Safety

The Maxima failed to impress me when it came to its Latch connectors and child-safety-seat fit. The backseat has bolsters that interfered with the fit of my sons' booster seats. The result? The booster seats sat slightly crooked. Sounds safe, doesn't it? The Latch connecters were difficult to access, so it looks like some kid-friendly renovations are in order in the Maxima.

The Maxima has all the standard safety features we look for, including side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags for both rows of seats, antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system.

I also like that the emergency trunk release handle is easily visible in the trunk. It made me feel secure knowing it's in there in case I ever find myself stuck in the trunk for whatever reason. I should really watch less "Law and Order."

FAMILY LIFESTAGE

In Diapers: There's plenty of room for a rear-facing infant-safety seat.

In School: My sons' booster seats didn't fit well in the backseat because of the bolsters.

Teens: This is a distinctive-looking sedan that any teen would happily drive.

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