make the new 810 a hit even though the Maxima's price was just a few bucks short of $10,000.

For no apparent reason, the 810 name disappeared with the coming of the 1982 models and all of Datsun's biggest sedans and wagons were now known as Maximas. This was also the year when Datsun began its transition to using the "Nissan" brand name. So both names appeared on most of the company's products.

Substantive changes to the Maxima were slight, however. The instrumentation graphics were revised, new velour upholstery was installed and the headlights were now quartz halogen units. The Deluxe model was also gone as all Maximas were, well, Maximas.

For 1983 the Maxima got a new grille and slightly revised taillights, but the most significant change was that a new four-speed automatic transmission replaced the old three-speeder. Also the station wagon got a new four-link rear suspension.

In a giant (and legendarily disastrous) eight-car comparison test conducted in Mexico, Car and Driver was unimpressed by the '83 Maxima. "Both the Toyota Cressida and Datsun Maxima are growing whiskers which are especially noticeable with so many fresh faces around," it wrote. "Rear drive consumes an uncomfortable amount of their cabin space, both cars have gone a bit soft around the edges, and the typical plethora of buttons and gadgets has reached the point of sensory overload. Japan's strong points are still technically advanced powertrains (the Cressida's earned a perfect 27) and reasonable price tags."

The Nissan name change was complete by the 1984 model year and the unloved diesel engine option was dropped, but except for some slight trim changes and audible wear warnings from the front disc brake pads, the Maxima soldiered forward pretty much unchanged. But not only would this be the last year for this generation Maxima, but it would be the end of rear-wheel drive for the line as well.

Third-Generation Maxima: 1985 to 1988

About the least changed thing about the all-new 1985 Maxima was the styling. "This year," wrote Car and Driver upon its first test of the new car, "taking note of the Teutonic philosophy which holds that higher efficiency in all things means higher performance in all areas, Nissan has shrunk the Maxima's wheelbase by about three inches to 100.4. At the same time, the adoption of front-wheel drive, a transverse V6 and a 181.7-inch overall length has added about an inch to legroom. Headroom within the unit body has also grown an inch or so, and the trunk has swelled to 15 cubic feet." Still, with its square cut lines and blunt nose framed by rectangular headlamps, it was recognizably a successor to the previous Maxima.

There was nothing exotic about the new Maxima. The suspension once again relied on MacPherson struts in the front and now used them in the back as well. Finally, the front disc brakes were joined by a set of discs in the rear, too. The fuel-injected 3.0-liter V6 was the same SOHC, 12-valve unit installed in the rear-drive 300ZX sports car, and it fed either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transaxle. As ordinary as that engine seemed, its 154-hp output was a vast leap forward for the Maxima — a full 34 hp more than before. And that meant this car was seriously quick for its time, as Car and Driver's five-speed-equipped Maxima SE ripped from zero to 60 mph in just 8.4 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 16.5 seconds at 80 mph.

Both the Maxima sedan and wagon returned to start the front-drive era. The sedan was offered both as a base "GL" and sportier "SE," with the wagon coming only as a GL. The GL models had the automatic transmission standard, while the SE came only with the manual.

The new Maxima was, on the whole, an impressive advance. "Nissan has made a bold and risky move from rear drive to front drive in its flagship sedan and hasn't stumbled in the process," wrote Car and Driver's Don Sherman. "To the contrary, the new Maxima is worlds better than the machine it replaced. The handling is decent, the ride is fine and the usual torque-steer and steering-kick gremlins are nowhere to be found. My compliments."

With such a solid start for the new-generation Maxima, about the only change Nissan made for 1986 was the addition of an anti-theft system.

A slight wedge was added to the front grille for 1987 and the Maxima line was reconfigured to be offered in either base "GXE" or sportier "SE" trim. The SE was now available with either the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. For 1988 there was a new optional "Sonar Suspension" system that adjusted shock damping based on road condition information gleaned from sensors.

By this time, the first front-drive Maxima was played out. The next one would be a greater step forward than even Nissan could have imagined.

Fourth-Generation Maxima: 1989 to 1994

If there's one thing the 810 and Maxima hadn't been until this fourth generation, that thing was beautiful. The new 1989 Maxima sedan was downright pretty. And it was bigger. But it was no longer available as a station wagon.

"The new Maxima was designed with the U.S. market in mind," wrote Road & Track at its introduction. "In fact approximately 90 percent of total production is expected to be exported to Yankee shores. Unencumbered by Japanese size requirements and tax penalties, Nissan's designers had the flexibility to create a substantially larger Maxima. Compared with last year's car, it's 6.3 inches longer, 2.4 inches wider and has nearly 4 inches more wheelbase. 'We first asked ourselves what interior dimensions would be necessary to provide sufficient space for five American adults to ride in comfort,' says Hiroyuki Shiratori, Nissan's senior manager, product planning and marketing group No. 3. And you know, when the senior manager [of] product planning and marketing group No. 3 talks, people listen."

Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), the '89 Maxima's 104.3-inch wheelbase was identical to that of the original '77 810's. But the '89 Maxima, at 187.6 inches from nose to tail, was just over 4 inches longer overall than its ancestor.

Despite the growth in size, this Maxima carried over much of the previous-generation Maxima's established engineering. The suspension consisted of struts both fore and aft, and the 3.0-liter V6 still had SOHC heads and fed either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transaxle. The engine did get a boost up to 160 hp, and an electronic antilock braking system was available on the SE's four discs (GXE models reverted to rear drums). It was detail and tuning changes combined with radically improved ergonomics and appearance that made this Maxima a car Nissan could call a "Four-Door Sports Car." In fact, the carmaker called it the "Four-Door Sports Car" so often that it put little "4DSC" stickers on the side glass.

"The interior is where this sport sedan differs from the competition," enthused Road & Track about the '89 Maxima SE. "Immediately commanding attention are the gauges. On the Maxima SE model, they have a vintage-car look with white faces and black markings, a treatment that's different yet doesn't compromise readability…. When darkness falls and the instrument panel lights come on, the gauges assume a negative image — white markings against black backgrounds. In either mode, they're easy on the eyes."

Car and Driver rounded up six import sedans for a comparison test and rated the '89 Maxima SE "a strong fourth, just one point out of third and two points out of second." Where did it come up short? "Unfortunately," the magazine concluded, "the Maxima's chassis isn't as capable as its drivetrain. Our Maxima, fitted with 205/60HR15 Toyo tires, could do no better than 0.76G on the skid pad, a mediocre performance for a modern sport sedan. Moreover, the suspension is on the soft side, requiring a gentle touch at the wheel to keep the car from bobbing around." The magazine also measured its Maxima SE running to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds and turning the quarter-mile in 16.5 seconds at 84 mph.

With this Maxima a solid hit for Nissan, it was not surprising that only a few trim changes were made to the car for 1990. The Maxima's sideview mirrors were slightly redesigned for 1991, and there was another round of trim changes, but that was about it.

A new grille and minor trim changes were part of the 1992 Maxima. But the big news that year was the adoption of new aluminum DOHC heads for the iron-block 3.0-liter V6 on SE models — putting four valves over every cylinder. That change pumped output up to 190 hp and the SE's suspension was tweaked to make the best use of it. Those changes vaulted the Maxima SE to the top of Car and Driver's desirability list — in a three-car comparison with Toyota's Camry SE sedan and Ford's Taurus SHO, the Maxima SE won. "The SE romps from zero to 60 in 7 seconds flat," Car and Driver gushed, "and fails to match the SHO's 141-mph top speed by only four mph. Its braking and road-holding figures wind up within a hair-split of the others, and they all tied at 20 mpg on a rollercoastering Ohio trip."

Nissan celebrated the Maxima SE's new dominance by installing a standard driver-side airbag in the car for 1993. Otherwise the status quo was maintained. The company didn't change much about the car for 1994, either.

Though it was at the end of its production life, this generation of Maxima was still attractive and beloved by many buyers. But the world marches on and there was a new Maxima coming.

Fifth-Generation Maxima: 1995 to 1999

The 1995 Maxima may not have been as pretty as the car it replaced, but it made up for it by being quicker, better-handling and all around more plausible as a four-door sports car.

"The 1995 Maxima is roomier, more luxurious, softer and quieter than its predecessor," reported Road & Track in its first road test, "while outperforming the old car in every measurable category. An all-new engine and rear suspension make their debut here. A strict diet shaved 150 pounds from the previous design, while Nissan claims that the car's structure is 10-percent stiffer than before.

"Engineers stretched the '95 Maxima's wheelbase 2 inches but overall length remains the same, effectively pushing the wheels toward the four corners and increasing rear seat legroom 1.1 inches. Width is up marginally, mostly to address 1997 side-impact regulations, which the Maxima now meets." It didn't look as good as the outgoing model, but it wasn't exactly ugly, either.

The star of the new Maxima was that new 3.0-liter V6, the VQ30DE, the first member of Nissan's renowned VQ family of V6s that power 21st-century Nissans ranging from the 350Z sports car to the Murano SUV. "The Maxima's new four-cam, 24-valve all-aluminum V6 is a gem," the Road & Track editors continued. "It replaces both the SOHC 12-valve, 160-hp base engine (around in one form or another since 1983) and the '94 SE's DOHC 24-valve 190-horsepower engine of the same displacement and shares not a single part with those cast-iron V6s."

"For starters, it's 108 pounds lighter than last year's 3.0-liter, helping improve the Maxima's front/rear weight distribution. A two-stage chain cam drive (which permits use of smaller exhaust-cam sprockets) and cast-aluminum timing-chain cover and oil pan (which incorporate mounts for accessories) make the engine more compact, giving more space to the passenger compartment."

While being light and compact is always good in an engine, what was most enchanting about this one was the power it produced. The 190-hp rating wasn't any more than the previous year, but the thick 205 pound-feet of peak torque at a reasonable 4,000 rpm gave the engine a much friendlier power band. And when that torque was channeled through the SE's five-speed manual transmission, the result was a scintillating performance — zero to 60 in just 7.4 seconds and the quarter-mile flying by in 15.7 seconds at 90.0 mph, according to Road & Track. It was intoxicating power.

But it wasn't only the new muscles that made this generation Maxima a solid contender. The MacPherson strut front suspension was familiar enough, but the rear suspension was now a beam axle supported by trailing arms and a lateral link. Normally, a reversion back to a solid rear axle is nothing to celebrate, but this beam axle worked very well and produced handling that was balanced and nimble even if it still pushed into understeer at the limits. This was a serious driving machine, even if the SE's standard P215/60R15 all-season radials were modest rubber indeed.

Besides the SE (and a new high-luxury content GLE model), the GXE also carried forward with the four-speed automatic standard and a much softer suspension underneath it. Car and Driver ranked the 1996 GXE (which, like all '96 Maximas, was virtually unchanged from '95) a disappointing fifth out of six in a comparison test with mainstream six-cylinder cars like the Chevy Lumina, Ford Taurus, Dodge Intrepid and (the winner) Toyota Camry. "The steering effort is low," reported Car and Driver, "and this car turns into corners just a bit quicker than we'd expect. While that creates a sporting feel, the high body-roll angle says tourer. The overall suggestion to the driver is mixed, quite unlike the firm, controlled stride that makes the Maxima SE one of our favorites.

"The unfocused GXE personality shows in the interior appointments, too. While the quality of the materials is unquestionably high, the overall impression is noncommittal. The exception is the instrument cluster, where the large, round dials, long needles and minimalist markings will delight the classicist."

A mild redesign of the Maxima SE's nose and tail made it easy to distinguish the 1997 model from those that came before it. The old wheels were also ditched in favor of 16-inchers now wrapped in P215/55R16 Toyo tires. But this Maxima generation was proving to be a huge sales success (over 305,000 sold in the first two years), so further tweaks were deemed unnecessary.

Edmunds.com got its first exposure to the Maxima with the 1998 model year when side airbags were added to the option list of the SE and GLE. In a comparison test of sport sedans, we picked the Maxima SE as our favorite over the Volkswagen Passat, Mazda 626 and Ford Contour. "The Nissan's driving experience is what sets this car apart from its competition," we concluded. "Like a Mazda Miata, the Maxima feels like an extension of the driver, not just a tool to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry. Want to make a sharp right turn? It's almost as if the car knows before you do. Need to downshift for a quick pass on a two-lane road? The Maxima's gearshift falls to hand like a fly ball into Lenny Dykstra's glove. Yup, this car so impressed our assembled group that our evaluation sheets were filled with comments like this: 'Of all the cars I've driven today, this is the one I would buy.' 'I've read about this car for years, and it's actually as good as everyone says.' 'It handles like a dream, a perfect 10.' Pretty high praise for a car that was riding on the oldest platform in (the test)."

This generation of Maxima played out through 1999 with not much more than a new traction control system on the SE and GLE models and new three-point belts for the rear-seat passengers. No one ever loved how this Maxima looked, but it was going to be tough to top its personality.

Sixth-Generation Maxima: 2000 to 2003

Suitably impressed by the fifth-generation car, we were eager to get into the new 2000 Maxima. "The 2000-model year is rolling around and Nissan has turned out yet another substantially redesigned Maxima," we wrote in our first road test of the new car, "In some regards, this is the best Maxima yet, in others, well let's just say that the car's most recent trip to the plastic surgeon has resulted in a vehicle that looks, um, unlike anything else on the road."

What excited us most? Since it wasn't the styling, you probably already guessed that it was the VQ30DE-K (the K is for Kaizen, which loosely translates to "improvement") 3.0-liter V6 engine that now made 222 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. Of course, curb weight was also up, so the extra power's influence on acceleration was muted. All three trim levels (GXE, SE and GLE) of the Maxima returned for '00 and all got the revised engine and extra performance.

We were less excited about the new Maxima's interior, despite the fact that with the wheelbase stretched an additional 2 inches (for a total of 108.3 inches), there was more interior room in most dimensions. "Put simply," we concluded, "the quality of the materials seems to have fallen this year — plastics are a bit shinier, storage compartments are a bit flimsier, the headliner feels a bit thinner. The changes aren't anything that reach out and smack you in the head, but we couldn't help feeling a little less special when seated behind the wheel of our test car. In fact, it made us wonder if the Maxima was worth the extra money it costs compared to a Volkswagen Passat or Mazda 626, cars that heretofore were always a step down from the Nissan."

While the new car was longer, most of the suspension and other elements carried over from the previous Maxima. The SE was now available with optional 17-inch wheels and tires, and both the five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions were offered on all models. Car and Driver had one SE blasting to 60 mph in just 7.0 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 91 mph.

An automatic-equipped SE model later competed in a 2000 Edmunds.com family sedan comparison test, finishing a respectable fourth in a field of nine. Author Scott Mead summed up the road test staff's impressions thusly: "At our as-tested price of $26,468, the Maxima is priced in the middle of the family sedan pack, but delivers a lot more than the price reflects. Packed full of features (like a one-touch up-and-down driver window, one-touch open and close sunroof, HomeLink transmitter and auto on/off headlamps), the Maxima SE is a great family car and a sports car wrapped into one package. If Nissan could smooth the rough edges from the styling, there's no telling how many units they could sell."

The Maxima celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2001 with a special edition of the SE that we tested. Road Test Editor John DiPietro wrote, "Nissan tarted up a 2001 SE model with exclusive features such as ground effects around the lower body perimeter, bronze-tinted headlights, drilled aluminum pedals, aluminum gearshift knob and the obligatory (though discreet) 20th anniversary badging, floor mats and key. This lily is gilded further with the addition of a moonroof, power driver seat, 17-inch wheels/tires and auto-dimming rearview mirror." But the substance of this special model was greater than just trim.

"The 20th birthday Maxima also boasts 5 more horsepower from its 3.0-liter, 24-valve V6 than the other Maximas, (earning a 227-horse rating) and a limited-slip differential to help put those ponies to the ground." DiPietro continued, "The driving experience for the anniversary model is virtually identical to that of the standard SE, which is mostly a very good thing. Acceleration is strong and smooth, with one editor comparing the engine's refined nature to that found under the hood of a certain German car — high (and risky) praise in this group. The five-speed's shifter drew some negative comments from various Edmunds staffers, who felt the joy of driving a potent, manual transmission sport sedan was blunted by the rubbery action of the Maxima's shift lever. Clutch action was criticized by a few as being non-linear and engaging too quickly, though in fairness, this particular press car had quite a few auto journalist (read hard-fought) miles on it and was unlike other Maximas we've driven in this regard."

The big news for 2002 was that the engine got bigger as the Maxima got a version of the VQ-series V6 now displacing 3.5 liters. In a follow-up test, we were impressed. "Nissan is increasingly using this engine in a variety of products, including the Pathfinder, Altima, 2003 350Z and Infiniti G35," wrote our Brent Romans. "For 2002, its advanced architecture includes enhancements like continuous valve timing control, a variable induction system, a silent timing chain and electronically controlled throttle. These changes help to increase horsepower to 255 and raise torque to 246 lb-ft.

"Yep, a 255-hp Maxima. This is certainly all-star power. It has 33 more hp than last year's car, 15 more than a '98 BMW M3 and is just a shade below the Acura TL Type-S. And, in Maxima tradition, it can be transferred to the front wheels through a manual transmission. There is some torque steer when you stomp on it in first gear, but it's not enough to be a concern. More importantly, there's one more gear to pick from for 2002."

Not only could the SE be had with that six-speed transmission, but that gearbox was also available with a limited-slip differential resulting in excellent traction under most conditions. Other changes included yet another new grille, new headlights and clear lens taillights.

Even though our test car didn't have that trick diff, it was a rocket. It blasted to 60 in just 6.3 seconds and swept through the quarter-mile in just 14.9 seconds. Easily the quickest Maxima yet, but it was facing competition from inside Nissan itself. "But if you're in the market for a sporty family sedan, you should really consider an Altima 3.5 SE," Romans concluded, noting of course that the Maxima's little brother was powered by a similar VQ-series 3.5-liter V6. "It will do everything the Maxima can do and take a smaller bite out of your wallet."

The Maxima made it through 2003 virtually unchanged in anticipation of the all-new Maxima to come for 2004. In fact it would be so new, it wouldn't even be made in Japan anymore.

Seventh-Generation Maxima: 2004 to 2008

Taking a cue from Toyota, which had been building its larger Avalon sedan in the same American plant as the Camry, Nissan moved Maxima production to its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, for the 2004 model year. And just as the Avalon was based on a stretched Camry platform, Nissan redesigned the new Maxima around a stretched Altima platform. The Maxima's lineup was also pared down to a choice of either the sporty SE or luxurious SL.

"Without question," Road Test Editor Brian Moody wrote upon our first taste of the new car, "for 2004 the Maxima has moved upmarket. The new car is 1.4 inches wider, has a 2.9-inch-longer wheelbase and offers increased trunk capacity. In 3.5 SL trim, the Maxima is clearly a near-luxury car that bridges the gap between Nissan and Infiniti models. An eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and a dash display that provides audio and trip computer readouts are all standard. The dash area in particular looks much more appealing than in previous Maximas. Textured suedelike material adorns the door panels and dash area, giving the latter a sort of 'floating' appearance. This kind of attention to detail is unnecessary, but Nissan planners learned a valuable lesson when complaints began to arise about the Altima's rather bland interior. Overall, the interior improvements work well — not once did it feel as if we were riding in an Altima."

With gracefully arched new styling and a distinctive "Skyview" roof (a narrow glass panel that stretches nearly the whole length of the roof itself), the seventh-generation Maxima looked nothing like previous versions. The 3.5-liter V6 gained 10 hp over the previous generation for a grand total of 265 hp. A six-speed manual and five-speed automatic were the available transmissions for the first two model years.

"We put our 3.5 SE test car through a variety of driving situations during our week of testing," wrote News Editor Kelly Toepke in our full test, "and were ultimately pleased with its comfortable ride quality and responsive handling. Suspension components include an all-new independent multilink design in the rear that has been adapted for the Maxima from the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline, along with an independent strut design in front. The 3.5 SE has a sport-tuned version of this suspension, as well as a set of 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and tires. As we drove our 3.5 SE, we found the suspension tight with a comfortable ride, but without the performance feel expected in a true sport sedan. Steering was communicative, but one editor commented that she preferred the better-weighted steering of the Mazda 6 instead."

For 2005 changes included a shorter throw for the manual shifter, additional chrome accents (both inside and out), auto-dimming sideview mirrors and an additional 12-volt outlet to run accessories. For 2007, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) replaced both the manual and traditional automatic. A change in horsepower measuring procedure for '07 also yielded a 10-hp drop in stated power, although actual output didn't change. The Elite package (that provided a unique four-passenger seating configuration with a rear center console) was eliminated for 2008.

Despite its long, successful family lineage, this Nissan Maxima clearly showed that the nameplate was losing its way. It tried to simultaneously compete against larger sedans such as the Toyota Avalon while also providing the sort of exciting driving experience for which the Maxima was known. Ultimately, it did neither well and struggled to make a case for itself against its less expensive Altima sibling. A drastic change was certainly in order.

Eighth-Generation Nissan Maxima: 2009 to Present

When the eighth-generation Maxima debuted for 2009, Nissan tried to recapture some of the 4-Door Sports Car magic. Deviating from the norm, this Maxima was smaller than the car it replaced and the less expensive Altima. Instead of being a flagship in terms of size, it would be one in terms of luxury equipment, interior quality, refined driving dynamics and strong V6 power.

"With all its luxe bells and high-tech whistles, the Maxima is an honest-to-goodness luxury sedan for those who don't want the stigma associated with a luxury badge," wrote Automotive Editor James Riswick in his test-drive of a Sport-package-equipped Maxima. "While the 2009 Maxima is not quite the 4DSC its marketers are touting once again, it is a car with few flaws that's one of the best-handling front-drive sedans available — with or without the Sport package."

In fact, the Sport package (that included 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, heated power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated front seats, rear bucket seats and Bluetooth) was deemed unnecessary. The Premium package provided all the same luxury goodies but without the 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspension that ruined the ride.

Upon driving the Premium-equipped Maxima, Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton wrote, "All the chassis changes have produced a car that strikes an excellent balance between a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Where the Altima's ride sometimes feels flinty and prone to shudder on harsh impacts, the Maxima remains composed." The steering was another bright spot. "With its combination of low-friction weighting and high feedback, the Maxima's steering can be manipulated with the delicate touch of one's fingertips on the well-formed steering wheel," Riswick wrote.

Under the hood, this Maxima featured a 290-hp version of Nissan's venerable 3.5-liter V6 driving the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Although this amount of power tends to result in nasty torque steer in front drivers (such as the previous generation Maxima), the new car bucked this trend commendably. We found the responsive CVT to be one of the best examples of this type of transmission known more for saving fuel than impressive performance. In track testing the new Maxima went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

Inside, the eighth-generation Maxima featured a design that could easily be found in Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand — all that was missing was the signature analog clock. The high-quality materials would be at home in a luxury car and were a big improvement over the previous generation. The Tech package added a hard-drive navigation system, voice recognition, real-time traffic, a rearview camera, digital music storage and an excellent iPod interface. Since it shrunk in size, the Maxima's cabin was hardly what we'd call spacious. Its available rear bucket seats made it more comfortable for two people while the front seats were deemed to be quite comfortable and the driving position friendly.

In total, this generation Nissan Maxima is impressive, if perhaps rather pricey, given its non-luxury badge. But for those who want to stay under the radar, it's an impressive sedan that returns this iconic nameplate to respectability.

Hi there! This archived History article is a snapshot from a previous era. If you enjoyed reading it, please see our full model overview, which has up-to-date information and links to the latest model years.