Nissan's flagship midsized sedan was redesigned and much improved for 2000. Since then, it has been one of our higher-rated family cars. The Maxima's ride is quiet though a little stiff, and its handling is secure but not agile. A spacious, airy cabin includes supportive front seats and roomy rear seating. Fit and finish are good, and reliability is among the best in class. A powerful 3.5-liter V6 and an available six-speed manual transmission make the Maxima quick but not sporty. An optional navigation system is new this year.