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Nissan Maxima



  • ludacrisludacris Posts: 185
    Please read this..

    Granted ride quality is not close to as good as the Camry I doubt the Maxima will lose to one in the twisties..

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ludacris... Thanks and interesting. One person's opinion. But he does conceed my most basic point. The beam axle is inherently less stable on bumpy or uneven surfaces. A good beam axle, even the best beam axle, still suffers from its inherent non-independent limitation. And that is why the press pointed it out when Nissan cut corners with the re-design and why Nissan is now going fully independent rear suspensions with new Altima and G35. Future Maxima will follow.

    Will those who defend the lowly cheap beam axle today bemoan its loss in future? Will they write how Nissan is making a mistake? Will they clamor for a return to beam axle for 2007? How come I find that hard to believe.

    Nissan would've had the best of both worlds with a fully independent suspension set up. It would improve ride quality for those buyers who value it (most Accord and Camry buyers) as well as made the Maxima a better all around sport sedan for those who love its performance with its wonderful V-6 and manual transmission option. At least Nissan knows it made a mistake and will fix it.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    My parents have a '95 Maxima GLE and I've driven probably 10-15k of the 150k miles on it. The seating position is very low, feels almost like you are sitting on the floor. They are right in that you don't get a lot of leg support from the seats because the seating position is so low.

    I think the main reason C&D liked the '95 Maxima so much was the new engine. The VQ engine used in the '95 and above Max is completely superior to the old VG V6 used in previous generations (we also had an '87 Maxima with the VG engine, so I have experience with both). The VQ engine is much smoother, more free-revving, and much more powerful. It feels like a sports car engine, not a family sedan engine.

    As for handling, I've never driven the '89-'94 Maximas so I can't give a fair comparison. Also, my parents' Max is a GLE, which has a softer ride and more floaty feel than the SE models. I can say that there is a good amount of body roll on our Maxima, and the handling overall is not particularly confidence-inspiring. You can feel bump steer (a result of the solid rear axle) when you hit a bump mid-corner. I have an '02 Altima SE, and my car has much less body roll and feels more composed in corners, though the ride is stiffer.
  • albatros 43 gave good advice. It's hard to believe there isn't a good buy on a Max that is closer to you, especially if you're in western Montana. But if you want to pursue this one, I'd make the purchase contingent on a clean bill of health from a competent (and unbiased) mechanic. That will tell you far more than pictures. And if you're looking for a good mechanic, try the Car Talk site (under "Actual Car Information" and then under "Mechan-X Files"). Unless the WI Max is in the boonies, you should come up with a mechanic both parties can trust.
  • serrejserrej Posts: 2
    I am planning on buying a 95 GXE 5speed with 50,000 miles on it. This will be from a private part, is there any specific mechanical problems or concerns that I should check out? Edmunds used TMV is $7,215 does that sound about right. John
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I was at the Detroit auto show yesterday and had an opportunity to check out the '02 Alty and Max. I preferred the Max for style and interior. However, I was disappointed with the tiny trunk pass-thru. What's the point of having both seats fold down if that little hole is all they give you to stick things through? I use my wife pass-thru all the time and most of the time when I do I need more space that the Max gives me. All by itself it's not going to prevent me buying this car, but it's annoying.
  • mmx6mmx6 Posts: 18
    Yeah, I know all about the concepts of the beam axle, and I know what it's like in practice, since I own a 95 200SX SE-R. The Sentra (same thing as 200SX) underwent the same degrading operation in 95 as the Maxima, and the beam axle definitely sucks on my car. The ride is more jumpy and I hear constant rattles. What I don't get is why the enthusiast magazines never seemed to complain about this on the Maxima, since they scrutinize on every possible mechanical flaw on a car. C&D said the Sentra's ride got worse but made no such complaints about the Maxima, even after 5 seperate articles on the 95-99 generation. Edmund's never mentioned it at all on either the Maxima or the Sentra/200SX.
    In the past, I've driven both a 98 and a 2000 Infiniti I30 non-Touring (on two seperate days when our G20 needed servicing and we were given a loaner car) and the ride actually seemed pretty good, but it's hard to make comparisons in your distant memory.
    Yes, the VQ30DE engine is definitely superior and more efficient than the old VG30DE: it's lighter (since it's aluminum) and has more horsepower and torque from the same-size block. But since I'm planning to use this as a mild-mannered family car, torque is the most important commodity, and it didn't improve all that much. Plus the 89-94 GXE models with their SOHC engine only ask for 87 octane, correct?
    What else was degraded on the Maxima on 95 besides the suspension and styling? I noticed the little details on Nissans started getting cheaper around that time. My 95 SE-R doesn't even have a CLOCK. Didn't the Maxima gain a big stupid intrusive trunk hinge and such? I noticed that Nissan leather quality went down in the late 90's. Seems to me that the world's most perfect mid-size sedan would be a 94 Maxima with the 95's engine and dual air bags.
  • Yeah, the rear beam suspension does kind of lack in performance. I never notice it in everyday driving, but over speed bumps and other bumps, BOY do you notice!

    The most recent experience I had with the beam on my 02 SE model was going around a 50 mph corner at 80 mph. The back suspension hit a bump and the back end jumped out on me. It caught the ground again, but it was still a pretty unsafe and scary feeling.

    Believe me, NO one is going to miss that rear beam! Especially me! I love my Maxima, but that is the only negative thing about the car. I am glad they will be changing it for next year.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282 should be the first to appreciate that it is possible to engineer good performance out of older technology.

    The recirculating ball steering in the 540i is clearly inferior technology to the rack and pinion setup in the 530i. And while some (me included) may notice a bit better steering feedback, smoothness and precision in the 530i, nobody is likely to dump on the 540i (and M5), just bescause BMW made the steering sacrifice to fit an 8-cylinder in the engine bay.

    There is no doubt in my rear end that the Maxima SE outhandles virtually all of it's front wheel drive competitors from Japan, Germany or Sweden. (oh yeah, and America).

    If your rear end tells you differently, then I respect your opinion. Just don't give me the "technical" answer as to why it can't be. After all, bumblebees do fly and the M5 is the ultimate performance sedan (imagine that, even the Maxima has rack and pinion steering!).
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    habitat1... There is a huge difference between an independent and a non-independent rear suspension. The physics dictates that the latter is inherently inferior to the former. There is no similar analogy between a rack and pinion steering system and a recirculating ball system. They have different characteristics and there are trade offs in regard to when one might be superior to the other. Steering is more than just turning. It includes responding to bumps, tracking in straight lines, turning at various speeds and angles, etc. Same goes for front suspensions. Why don't you point out that the wonderful 5 Series uses "lowly" McPherson strut fully independent front suspension?

    Being more expensive or more "sophisticated" does NOT automatically mean it is "better". Technology is only superior when it is used by real people every day, not when it is looked at on paper or compared for its "technological superiority". Was Beta superior to VHS? Apple Macs over Microsoft Windows?

    An automatic transmission is more "sophisticated" or "technologically superior" to a manual transmission. Which would you prefer? In my opinion, the former is inherently inferior. It adds weight, complexity, cost, eats up space, reduces acceleration, degrades overall performance, and wastes fuel. So why isn't it better?

    Is a turbo-charged or super-charged smaller DOHC 4-valve engine better than a larger, normally aspirated OHV engine? There is a lot to be said for the "primitive" engines in Vipers and Corvettes.

    Probably because the proof is in the pudding. The 5 Series handles superbly. It may not have as "sophisticated" a front suspension or steering rack, but then both do exactly what you want when you want it.

    What famous law posits that the prefered solution is the simplist one? You get to the same conclusion (driving nirvana) but reach it thru different steering or front suspensions.
  • mmx6mmx6 Posts: 18
    Your argument doesn't really apply. Recirculating ball isn't "inferior" to rack-and-pinion in absolute terms, it just sacrifices precise feel in exchange for more isolation. But there is NO dynamic benefit of switching to beam axle, as both ride AND handling suffer. I also don't see why you think you can claim the Maxima to be the best handler in its class (in terms of numbers or subjective seat-of-pants feel), especially with the Passat and even the Accord around.
    As for your car, it is notable that even with recirculating ball steering, BMW managed to provide better steering feel on its 540i (according to one magazine, I forgot which one) than Mercedes did on their rack-and-pinion E420. But that just means BMW's engineers are better than Mercedes' (who would argue with that?).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..that the "proof is in the pudding".

    mmx6: Comparing my 1995 Maxima SE to what it's competitors were back then, it was an easy conclusion for me (albeit subjective) that it was the best handler in it's class. I test drove the heck out of everything. The Passat was very good, but was handicapped by just feeling too slow back then.

    Considering the FWD sedans on the market today, I still think my 1995 Maxima stacks up extremely well. Granted, you do feel the road more than some current models. But in everyday "enthusiastic driving" the combination of relatively low body roll and 5-speed manual transmission make it a lot of fun to drive. And I have even had compliments from my BMW/Mercedes associates on both it's acceration and highway smoothness.

    As for the Accord, surely you jest. I love Honda. Just bought a 2002 S2000 as a third car. But the Honda Accord is one of the least "enthusiastic" sedans from Japan or Europe, with the exception of the Camry. I wouldn't even rate the Acura TL-S much higher on the "fun to drive" scale. They are exceptionally smooth, if that's your priority.

    Final point, in 120,000 miles, I have never "lost" the back end of my Maxima going over bumps on twisty roads. I am enthusiastic, but not insane. I suspect anyone having that problem should be in a rear wheel drive car, period.
  • tgif888tgif888 Posts: 351
    Any good dealership or salesperson you owner can recommend in the Los Angeles area?
  • tony107tony107 Posts: 15
    I got a couple of problems. I bought my 95 Max. almost a year ago and a couple of months ago I noticed that when driving slowly I turn I can hear noises> they are pretty weird, it sounds like a combination of squaking and crunching or something in between. I'm sure that they are comming from the front, what is it i have no idea, maybe i just need to lubricate or something.
    I also have the same problem which a couple of people had, shifting from park, I can not press the button unless i press it and move it forward, wierd....but that sound while turning conserns me a lot more.
  • If you hear those sounds only while making low speed turns, and fairly sharp ones at that, I'd suspect your car has one or more defective CV joints.
  • otis12otis12 Posts: 169
    Whaddaya think? I'm in NJ and am using the internet to query a a few dealers. '02 Max SE, automatic, with sunroof and wind deflector. MSRP is about 27K, invoice is 24.5K, the first dealer to respond is offering $500 over invoice. Opinions? I think I should be able to buy at or close to invoice. Is this realistic?
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    Isn't there a rebate out now on the Maxima? If so, you should be able to do well below invoice.

    $500 over is too much for this car. In my area, CarsDirect is selling them for $850 below invoice.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,878
    I know in South jersey (outside Phila) you can get a Maxima for $1300 under invoice (including rebate of $1,000, the price being 300 under). if this is your part of jersey, shoot an email to my profile and i can give you details.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • The store I work in, which is in NJ, typically prices Maximas about 300 over invoice less and rebates or dealer cash. In that case, you would be 700 under invoice. We have plenty to choose from. Email me at if there is something specific you're looking for.

    When you get quotes, try to get out the door prices. I hate when I lose a customer over 50 dollars to only find out that their bottom line was hundreds of dollars more.

  • Contact Mark Ianucci at Barwick Nissan in San Juan Capistrano...He is the Sales Mgr. and you will work directly with him. Good Guy, Good deal..Check it out..

  • gg2k2segg2k2se Posts: 109
    I've been the satisfied owner of a 90 SE which I sold for a 2K SE, but I was lusting after the 20 or so improvements they've made to the 2k2 SE (engine, HID, 6 disc, 6 speed). Well, the .9% financing won me over so I just picked up a loaded Tungsten blue SE 6 speed. I can fully recommend the Maxima to anyone who finds the combination of size, luxury and sportiness to meet their needs. The 3.5 engine is smooth and quick and the 6 speed is pretty good (not great). My wife and I wanted something less common so we looked at the Tungsten and decided it was perfect for us (previous cars were hard to keep clean black GTI, a very nice red 90 SE and our soon to be sold Sterling SE).

    So have no fear, it's a great
  • tgif888tgif888 Posts: 351
    Thanks. But San Juan is kind of far from L.A.
  • berbelberbel Posts: 167
    To my fellow SE owners w/ 17" tire option:

    The Bridgestone RE92's on my SE have not worn well
    at all. Checking tire survey results at confirmed that almost all owners of
    these tires complained about exceptionally poor wear and very bad traction in wet weather albeit
    snow (impossible traction) Those who had Michelins
    were very critical of those as well.
    Have any of you found a 225-50-17 in any brand
    tire that you are REALLY pleased with (v-rated,
    of course) I suppose I could go to a Z-rated tire
    but those wear faster as well due to the softer
    rubber compounds normally found in Z-rated tires.

    Your input would be sincerely appreciated!!!

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I know that 17-inch tires wear a little quicker because of their size and low profile. I have 17s on my 2002 Jetta, but have seen no wear at 6500 miles yet.
  • robertrrobertr Posts: 125
    I posted a similar question about the 17" Bridgestone Potenza tires on my 2000 SE some time ago and never got any response. I now have about 26,000 miles and still have enough tread that they may make it to about 39,000 miles when my lease is up a year from now. Of course, I'll probably have to pay for a set of tires when I turn the car in.

    Anyway, back to tires. I haven't heard of any good replacements. But I've found the tires are not bad in snow and OK on wet pavement. The lateral grip when cornering on wet roads seems good.

    What I don't like is they tend to hydroplane sooner than other tires when there is a lot of water on the road, so I actually have to drive slower than most traffic in heavy rain.

    All things considered, I think Nissan made a good choice with the Potenzas. The tread wear is better than I expected going in, and I would replace the tires with another set of the same.
  • I also jave 26K on my 2000 SE with the 17" Potenzas. It's a weird size and there are only a few choices.

    I thought I saw that Goodyear now makes a tire for one of the auto mags - the inserts towards the back. I'll look for it. The goodyear website gives us the 16" size when we select our car. DOH!
  • cpa4ucpa4u Posts: 136
    In this month's Car & Driver they did a comparison of several sports sedans. The new Cadillac was listed as having the same size as the Max and I30's (225/50/17). It was a Goodyear RS-A. I looked it up on Tirerack and they did not show it yet. Must be a new size for Goodyear.
  • will38will38 Posts: 30
    My 2002 SE is approaching the 1,000 mile mark. I have read several people recommending a first oil change at 1,000 miles. The owners manual states it is not necessary. My wife's 2002 Honda CRV has break-in oil and should not be changed early. Does the Maxima have break-in oil? These are my first two Japanese cars. Also, I have not read anyone suggesting a transmission fluid change. Would this also be recommended? I traded a 1999 Buick Regal GS for the Maxima. I can't believe how much better this car is for almost the same money. I would appreciate any thoughts on this matter.
  • thanks for the's not on goodyear's site either.
  • 92drexel92drexel Posts: 153
    Do you mean the motor oil or transmission fluid? You might want to call the service dept at your dealer...however these are my thoughts:

    Motor Oil:

    Some people change at 1,000. It's a good idea. The thinking here is that the engine is breaking in (valves are seating, etc) so there may be additional metal particles in the motor oil. Although the oil filter should catch most of this, spending $20 for an oil & filter change at the 1,000 mile mark is cheap insurance.

    Transmission Fluid:

    I think Nissan recommends changing this every 30,000 miles. I would imagine that the "break-in" theory would apply here too, however I don't hear too much about this. This is a little more costly because they would have to power flush your transmission to ensure a complete changeover of your fluid (simply draining the fluid via gravity only removes 1/3 of the fluid). I think Nissan charges in the neighborhood of $150 for a complete power flush. But then again, $150 is cheap insurance too (compared to the cost of replacing a transmission). I personally would follow Nissan's recommended fluid change interval since the transmission is warrantied for 5 years/60k miles.

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