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2007 Nissan MaximaEnlarge Photo
Go icon Gutsy engine, the
best GPS ever.
Slow icon The snazzy Elite
interior option isn't too cheap.
Stop icon Forget what you
know about four-door sports car--think luxury and CVT.
Nissan’s Maxima wasn’t
the first fast four-door, but it did help popularize the “four-door sports car”
concept back in the mid-late ’80s. At that time, large sedans were typically
doughy, ill-handling family-type cars of the Caprice/Taurus type with
overstuffed seats and underpowered engines. The Maxima’s powerful overhead cam
V-6, excellent suspension, driver-focused interior layout, and (perhaps most
important of all) available manual transmission presented an automotive oasis to
buyers who had to have the extra pair of doors for family or work reasons, but
didn’t want the middle-aged spread that tended to come with them.
Fast-forward to the present and the Maxima now has lots of company. Sporty sedans with powerful engines, taut suspensions, and great brakes are now the rule, not the exception. There are at least half a dozen excellent cars of this type to choose from, including standouts like the VW Passat and Audi A4 and the Mazda6 and Subaru Legacy GT.
To keep the Maxima near the front of the ever-growing pack is the challenge; whether the changes Nissan’s made for 2007 help or hinder that is a call you’ll have to make.
Good news today
The good news: Inside, you’ll
discover a revised interior layout that would not be out of place in the 350Z. A
central gauge cluster has big, easy-to-read gauges trimmed in brushed aluminum.
An interesting dash pad shape adds to the street-fighter ambiance, with two
convex speed humps on the driver and passenger side and a distinctive scalloped
section in the middle that seems like it might have been set aside for an
optional gunsight and .50 caliber cannon. The driver and front seat passenger
are each strapped in to their respective compartments like the side-by-side
pilot/bomber in an A6 Intruder.
Backseat riders can feel part of the