2011 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV

I know the continuously variable in the CVT acronym refers to the mechanism within this infinite-ratio gearbox, but it also seems apt for describing the personality of the Maxima's CVT. Nissan tuned the gearbox to almost function as three different designs. In its default setting, the transaxle functions like a standard CVT, allowing the engine speed to rise to a certain point and remain there while velocity increases. In sport mode, however, it's stepped like a conventional automatic, and is tuned to hold onto revs before switching to a new drive ratio. If that isn't enough variety, a pair of column-mounted shift paddles allows the driver to trigger pseudo-shifts at his or her whim.
- Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

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I object to Mr. Zenlea's protest that a true sport sedan must have rear wheel drive. I have driven both and at the speeds most Americans drive, there is NO difference. The difference is clear, however, when the snow flies. That is why cars like the Maxima should remain front wheel drive.

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