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May 5, 2013

Maxima handles fast, hard driving

Some of you, maybe all of you, must wonder from time to time if I’m a complete dunce. To bolster your suspicions, I offer this tale.

One morning last week I turned left when leaving the parking lot of State Line Pet Supply in Plaistow, N.H., swinging onto Route 125 in a south-bound direction, heading toward Haverhill.

But the wide, ample traffic lanes that I entered were all north-bound lanes.

Gulp. Sometime since my last visit, construction crews had widened Route 125 and stuck in an elevated median.

I couldn’t turn left. But I had turned left and now I was driving in the wrong direction on a busy state highway. Worse, a wave of vehicles surged head-on toward me from a stop light that had just changed to green.

I reacted the same as any person, dunce or genius, would react. I felt both embarrassment and dread, as in, “I hope nobody I know seems me,” along with, “I hope I get out of this alive.”

I pitched the car into an immediate U-turn and accelerated in the north-bound direction, the right direction, trying to look like I had intended that maneuver all along.

As I completed the tight, rapid, emergency turn, I thought, “this car handled that incredibly well.”

The agile, fleet-footed machine was also a large car, a Nissan Maxima. The front-drive, five-passenger sedan is the flagship auto in Nissan’s line, with list prices for the 2013 Maxima starting at $34,060.

With its wide, long stance, generously sized cabin and luxurious details, the Maxima impressed me for also being so nimble and athletically responsive.

But that fact is no surprise to Bret Chavaree, co-owner of Salem Nissan in Salem, N.H.

“It’s been known for the last 20 years as the four-door sports car,” he said. “It handles well. It has excellent horsepower. It’s fun. And it’s luxurious.”

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