When you have something that can’t be defined as a specific category do you make a new category for that item or do you simply set it aside? In many cases those items we can’t categorize eventually get put into a category that most identifies with the item, but sometimes there are those things that are so in between the just can’t be defined, no matter how hard you try. When this happens you have to let them be on their own and see what happens, which could quickly be something wonderful and amazing when it comes to the automotive world.
The Nissan Maxima is a vehicle that has defied definition for many years. This car is too sporty to be a family sedan, but its build suggests it’s a great sedan in its own right. Not only is this car one that fits into the sports car and sedan categories, it could be a luxury model, but it wears a Nissan badge and its certainly too large to be a midsized car but not quite as big as a full sized car. This car epitomizes the in-between mentality of driving and in the US the Maxima has been a car that we have loved for generations.
Typically the Maxima prowls this purgatory of in-between space on its own, but Kia has a car that has joined it in the same realm. This newcomer to the space between classes is the Cadenza. This is another example of a car that has more features than most mainstream cars and isn’t quite as feature laden as a traditional luxury car. If you want you could call the Cadenza and Maxima premium family sedans, but then you would take the sport element away from them which is an important part of their overall character.
For now we will allow others to try and figure out where to categorize these two beauties, but for the purpose of this article we are going to compare the two. As two in between cars the rules certainly don’t apply as they don’t have their own category to be in and show us two very different approaches to what these cars can be; exceptional car that offer you plenty of power, performance and great features to be a couple cars that you would want to have in your driveway as the y offer you the ride and feel you want.
The Maxima takes the approach of being an aggressively styled car that is sporty and ready to go. The Cadenza sees things a little differently with a sophisticated and mature look that ensures the comfort of every passenger in the car. The Maxima puts the focus on the driver to ensure performance and fun are part of the equation while the Cadenza offers wood elements on the steering wheel and throughout the inside trim of the car. The more modern of the two from the inside is the Maxima while the Cadenza is a classic look that offers the beauty you would expect with the modern technology blended in perfectly.
While we can see how different these two are from the aspect of appearance, we should take a good look at what makes each one perform. The Maxima uses a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower while the Cadenza uses a 3.3-liter version with 293 horsepower. The Maxima engine offers a smooth and responsive power for you to enjoy the drive and the Kia is a little less enjoyable as the power seems to be missing from part of the drive. This aspect of the power has a lot to do with the CVT that is mated to the Maxima engine which gives it the smooth performance we want to experience in this awesome car.
As a car that is expected to be sportier the Maxima sounds angrier and louder than the Cadenza which is meant to be more subdued and refined. The transmission used on the Cadenza is a six-speed automatic which could really be much better than it is and offer a much nicer change of gears. This may be the only drawback to the Cadenza that has a nice ride and a look that you want to enjoy on nearly every road.
The Maxima is able to lead the way when it comes to fuel mileage as well; another benefit of the CVT. The Maxima brings in 22 city/30 hwy mpg and the Cadenza comes in behind it at 19 city/28 hwy mpg. This may not sound like a huge difference, but over the life of either vehicle this can amount to hundreds of dollars saved at the pump in order to have a car that is not only more powerful and sportier but is also the one that offers the better overall mileage.
On the drive the Cadenza can take the lead in the steering category. The Maxima has a lot of torque steer which makes the front tires come loose when coming out of corners while the Cadenza can easily exit a corner at speeds and continue on without encountering any of the same torque steer. While most of the time you won’t notice the torque steer at all you will be able to enjoy the fact the Maxima is tighter on the steering overall and will give you a controlled ride unless you put too much power into the exit of the curves you encounter.
Overall, the Maxima is the car you want to drive when you want some fun from behind the wheel and a car that is a capable sports car with four doors for the whole family. On the other hand, if you simply need a cruiser that offers a generous amount of power and a nice ride when commuting or heading on vacation the Cadenza is more than capable of offering you what you need. The choice is yours, but both these in-between cars are ready to stand tall and give you what they have to offer that has kept them from being saddled with a category for several years.
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