Danny Chang's review of car designs

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The 2009 Maxima is funky

I had a chance to test drive the 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV with all the bells and whistles a couple of weeks ago. It came with the Sport Package and the Premium Package which means it had nav, voice recognition, back-up camera, even the steering wheel's heated! But I digress, this blog is not about the performance or the features, it's all about the styling and design. So here we go.

First, the front end. I like how the Maxima is not so blah anymore. The pronounced rectangular grill is very distinct and I like how it's out in front of the headlights. I'm not sure about the high hood lines though. That brings us to the headlamps. I'm sorry but the swooshes are just weird. They look weird on the 370Z and they look weird on the Maxima. They just don't make sense. There's no rhyme or reason.

Now the tail end. I think this is the first Maxima that has a decent rear end. First of all I like how there are creases that break up a fairly large back end. Nissan designers actually modeled this in 3D this time. The corners are very nicely chistled and the wheel arches are nice and wide. I like the humps over the wheel arches. The high beltline carries nicely into the tail light units, which are harmless. But where are the corresponding swooshes to match those on the headlights?

This brings us to the profile, the weakest link on this Maxima. The greenhouse silhouette is fine but doesn't stand out at all. It's pretty much like every other sedan you see on the road now. Now to the wheels. The front axle is set simply too far back. It is almost aligned with the windshield. You know who else has proportions like these? All the GM sedans from the 1990s. Yeah, try the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. The wheels are not pushed out into the corners at all and the overhang is too long. For a self-proclaimed 4 Door Sports Car, the stance is too GM like. That's what you get for a front wheel drive car.

Conclusion >>> The new Maxima is a conundrum. Distinctive and cool from certain angles, but off. It is no G35, that's for sure.

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