Pricing can be a dicey game as carmakers work to stay competitive while still making money on increasingly high-content models. For 2011, Nissan appears to be playing both ends of the spectrum with the Maxima and Sentra, which start at $30,810 and $15,520 respectively.
The Sentra offers a solid value, though you'll immediately add $1,180 to the bottom line if you do away with the six-speed manual transmission and opt for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the base 2.0-liter model. Base pricing can even range as high $20,080 for the Sentra SE-R Spec V with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with six-speed manual transmission.
Option packages for the Sentra have been shuffled around for 2011 as well, with six models available, most between $17,000 and $19,000 to hit the sweet spot of price versus features.
The four-door sports car Maxima, on the other hand, hits a bit on the high side of the mark, starting at $30,810 for the S-trim model, and jumping to $33,530 for the SV. Only the two trims are offered this year, and though the pricing starts high, it's because content does too. If you haven't been in one of the newer Maximas, you might be surprised at the level of refinement and almost Infiniti-like finish in the cabin. Of course, it needs it to justify the almost Infiniti-like price--the G37 Sedan starts at an almost too close for comfort $33,250.
The 2011 Nissan Maxima and Sentra are on sale now.