On the flip side, the Maxima is more of a bargain and produces more horsepower than the luxury cars it battles with in the marketplace. It starts under $33,000, which is slightly lower than the luxury-brand
competitors, but it offers lots of standard equipment even on the base model.
It's an even better deal with more options. My test car came loaded with all kinds of upgrades, from a navigation system to leather seats, and rang up around $40,000.
Considering it had many of the same features — and more excitement from the driver's seat — than the $68,000 Lexus GS I drove the
previous week, the Maxima starts to look like a bargain.
In fact, the thing that seems most out of place on this car is the Nissan badge on the hood. Nearly everything about it, from the body styling to its performance and the comfort of the cabin, combines for that "premium feel" that's typically found in more expensive cars than this one.
It's a Nissan that could just as easily be an Infiniti.
Derek Price is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at email@example.com.