With the US auto market flourishing and posting sales that have not been seen since before the Great Recession, the sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks are taking over the sales charts.
In that mix, big sedans have been sidelined to sitting idle on dealer lots, so the automakers are trying to trick their way into acceptance. As ute family rides have gained almost every US driveway, the brands are sex appealing them up. Chrysler 300C is now aiming to be compared to a Bentley, the unsuspicious Chevy Impala got some Camaro DNA, while the Ford Taurus SHO could shame any sports car from a couple of years back. Not to mention some quiet, understate elegance coming from the likes of Toyota’s Avalon hybrid or the Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Though many argue that today the true divas of the bunch are the Nissan Maxima and Dodge Charger R/T. They are priced to be affordable enough, have a low ride stance and a high-style mainstream look that, coupled with the sporty performance capabilities could shame higher priced luxury brands.
The Maxima, riding on a front-wheel-drive Altima platform and mated to the 3.5-liter six cylinder that delivers power through the continuously-variable-transmission is not your greatest ally in terms of sportiness – it’s best suited for a family drive at the Opera. But if you’re going to the race track, take the Charger – it’s rear-wheel driven, has massive brakes and the opening engine option matches the 300 horse in the Maxima with a 292 horsepower six cylinder. And then goes all the way up to the monstrous, epic, legendary supercharged, 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 in the Charger Hellcat.