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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 25th 2009
2— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 25, 2009 Taking strength to the max SHARPER: The 2009 Nissan Maxima, which is known as the Teana in Japan. Nissan is aiming to take backalarger, youngerchunkof passenger car buyers with its all- newMaximasedan. Stuart Martin reports choice, a sharper set of clothes, an upgraded features list and a leaner price tag. S The new car, now sourced from Thailand, is 5mm-15mm longer (de- pending on model spec),30mmwider overall (track width is up a similar amount) and 15mm taller, but sits on an identical 2775mm wheelbase. The tare weight has also remained close to the outgoing model, with Ti gaining just over 30kg. Nissan says the new car, on sale from June 1, has been made using moreultra-high strength steel,which has helped the engineers increase torsional rigidity by 40 per cent. The entry-level ST-L is offered at $33,990andonly with thenew2.5-litre version of the familiar V6 and the continuously-variable transmission. The 2.5-litre V6 produces 134kW at 6000rpm, with 228Nm of torque peak- ing at 4400rpm, with the claimed fuel consumption figure of 9.5 litres per 100km. The 3.5-litre V6 has had a 15kW increase to 185kW at 6000rpm, with INSIDE: Features include leather and dual-zone climate control. torque dropping by seven Nm to 326Nm at 4400rpm (up from the old torque peak of 2800rpm), with only a slight increase in fuel use to 10.2 litres per 100km. Thestandard fare includes leather, dual-zone climate control, dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, power-adjustable front seats, a six- CD six-speaker sound system, 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon head- lights and stability control, but no split-fold rear seats. The larger V6 is available in the $37,990 ST-S and $46,990 Ti models. The ST-S sports model adds a rear decklid spoiler, the intelligent igni- tion key, rear-parking sensors and heated front seats above the entry- level features list. The range-topping Ti has gained $6000 in price for the equipment list that addsasunroof, positionmemory on the road THE lolling, wallowy Maxima is a distant memory. The new car quickly displays an adherence to both sides of the ride, and the handling duties of a suspension system. There is still a skew towards ride comfort, but no longer is it a boulevarde-ride tune that would satis- fy plump rumps. The steering is light and won’t top the medium-large brigade’s ‘‘steering feel’’ list, but touring along Victorian country roads the Maxima felt com- posed and comfortable. Looking sharper with the swept- back standard xenon headlights and LED tail-lights, the new Nissan flag- ship has a more prominent shoulder- line and looks good in the metal, without being stunning. Nissan is aiming to lower its aver- age owner age below 50, but the new sedan failed the bus-stop test on the launch, with none of the dozen or so school students giving the new sedan a glance. That is a shame because there is plenty about it worth liking, leading off with the V6 power-plants. The smallerV6 is smooth and spins up quickly through the rev range, though the mid-range punch is a little less intense than that offered by the larger engine. Both engines claim to have more than 80 per cent of peak torque on offer from 1600rpm, but the larger V6 remains the more impressive unit. While the Maxima now has two engines, the transmission remains a continuously variable unit, which has a manual-change six-speed mode — both V6 engines work well with the unit, but the extra 98Nm of the 3.5-litre helps keep the CVT calmer. The leather-trimmed cabin is stan- dard range-wide and is very quiet and comfortable, with ample room for four adults — even at 190cm-plus, there was enough rear headroom in a non-sunroof model. The dashboard’s centre screen and the instrumentation suffer from sun glare—the former has lost the cowling of the previous model, which means the screen is nigh impossible to see whenthesunentersfromsomeangles. The new Maxima models could do with a little more differentiation, but as a driving package there has been plenty of improvement. for the electric seats, satellite naviga- tion, Bluetooth, a reversing camera and a DVD-capable 11-speaker Bose surround sound system. Thesalesbreakdownis expected to be 60 per cent of buyers opting for the 350 models, and Nissan is aiming to reduce the Maxima buyer’s average owner age from mid-50s to below 50. Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson says the new Maxima presents a significant opportunity for the brand in Australia. ‘‘The new 2.5-litre V6 engine, the sharp pricing right in the heart of the four-cylinder market and the unpre- cedented high level of luxury fea- tures as standard, makes the Maxi- ma 250 ST-L unbeatable. ‘‘For a start, no one else in this market sector offers leather uphols- tery as standard,’’ he said. ‘‘The new Maxima range has the muscle to grow its sales in the upper end of the large car market where there are many customers looking for unparalleled value,’’ he said. Nissan Australia sales and mar- keting general manager Stephen Col- lins says the new Maxima is an exciting product for Nissan. ‘‘We’re looking to broaden the appeal of the car with the two engines, bridging the large and me- dium car segment,’’ he says. Mr Collins says the specification level across the new model range makes thenew$33,990 model a value- for-money proposition. ‘‘We’re very, very enthusiastic about that and we see it as a huge opportunity for us, our dealers and the brand,’’ he says. HARING its underpinnings with the Nissan Murano, the all-new Maxima has been given a second engine small torque Nissan Maxima Price:From$33,990. Engine: 2.5-litre or 3.5-litre 24-valve variable-valve timing DOHCV6. Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT) transmission with six-speed manual-shiftmode. Power:134kW/185kWat 6000rpm. Torque:228Nm/326Nmat 4400rpm. Fuel consumption: 9.5/10.2 litres per100km,tank70litres. Emissions:226g/km(ST-S/Ti 243). Suspension: Independent struts with stabiliser bar (front); multi- link independent with stabiliser bar (rear). Brakes: Four-wheel discs, front- ventilated, with anti-lockand stability control systems. Dimensions: Length4850mm, width1795mm,height1485mm, wheelbase2775mm,track fr/rr 1550/1555mm,cargo volume 506litres, weight 1516-1563kg. Wheels: 17-inch alloys. Classmates ToyotaCamry:From$28,490. ToyotaAurion:From$34,990. HondaAccord/AccordEuro: From$30,990/$33,990. Mazda6:From$29,100.
April 18th 2009
May 2nd 2009