Nissan Maxima, Versa are 2012 standouts
BY AL VINIKOUR For Sun-Times Media February 15, 2012 10:04AM
2012 Nissan Maxima
Updated: February 16, 2012 9:50AM
For 2012 Nissan offers a full range of products from the flagship Maxima to the 530-horsepower Nissan GT-R, a vehicle that incomprehensibly goes from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds. However, the big news for the division encompasses both ends of the lineup — an all-new Versa Sedan and a refreshed Maxima.
The second-generation 2012 Nissan Versa Sedan epitomizes compact car value. It has a sophisticated exterior design, well-appointed interior and exceptional room for five adults — including more rear legroom than many midsize sedans, such as the Lexus LS460, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Volume is 90 cubic feet and trunk volume is 14.8 cubic feet.
It’s available in three models: 1.6 S, 1.6 SV and 1.6 SL. The models’ numerical names should be a tipoff they’re powered by a second-generation 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s been reconfigured from the previous generation and as a result, when coupled to the next-generation Xtronic continuously variable transmission, achieves fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. When equipped with the five-speed manual the figures go to 27/36/30.
In addition to the sophisticated exterior styling, the new Versa combines a high degree of aerodynamics. It has a wide shoulder width, a new signature sedan grille design and a front end that blends smoothly into the cabin. Other exterior refinements include a fixed roof antenna, body-color front and rear fascias and available chrome-accented grille, blacked-out B-pillar, chrome door handles and front fog lights.
The new Versa Sedan comes with a long list of standard and available equipment, including available Bluetooth hands-free phone system, XM satellite radio and an in-dash 5-inch touch-screen navigation system with XM NavTraffic and USB input for iPods and other compatible devices. (In some cases a subscription to XM will be required.)
Safety is prevalent throughout. The new Versa Sedan features the Nissan advanced air bag system, vehicle dynamic control, traction control system, child safety rear door locks and a host of other features.
There’s even bigger news from Nissan regarding the all-new 2012 Versa Sedan — its price. Base price starts at $10,990. With a price like that it seems the buying public can’t afford not to own one.
The other major product news for Nissan’s 2012 model year is the Maxima. It receives a refreshed exterior with a new front grille design, new rear combination lights and new 18-inch and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs. It also features interior enhancements, including a new meter cluster illumination color (white), new dark piano hairline trim, a new Atlantic cherry wood tone trim and a new beige interior color. There’s also a new audio segment display and new audio/climate control knob design.
Also offered for 2012 is a special limited edition package that features smoked appearance headlights, high intensity discharge xenon headlights, a rear spoiler, dark satin chrome front grille, illuminated kick plates and a selection of other items exclusive to this package.
The new Maxima is available in two models: the 3.5 S and 3.5 SV. Each is powered by Nissan’s muscular 3.5-liter VQ-series V-6 engine that’s rated at 290 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a refined Xtronic CVT transmission with manual mode, tuned specifically for Maxima’s sporty driving character. Nissan’s continuously variable transmission is among the best, if it’s not the best, CVTs in the industry.
The 2012 Maxima is not just about performance. There’s enough convenience and technology in this vehicle to bump it up closer to a luxury-class sedan, and with a wide array of available packages it’s possible to equip it like one would a custom-built vehicle.
The base price for the 2012 Nissan Maxima is $32,510 — virtually unchanged from the 2011 model it succeeded.
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