Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but … for all of $30,000, you can get near-Lexus quality, near-BMW 5 Series handling, and the luxury of extraordinary reliability. Gotta be kidding, right? Check out the Nissan Maxima. Nissan’s flagship comes in several flavors, but I drove the SE “20th Anniversary Edition,” with performance-enhanced suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, drilled aluminum pedals, and a five-speed manual transmission. The Maxima’s white-bread exterior styling is perhaps an acquired taste, though frankly it looks no worse than half of what’s out there these days. Inside, though, there’s plenty of leg, hip, head, and shoulder room, and the front seats are absolutely terrific — in the same class as those of the Lexus GS 400 and the Saab 9-5. After the exacting, but limited-ratio six-speed manual drive of the BMW M5 [ Motion, December 2000], the Maxima SE’s five-speed comes as a welcome relief. The M5′s racing six-speed may be a blessing on the open road, but if you’re just tooling around town, it becomes a real pain. The SE’s five-speed is less refined but easier to use. In boulevard cruising and in rush hour stop-and-go, the Maxima’s manual is almost as effortless as an automatic. Acceleration from Nissan’s 227-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 is spirited and smooth. And while the SE’s special muffler and dual tailpipes are tuned to offer an appropriate degree of “rumble,” the engine itself is as quiet as a Mercedes’. I don’t think I’ve ever driven a silkier V6. The SE is every bit as quick as the 6-cylinder BMW 528i, with comparable lateral acceleration and outstanding brakes. Where the Maxima betters the BMW midsize, however, is in handling on wet pavement. As with the Saab 9-5, the Maxima SE’s road manners are remarkably consistent under all weather conditions — coming close to meeting the BMW standard on smooth, dry surfaces, and surpassing that standard in heavy rain and when negotiating the increasingly bumpy terrain of American thoroughfares. There’s not much to dislike about this car, but I do have a few minor complaints: The Maxima’s aqua-and-black dashboard gauges somehow manage to be both unattractive and difficult to read. Exterior visibility is merely good. And the SE has the turning ratio of a truck. Overshoot a vacant space in a crowded parking lot, and you’re in for a workout. These, though, are quibbles. The Maxima SE may come in a plain wrapper, but it’s fast, comfortable, fun to drive, and offers near-bulletproof reliability. M.S.R.P. — $27,149. Price as tested — $29,107 (includes premium audio system, heated front seats, front-side airbags) Mileage — 22 city/27 highway

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.