Taking sales to the MAXIMA
Two engines and high equipment levels herald the arrival of the new Nissan Maxima large sedan, reports NICK DALTON.
NISSAN is hoping to snare sales from upmarket four cylinder mid-sized cars, such as the Mazda6 and Honda Accord, with the new 2.5-litre V6 version as well as make inroads into the traditional six cylinder market dominated by Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon and Toyota Aurion.
The big news for the new Maxima is a new 2.5-litre version of Nissan’s international award-winning VQ engine. The VQ25 engine powers the ST-L variant which enters the market priced at $33,990.
Equipped to a high level, the ST-L has a 134kW six-cylinder engine, new six-speed M-Mode X-Tronic continuously variable automatic transmission, Xenon headlights, LED taillights and 17ih wheels, all wrapped up in a fresh, modern exterior. Importantly, the 250 ST-L returns a highly competitive 9.5 litres/100kms fuel economy (combined cycle).
Inside there is standard black leather upholstery, dual zone climate control airconditioning and a sixstacker CD player with AUX-in and MP3 compatibility. The driver is pampered with an eight-way power seat with lumbar adjustment (four-way power adjust for the front passenger) and a push button engine start.
Safety features include six airbags, including curtain airbags, active front headrests and ABS with VDC dynamic stability control.
Many features, including the rear spoiler, wheel design and seat trim, were designed exclusively for the Australian market. Nissan Australia product planners worked extensively with Nissan Japan to tailor the new J32 Maxima for the local market.
Nissan says this high level of standard luxury features gives the new Maxima 250 ST-L a very compelling argument with which to compete in the busy and sizeable medium four-cylinder front-wheel drive market.
The new Maxima ST-S and Ti premium sedans feature a further refined version of the critically acclaimed VQ35DE series V6 engine, again in 3.5-litre capacity, delivering 185kW power, up 15kW on the outgoing model.
“With its luxury-car specification, the new Nissan Maxima now has new-found impetus to make deeper inroads into the Australian large car market,’’ Nissan says.
“The VQ 3.5-litre engine gives the Maxima ability to appeal to customers who may previously have considered locally made rear-drive or front-drive bigsixes, in addition to customers of imported front-wheel drive six-cylinder class vehicles from Japan, Asia and Europe.’’
Over and above the specification of the 250 ST-L model, the mid-range 3.5-litre powered 350 ST-S version adds rear parking sensors, rear boot spoiler, Intelligent Key keyless entry system and heated front seats priced at $37,990.
The top of the range Ti model adds DVD satellite navigation with 3D mapping, a large 7in full colour touch screen, exclusive to Nissan in this segment DVD player, reversing camera with predictive path technology and an 11-speaker premium BOSE audio system with auxiliary MP3 player input jack.
Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone technology is also included, controlled by steering wheel buttons and the package is topped off by an electric glass slide and tilt sunroof. The 350 Ti is priced at $46,990.
The all new model arrives in showrooms in early June, replacing the fourth generation J31 Maxima launched in Australia in 2003.
This was the most successful Maxima since introduction of the Maxima lineage in 1990 and Nissan expects the fifth generation will continue to grow its share in this market.
Nissan Australia chief executive officer Dan Thompson said the new Nissan Maxima offered a significant opportunity for Nissan in Australia.
“The new Maxima will play an increasingly important role in the large and medium car market by offering the best blend of distinctive luxury – at an attainable price,” he said.
“We are doubling the appeal of the new Maxima in Australia with our new two-engine model strategy and a very attractive entry price.
“The new 2.5-litre V6 engine, the sharp pricing right in the heart of the four-cylinder market and the unprecedented high level of luxury features as standard, makes the Maxima 250 ST-L unbeatable. For a start, no one else in this market sector offers leather upholstery as standard.
“We are making four-cylinder large car customers an offer they can’t afford to ignore in the Maxima ST-L,” he said.
“And with the elegant Maxima ST-S and Ti sedans, an impressive ride and luxurious appointments will give the new Maxima the muscle to grow its sales in the upper end of the large car market where there are many customers looking for unparalleled value.”