Big Nissan is watching

I pay attention to what’s happening to the Nissan Maxima, inasmuch as it’s no particular secret that Gwendolyn, her Infiniti badge notwithstanding, is basically a Maxima in a prom dress. And since Infiniti got out of the front-drive vehicle business after ’04, if I want to stay on this sort of platform in the future, I have to go for the Maxima or persuade myself that I’d be happier in an Acura TL.

Not a lot has changed between the ’00 and ’09; Nissan’s ubiquitous VQ engine is on hand, serving up 290 hp (versus 227), peaking at 6400 (versus, well, 6400). The same old governor kicks in just beyond the 130-mph mark.

Then there are the little things that Nissan does to keep you from trashing the car out of sheer exuberance. From Gwendolyn’s manual:

When the engine coolant temperature and outside air temperature are low, the air flow from the floor vents may not operate for a maximum of 150 seconds. However, this is not a malfunction. After the coolant temperature has warmed up, the air flow from the floor outlets will operate normally.

If this were just a comfort feature, you’d shrug. But elsewhere:

The overdrive does not engage until the engine has warmed up.

According to my informal testing, this takes a maximum of, you guessed it, 150 seconds.

Car and Driver tested an ’09 Maxima in the September issue, and this little notification appeared in one corner of the test-results panel in the print edition:

A three-mile cool-down run was required between every acceleration run. Otherwise, the engine computer would hold the revs to 4000.

Given the price tag on a replacement VQ, this is probably just as well.


  1. Jennifer »

    7 August 2008 · 10:12 am

    Having just upgraded from the ’06 Infiniti G35 to the 2008 model, I can attest to a veritable smorgasboard of upgrades there. It’s one awesome ride. Of course, the older version wasn’t too bad, either.

  2. CGHill »

    7 August 2008 · 10:20 am

    I’ve driven the ’07. It’s a sweet little piece of work, and at least I’d know the guys who work on them.

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