New Maxima Job #1 in April 2015 The 2016 Nissan Maxima is assembled at Nissan’s huge Smyrna, Tennessee plant. Smyrna has become the highest capacity single plant in the United States with a capacity of over 650,000 units per year. The 8th Gen Maxima Job #1 was in April 2015 and dealers began getting the cars in early June. Competing with the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus and Acura TLX, the new Maxima pushes the design envelope with its “energetic flow” styling. The styling is head turning and certain to be controversial.
It’s rare when two same class heavyweights are introduced concurrently. Both the 2009 Nissan Maxima and 2009 Acura TL were launched this summer and both are very nice entry luxury entries. The cars are very similar, but the positioning of each is very different.
2009 Nissan Maxima
2009 Acura TL
Side view of Acura TL and Nissan Maxima are spookily similar.
The Maxima, a derivative of the front wheel drive Nissan Altima and assembled at Nissan’s huge car/truck plant in Smyrna, Tennessee is the range topper for Nissan cars in the USA. The Acura TL is front wheel drive with optional SH-AWD – “Super Handling All Wheel Drive”. The TL is the middle of the Acura car lineup and Acura’s highest volume vehicle and is assembled alongside the Honda Accord in Marysville, Ohio.
You might think that a better comparison would be the Acura against Infiniti with the TL lining up against the Infiniti G37 sedan. But the G37 sedan is based on a rear wheel drive platform. The TL vs. the Maxima is a more real product-to-product comparison.
There are amazing automobiles and then there are amazing appliances. For example the Nissan GT-R is an amazing automobile. It’s 0-60 times, braking distances, and lateral G capabilities rival the new Porsche 911 Turbo. The Nissan Murano on the other hand is an amazing appliance. No, wait… don’t hit the back button… not yet. Let me explain…
Personally, I think there is a place for both. The GT-R would be perfect for weekend getaways up coast highway and the Murano, well, for everything else. You see – I’ve come to appreciate vehicles that do a lot of routine things really well, but nothing perfectly. In my youth a stripped down Porsche 911 without any sound deadening material, without back seats, or even a stereo – but extremely taut suspension would be the perfect vehicle – it did one thing perfectly. Today, I know there’s a difference between a perfect vehicle and one that you can live with. I also appreciate things like my kidneys, teeth, and ability to hear passengers… although that may change when I have children.
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If you’re looking for a great car or truck to buy this fall, one that’s not only stylish and powerful, but reliable and a great value, we’ve got a foolproof way for you to choose your next vehicle. Just look at which models won the inaugural AutoPacific – IntelliChoice Motorists’ Choice Awards. Unlike other trophies handed out in the automotive industry, this award measures owner satisfaction and the value of the vehicle. AutoPacific surveys owners to determine how satisfied they are with their vehicles. IntelliChoice analyzes the cost of ownership. The result is a strong benchmark combining the emotional relationship a person has with their car and the value they receive. What you get are some pretty extraordinary vehicles that are worth the purchase price, even years after the purchase.
The Orange County Auto Show set the stage for the 2006 Motorists’ Choice Awards presentations. We’ve got a few highlights right here in this week’s podcast.
Show Runtime – 4:30
00:41 2006 Nissan Armada , best Utility
01:21 2006 Nissan Murano , best Midsize Crossover
02:49 2006 Subaru Legacy Wagon , best Midsize/Large Wagon
03:37 2006 Infiniti QX56 , best Luxury Utility and Top Ranked Vehicle Overall
If Nissan’s Xterra is a tough, rugged, and capable off-road, dust and dirt-gobbling machine providing owners with everything they need and nothing they don’t. Xterra’s pavement-pounding antithesis is the Infiniti FX.
I’m now convinced that Japanese is the new German in the automotive kingdom and the Infiniti FX is a testament to that fact. Fit, finish, gaps, ride, handling, and performance; the infiniti FX has it wired. Introduced in January 2003 and given a minor facelift for ‘06 the FX is more fun and fashionable than most SUV’s, but then again it’s not technically an SUV.
We at VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) and the VehicleVoice Blog-o-Rama (http:/.vehiclevoice.com) often feel that we are fighting an uphill battle concerning the use of the word “Crossovers”. This is a term that has come to mean SUVs based on car platforms and mechanicals. That’s fine. However, it is industry jargon that has not been adopted by the public. The media, picking up on industry jargon is forcing the term where no-one needs it.
An SUV is an SUV or Its NOT
Based on our research, it’s simple. American vehicle buyers have categorized vehicles into several basic categories: cars and trucks further subdivided into luxury cars, mid-size cars, economy/compact cars, sports/sporty cars, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans/minivans.
The SUV category seems to be giving folks the most trouble. To a typical vehicle-buyer, an SUV is an SUV is an SUV. There are big ones and small ones, but an SUV is an SUV. Muddying the playing field, however, is the notion of a “crossover”. A Traditional SUV in this more complicated world is a truck-based SUV like Ford Explorer or Toyota Sequoia. A crossover SUV is an SUV based on a car platform, a “unit-body” platform. But people often forget that the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Mitsubishi Montero are all based on unit-body platforms but are not car-based. Does this make them a crossover? NO!
Chevrolet Trailblazer… a “real” Truck-Based SUV
Post-Modern SUV… Soft Roader… NOT Crossover
So, it’s pretty muddy. What crossovers need to be are at-a-glance SUVs. The basics of the SUV equation are well known so deviating is a risk. An SUV must have a basic two box bodystyle, relatively tall glass for good visibility, a relatively upright windshield that provides a stiff A-Pillar allowing easy ingress/egress, and a command seating position. At the same time interior roominess and the ability to carry cargo is very important. From our perspective, this most American of vehicle types is very easy to understand but easy for a foreign car company to get wrong.
Pontiac Torrent… Car-Based Post-Modern (Crossover) SUV
Let’s read on about how USA Today recently reacted to the issue of “crossovers”…