They played safe and won
R O A D T E S T Nissan's Maxima QX offers what its predecessor didn't, says Roger Bell
Saturday 15 April 1995
The Maxima's QX replacement, styled to look like a puffed-up Primera, is not much more adventurous aesthetically. You'd never tell from appearances that it had been tailored especially for the European market. But although Nissan may have lumbered the QX with the same image problem as its predecessor, the newcomer does offer what the Maxima didn't: a choice of 2.0 and 3.0 models of varying degrees of plushness, spanning a wide £16,500-£25,000 price range. What's more, all QXs have new, low-friction V6 engines - notable, says Nissan, for their lightness, compactness, economy and refinement. Smoothness and hush I can vouch for; no harsh, 2.0-litre four-cylinder rival gets close to matching the whispering purr of the QX's lovely V6 engine. Nifty performance is on the menu, too, especially in the 193 horsepower 3.0.
The QX (standing for quality excellence according to the blurb) enjoys one other major advantage over the sloppy Maxima: without being dynamically exciting it is much nicer to drive. Through innovative (and very simple) rear suspension, Nissan has strived to give a decent compromise between elasticity (for ride comfort) and firmness (for crisp handling). Crispness, to a degree, it achieves, but only on the smoothest roads does the QX ride with the supple serenity you associate with a luxury car. Elsewhere, there's too much agitation to applaud the suspension as an unqualified success.
The 2.0 QX is no tearaway but claimed performance and economy figures are very competitive. In neither model is transmission perfect: the gear lever of the five-speed manual needs guiding accurately if it's not to obstruct, and the three-mode four-speed automatic tends to snatch when changing down. Although the QX doesn't inspire spirited cornering - it is not that sort of car - it rewards the speedy driver with unexpected spirit and alacrity. Twisty roads covered in bumpy asphalt fail to betray any vices or shortcomings.
Inside, there's nothing to distinguish the smart, roomy five-seater QX from most other up-range Japanese cars. The ordered dash is well presented and finished but hardly adventurous or distinctive. There's none of the flair you'll find in a Ford Scorpio. Still, everything fits and works beautifully; quality is as tactile as it is visible.
Wary of alienating conservative buyers with gimmickry and controversy, Nissan has played a very safe hand - too safe, perhaps - in staking a claim for 2 per cent of Europe's executive sector, equivalent to about 10,000 QXs (all made in Japan). Its first-year UK target of just 1,500 is well above what the Maxima achieved at its best, but does not seem over ambitious for a car that's more accomplished than bland appearances suggest.
Life & Style blogs
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
Boxing Day sales: From Asos to Harrods, the best fashion deals
Healthy living could have prevented half a million cancer cases over last five years
'Tis the season!: Google celebrates Christmas Eve with second animated Doodle
The food fad that's starving Bolivia
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...