2007 Nissan Maxima Photo
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2007 Nissan Maxima

2007 Nissan Maxima

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 Gutsy engine, the best GPS ever.

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 The snazzy Elite interior option isn't too cheap. 

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 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 theMission, too, if you order the optional Elite Package that swaps out the standard three-across bench-type back seats for a pair of sport buckets with their own heaters and a center console with its own power point. At $4700 the Elite Package isn’t cheap, but the two-across rear seat layout is pretty unique and adds to the car’s sporting personality. Plus, you get a lot of other stuff, too including a power rear sunshade, top-of-the-line stereo (320 watts, six-disc CD changer, MP3 capability, RDS and your choice of either XM or Sirius satellite radio capability), xenon headlights, heated steering wheel, sonar rear park assist, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone and, of course, leather trim.

2007 Nissan Maxima
Reviewed by Eric Peters
Editor, The Car Connection
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