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Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy / The 2020 Nissan Maxima is a stylish mid-size sedan.

The 2020 Nissan Maxima is an automotive jewel. Its multi-faceted body work and upscale interior make it standout in a rather staid auto segment — the family sedan.

It's hard to find a flat surface on the Maxima, inside or out. Depending on your point of view, this makes the model visually interesting or extra busy.

In Limited trim, like our tester, the Maxima rivals offerings from Infiniti. It combines a strong, 300-horsepower engine with such amenities as semi-aniline leather interior and satin-bronze interior accents.

Taken together, the Maxima's virtues adds up to affordable luxury. Our Deep Blue Pearl tester was provided for a one-week test drive on Chattanooga streets.

A mild redesign for the 2019 model year means there are few changes to the Maxima for 2020. Recently, the Maxima was given a Top Safety Pick + rating in government crash testing.

Maximas are available locally at Nissan of Chattanooga East and Mountain View Nissan. Both dealerships had Maximas in digital inventory late this week.

FAST FACTS

* Model: 2020 Nissan Maxima Platinum

* Exterior color: Deep Blue Pearl

* Interior color: Rakuda Tan

* Engine: 3.5-liter, V-6

* Horsepower: 300

* Transmission: Xtronic

* Fuel economy: 30 mpg highway, 20 mpg city

* Local Dealer: Nissan of Chattanooga East, Mountain View Nissan

* Price (as tested): $45,865

WHAT IS IT?

A five-passenger sedan equipped with a standard V-6 engine, advanced safety-tech features and a luxurious interior, especially in higher trim levels.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

An entry-level Maxima S starts at $34,250. The mid-level SL goes for $38,640. A Platinum edition, like our tester, has an MSRP of $41,540. With options added, our test car rings up at $45,865 before discounts, which appear to be generous these days judging by published prices on local dealership web sites.

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Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy / A tan leather package is available on upper trim levels of the 2020 Nissan Maxima.

WHAT WE LIKED

The Maxima provides a near-luxury driving experience at a reduced price point. Our logbook's list of "likes" included the melodious sound system (Bose, 11 speakers), a 360-degree camera for easy parking, and confident (read heavy) steering. The bold, V-motion grille is attractive and the driver-oriented cockpit is chocked-full of visual interest.

 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Interior upholstery stitching is not smooth to the touch, satin bronze accent finishes with diamond patterns are overstated, firm "zero-gravity" seats boarder on hard.

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Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy / A powerful, 300 horsepower V-6 engine is standard on the 2020 Nissan Maxima.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

The Maxima is a powerful sedan. On Chattanooga commutes the car is comfortable and confident. Sure handling reminds us that sedans nearly always drive better than SUVs.

 

BOTTOM LINE

The 2020 Nissan Maxima is a cool, comfortable car that makes a bold visual statement. It's definitely worth a test drive if these virtues are high on your "must-haves" list.

In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.

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Staff Photo by Mark Kennedy / Quad exhausts exemplify the sporty vibe of the 2020 Nissan Maxima.
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