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2007 Nissan Maxima

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San Francisco: Every brand needs a flagship, a leader, the vehicle that represents what the company stands for. Since 1981, that has been the Maximaís job at Nissan. For 2007, this iconic ride gets significant tweaks to make it even more appealing.

The overall shape remains the same, with a wedgy nose, grand sweep of near fastback roofline terminating in flying pillars and high, short trunk section, and one of the few sets of taillights that does not share one side with the trunk opening. The rear door window line is laid back into the thick C pillar, cutting rakishly down into the rear wheel well for a wide-open entry.

For 2007, Nissan redid the grille, hood, front and rear bumpers, and headlights. The side sills are more pronounced while the rear spoiler, when itís present, sticks up more. If you see little circles on the rear bumper, it is for the Rear Sonar System, which is a handy option. There are new wheels, too, 17-inch alloys or 18-inchers, depending on the model.

Inside, the sports car feel includes a cockpit feeling with a bold center instrument stack, revised for 2007. Nissan has cleaned up the buttons a bit and fussed over the materials to create a sense of higher quality and greater luxury. The dash still floats below the rounded cowl, which sweeps around from door to door in an unbroken arc.

You get the intelligent key standard. This little oval doesnít slip into a slot, you can keep it in your pocket as you walk up to the car and get in. Then, turn the start switch to get the car going. You have to lock the car manually as you leave it, however.

Nissan is proud of its SkyView glass panel roof, which is quite long but not very wide. My Precision Gray tester did without, it had a power glass sunroof at the extra price of $900.

Maximas are all four-door sedans and come in two models only, the sporty SE and the more luxury-oriented SL. The SE gets bigger wheels., 18s, but the SL gets the fancy leather seats standard. The SE has aluminum interior trim while the SL gets ďwoodgrain.Ē 

That doesnít mean you canít option the heck out of either car. My SE tester had splash guards, vehicle dynamic control, a navigation system, and the expensive Driver Preferred Package. This setup includes many things that are standard in the SL, such as leather seating, but also includes features like the Bluetooth hands-free phone system and a heated steering wheel, great during those 33 degree mornings this last December. The super Bose audio system was immensely entertaining.

Part of the charm of Maximas has always been power. All 2007 Maximas get a 255-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that shoots you along on the open road. It uses many high-tech and upscale features, such as microfinished crank journals and cam lobes as well as individual coils for each spark plug. The cumulative effect is a family sedan rocket ship.

Donít expect to get a clutch in your Maxima. The only shifting choice is a standard Xtronic continuously variable transmission that is more than up to the job. Continuously variable transmissions, as youíve surely read here before, use belts instead of gears to create an infinite number of ratios. The carís computer determines which one is best for the given moment. The sound is not what youíre used to hearing, but I sensed no strangeness during my week-long Maxima jaunt.

Fuel mileage ratings are 21 City, 28 Highway, but I earned 20.2 mpg over my test week. Thatís still better than a significant number of the cars that Iíve tested.

In the 2007 Green Vehicle Guide published by the EPA, the Maxima scores well. The top car received scores of 10 for its Air Pollution score and 10 for its Greenhouse Gas (CO2) score, and the Maxima scored 7 and 6 respectively, enough to qualify it for a Yes on the Smartway Score. Thatís pretty good for a powerful, sporty midsize sedan. I will speak more about the EPAís Green Car program in upcoming stories.

Every Maxima comes with the kind of features that midsize buyers want, from power windows, locks, and mirrors to cruise control, four-way-disc brakes and an airbag system for safety, dual-zone automatic temperature control, illuminated steering wheel controls, and much more. The SE gets you most of the items starting at $28,050. The SL gets a few extra goodies for $30,300. And with all the options of my SE test car, the sticker price jumped up to $36,015 on the bottom line.

The automotive market is a complicated place, and itís sometimes hard to know where to look for what you want. But the Nissan Maxima has a quarter century of consistent sportiness, blended in with sedan virtues. And thatís a very fine thing in a flagship car, donít you think?  By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
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The Maxima is Nissanís Flagship car
The 2007 Nissan Maxima
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The 2007 Nissan Maxima
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Nissan Maxima Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 35

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