When it comes to sedans in the mid-level segment, there are few that are as highly sought after as the 2009 Nissan Maxima. A perennial favorite among those in the market for a new car, the Maxima has always been known for its blend of performance and luxury. For 2009, however, Nissan has completely redesigned the Maxima – and this time they’re calling it the “flagship”. So how does the 2009 Nissan Maxima stack up against its predecessors? And more importantly, is it worth your hard-earned money? Keep reading to find out.
The Nissan Maxima is a four-door sedan that the manufacturer positions as a “Sports saloon.” It is powered by a lively naturally aspirated V6 producing 300 hp (224 kW) and 261 lb-ft (354 Nm) torque. First launched in 1982, it is now in its 8th generation.
The seventh-generation vehicle was manufactured between 2009 and 2016 and sold 439,332 units in the United States. Unfortunately, starting with the 6th generation, the Nissan Maxima’s popularity faded, with volumes halving in 2006.
The History Of The 2009 Nissan Maxima
First launched in 1982, the Nissan Maxima started as a reliable medium volume car and performed well for the manufacturer. It was positioned as a feature-rich competitor to its stable brother, the Nissan Altima.
It competed with other sports saloons like the Audi A4, BMW 328i Sedan, and Chrysler 300 and achieved laudable results in the face of this very stiff opposition.
The rise of Sport Utility Vehicles and subsequently electric vehicles and the difficulties the manufacturer has experienced in the last decade have cast a damper on the future of most sedans and have been felt particularly hard by the Nissan Maxima.
There is a lot of uncertainty about the long-term viability of the Nissan Maxima, with rumors suggesting that the current eighth generation is the last.
What Is The 2009 Nissan Maxima Like?
The 2009 Nissan Maxima was the first of the 7th generation of the series. Coming off the last year of the 6th generation, where 2004 to 2008 were explicitly cited as the models to avoid, the 2019 Nissan Maxima had a big job ahead of it.
By and large, it succeeded, and the 2009 Nissan Maxima managed to increase sales by more than 15% in its first year.
As Nissan’s flagship sedan, it shared the same platform with the Nissan Altima. The 2009 Nissan Maxima was positioned slightly higher as a sporty, better-appointed option to its sibling.
Looking back on the styling of the 2009 Maxima, Nissan stated that it was designed to exude sport over luxury, today compared to the latest design trends, it appears to be somewhat bland.
At the time, however, with its L-shaped headlights, crouched-forward grille, and fenders which flared wide around the wheels, it competed with the other cars of the era, all of which had similar design cues.
The dimensions of the 2009 Nissan Maxima were more substantial in every metric than its European competitors but smaller than the Chrysler.
|Dimension||2009 Nissan Maxima||BMW 3 Series||Audi A4||Chrysler 300|
|Length||190.6 in||180.3||185.2 in||198.6 in|
|Width||73.2 in||70.1 in||71.9 in||75.0 in|
|Height||57.8 in||54.9 in||56.2 in||59.2 in|
It boded well for interior space and comfort.
How Does The 2009 Nissan Maxima Perform?
Compared to the previous generation of the Nissan Maxima, the 2009 model boasted a 35% increase in the horsepower generated by the unit to 290 bhp at 6400 RPM. The torque was also increased by 9 lb-ft to 261 lb-ft at 4400 RPM.
It resulted in an altogether livelier car that could accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 60 in 5.8 seconds. In its time, these figures meant that the 2009 Nissan Maxima was no slouch, and it presented a realistic alternative to some muscle cars and the sportier European sedans.
Almost every review of the time describes the 2009 Nissan Maxima as a “peppy performer,” a “seamless accelerator,” and that it had “strong acceleration from a stop.”
Although the power delivery was good for a 2009 front-wheel-drive car, it lacked the athleticism of true sport sedans. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) was the reason for this, and unfortunately, let the side down.
While CVT transmissions were a huge technological advance, and gear changes were seamless, they removed any control from the driver. It meant that forcing the box down to a lower gear to conduct an overtaking maneuver wasn’t available, and most reviewers described the gearbox as “frustrating.”
As reported by the EPA, the 2009 Nissan Maxima fuel consumption was 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg. Although these are not great numbers by today’s standard, they were considered good results in the day.
What Is The 2009 Nissan Maxima Like To Drive?
The other side of the performance equation is how the car handles. There is no point in rocketing away from the traffic lights and having to brake violently before the first sharp bend, which the vehicle cannot take.
It is an area where the 2009 Nissan Maxima shines. The stiffer independent suspension setup and the “Twin Orifice” Power Steering system make for relaxed cruising on the straights and a poised, slightly more adrenaline charged but safe way to navigate the bends with minimal body roll.
If you push the boundaries and test the acceleration and handling of a car, it’s always reassuring to know that it will stop quickly.
The brakes did not disappoint, and the four ventilated brake rotors on the 2009 Nissan Maxima produce reasonable fade-free stopping times.
The 2009 Nissan Maxima Interior
It’s in the interior where the 2009 Nissan Maxima shows its metal. Although the car is marketed as seating for five people, in practice, it seats only four average-sized adults in comfort.
The seats are exceptionally comfortable, and the seat bolsters provide good support if you are enthusiastically maneuvering through twisty roads.
The front seats have inserts built-in, which increase the long-haul comfort. The extra body size means plenty of legs, shoulder, hip, and headroom in the generous front seats.
It is only a four-seater sedan because the rear chairs are essentially bucket seats, which make them very comfortable, albeit not very flexible.
The two-zoned climate controls are simple to use. You can control the music system with the dedicated buttons or (with the Technology Package) a multipurpose control knob placed below the 7-inch display screen.
The iPod control solution was class-leading and included a USB port beneath the center console bin. With the iPod connected, you can control it via the multipurpose knob or the steering-wheel-mounted toggle switch, and the LCD screen mirrors the iPod’s display.
The standard equipment levels were exceptional and included, check out the list below:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Automatic headlights
- Cruise control
- A sunroof
- Keyless ignition/entry
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- A tilt/telescoping steering column
- Power adjusted front seats
- A 60/40-split rear seat
- Cloth upholstery
- A leather-wrapped steering wheel
- A trip computer
- An auto-dimming inside mirror
- An in-dash six-CD changer with an auxiliary audio jack
The 2009 Nissan Maxima SV adds the following extra’s on the standard model:
- A driver seat manual thigh-support extender and power lumbar support
- Leather upholstery
- A compass
- A HomeLink universal garage remote
- A nine-speaker Bose stereo upgrade
Even by today’s standards, many of these features are impressive. Both the sports and the premium packages add more features.
Our Verdict on the 2009 Nissan Maxima
The 2009 Nissan Maxima was a car designed to fix the previous model’s reputation. The design and engineering team succeeded in their brief, and the 2009 model started to reverse the trend, establishing the car as a luxurious, well-equipped sport sedan.
If you are looking for a sedan in this price range, make sure you put the 2009 Nissan Maxima on your list of choices.