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Nissan Maxima



  • I've also heard the horror stories of the 2004 6-speed torque steer. For the money of a new '04 maxima, I'd get a G35 6-speed.

    gg2k2se - it's funny that you upgraded from a 2000 automatic to a 2002 6-speed. I did the exact same thing - love the 6-speed. Yeah there's torque steer but not too bad as long as you're ready for it.
  • achadhaachadha Posts: 106
    I have a 2003 6 speed and torque steer is not that bad I don't know why everyone complains about it so much. You can get a 6 speed with the limited slip differential which will solve the torque steer it is an available option on the 6speed should be standard though
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I would think torque steer in the 2004 Maxima should not be any worse than the 2002/2003, since the engine power is essentially the same.

    A couple of my other thoughts on this debate, FWIW:

    1) If you are really interested in a true high performance "sport sedan" you shouldn't be looking at any FWD car. No matter how well torque steer is handled through LSD or other methods, the weight balance is front-end heavy and the power driving the front wheels can never match the handling characteristics of a well balanced RWD setup. For my buck, my 1995 Maxima SE 5-speed has been a great performing "sporty" and fun to drive sedan, with decent all weather versitility. The G35 sedan, on the other hand, sucks in a light snow, as one of my associates found out getting stuck in his driveway this past winter.

    2) 6-speed vs. automatic. The fact that the Maxima is offered in a 6-speed is the only reason I would consider it. Acura has even gone that way with the new TL. While a 6-speed doesn't turn either car into a BMW 5 series, it at least offers some additinal driver control and acceleration performance. Furthermore, unless the new 5-speed automatic in the SE is a vast improvement over the former 4-speed, Nissan's automatics are sub par IMO compared to their superb V-6. It would be a very sad commentary if, in 2004, one looking to a "sporty" sedan, the only choice from Nissan was an automatic Maxima. That's a non-choice in my book, albeit I may be in the minority.
  • I want the 6spd.

    I hadn't checked Kline, but Luther, Morries, Fieldmands, Walser, and Wayzata. Thanks for the tip.

    The G35 is too small for me. The Max will be our primary car, so I need rear seat and trunk space.

    The limited slip is only available with the Driver's package, which includes a whole bunch other stuff. Since I had budgeted for an Accord, I'm trying to keep the price down.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Yes, these cars are somewhat rare. It so happens that there is one sitting at our local Nissan dealership. Black, tan leather interior, Bose sound system (no sunroof, just the skylights). Sticker price about 30K and some change.
  • is somewhat surprising for the "4DSC" and given how Nissan's ads for the Maxima highlight the six speed. Probably a case of creating perception while building to reality.

    I priced out a Maxima with and without the LSD. The difference is $3,900 more in MSRP and likely $3,600 more in out the door price based on the flat rate of a local dealer and references in Kiplingers Personal Finance. Given that I'm already streching up from an Accord, it may be too much. But, that heated steering wheel would be great here in a Minnesota winter...
  • gg2k2segg2k2se Posts: 109
    Yes, yakuza, my wife and I both enjoy shifting but we sold our 1990 SE and conservatively got a 2000 automatic. Then the low financing came out in 2002 so I convinced her it was worth getting the numerous upgrades put into the 2002 model (HID, 6 speed, 6 disc) so we traded up and are happy with the 6 speed.

    Overall, there are many variables and comprises when buying a new car, we found the Maxima to have the best combination of size, fun and luxury that we wanted. Acura TL and 3 series too small, 5 series too expensive, 300M, Passat too boring. While not a "true" sports car, it's a blast to drive hard to work and back.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    Only 5 % of Maximas have manual transmissions. That was the number I heard from a couple of sources when I was shopping for one. I was surprised the percentage was so low, but visits to five different dealers proved the rarity to me. Rare, but not impossible to find.
  • is 3,750 cars with manual transmissions.

    Pretty small supply.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    It appears that manual transmission vehicles in the US are disappearing fast:

    Ford Explorer no longer offers manual transmission (did until 2002)

    Nissan Pathfinder dropped the manual transmission option several years ago

    Land Rover Discovery dropped the manual option
    in the late nineties

    Cannot get a manual on any full size American car or SUV anymore, and often manual transimssion on midsize and compact cars are only available with smaller base engines.

    It is nice that Maxima and Infiniti G35 still offer manuals. However, now the manual transmission is a "no cost" option, which is nonsense becuase it costs less to make than an automatic transmission. It cost about $ 1000 less than an automatic in 1998. They must have learned this marketing trick from GM (Corvette).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    The 540i 6-speed was at least $1k more than a comparably equiped automatic.

    I doubt the Maxima 6-speed transmission is any less expensive to produce than their dinosaur 4-speed auto and probably not even the newer 5-speed auto. An AMG high performance automatic or BMW SMG is a different matter. Nissan automatics are about as basic as they come to design and build.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Actually the 2003 BMW 540i automatic and 540i 6 speed are priced the same with the same equipment. The $ 4100 sport package, optional on the automatic is standard on the 6 speed. If you get the 6 speed or the optional sport package, you must pay $ 1300 gaz guzzler gas. This is a truly great incentive for buying a manual transmission car. To be proportional, they should impose a $ 4,000 gaz guzzler on every monster SUV and full size pickup truck out there.

    Just about every manufacturer charges more for an auto transmission, if manual is offered as standard equipment. If it cost less to produce an automatic, then everybody would charge extra for a manual transmission.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I guess I agree, however, I think BMW's steptronic and especially AMG's "sport shift" automatic are in a different league than Nissan's automatics. I just can't imagine there being much of a cost difference to Nissan between their automatics and the 6 speed manual transmission they put in the Maxima.

    On another point, I owe you much thanks for the hood strut recommendation a few weeks ago. It took me three trips to two different AutoZones, but I now have a hood that will stay open. I did say I'd send you a bottle of wine or some such equivalent, so e-mail me at with your address if you want to collect. A deal is a deal!
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    automatics are way more complex than manual trannies and also have the over head of needing complex electronics as well.

    my guess is sticks are cheaper to make.
  • transmissions are completely different. BMW's is basically a computer controlled manual transmission. The AMG is an automatic transmission that allows more driver input. Nissan's auto is more similar to the AMG model than the BMW.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    BMW's SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) is a manual transmission. There is no torque converter, etc. It is purely a manual transmission (without the clutch pedal, which is automated). This is a very expensive manual transmission (costing $2,400 more than the regular M3 manual transmission, which in itself is quite expensive - certainly more expensive than most domestic auto transmissions).

    It is unfair to say that all automatics cost more than manual transmissions - in fact there are some very expensive manual transmissions out there.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    and the SMG is available on HOW MANY CARS? 3?
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I thought I just read that the SMG is now available on the Sport Package-equipped 330i, FWIW.

    Forgive me for sounding naive or lazy here, but anyone care to share their opinions on the Sky Roof thing? I'm sure there are numerous posts here somewhere regarding same, but I haven't found them. I don't even know how this thing works; I'm assuming they either don't open at all, or they must open sideways? If so, do they open independently or together?
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    To my knowledge these panels do not open (are fixed). Each panel has a separate manual sunshade on the inside which can be opened or closed.

    I would be concerned about potential water leaks if the panels are not sealed properly.
  • No, it doesn't open. They are 2 small "windows" that have sunshades that slide open like a sun/moonroof (looks like one window from the outside), but are just there to let light in. I personally think it is an interesting feature(standard), but I probably wouldn't choose it if it was an option.
  • Damn 56K connection, you beat me to it! :)
  • Lets light in like a regular sunroof. Nice here in MN when you aren't going to open the roof. However, for those two weeks a year when the weather is heaven on Earth, I'll pay the $900 to open the roof.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    why not just make the SR std.

    lich-I'm in MN and open my SR periodically in winter on balmy days.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    The sunroof is great in the summer, particularly for cooling down the inside temp of the car after it is parked outdoors under the hot sun. Once you open the sunroof, you can literally feel the hot air rushing out through the roof, which allows you to cool the car down at least 5 times faster.

    To better regulate in cabin temp., I wonder why the auto makers don't put in electrochromatic glass windows which dims (tints) the glass automatically depending on the amount of outdoor light and temp. If this feature is mass produced, the incremental cost should be nominal. May be they are already offering this feature in high end luxury cars, does anyone know?
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    are available on some cars (at least I remember seeing them - maybe it was just on a show car). Trust me, you don't want them (yet). They cost well over $1000 to replace. Your radar det. will not work through them ;-). They also don't go completely clear, and this may be the reason they are not yet widely available. Believe it or not, a viable alternative is gold plating the interior of the glass. It cuts way down on heating of the interior, and actually is not that expensive (not much gold is used). Still violates the current laws - not a "clear windshield" technically.
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    that a window radio antenna wouldnt work to well with the electrochromatic windows either.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Anyone that thinks AMG and Nissan automatics have anything in common has a serious case of wishful thinking. I've driven the C32 and E55 and, notwithstanding my personal preference for manual transmissions, those are the best performing true automatics I've ever driven. They are exceptionally fast shifting and there is no discernable slippage or hesitation under hard acceleration whatsovever.

    By comparison, the 4-speed automatic version of my 1995 Maxima SE was barely 1 rung up the ladder from Fred Flintstone's car. The performance difference back in 1995 (and through 1999) was huge.

    The only reason the 2002/2003 4-speed automatic equiped Maximas closed the gap with the 6-speed manual in performance was the added torque of the engine. Essentially, the 3.5 liter FWD Maxima with a 6-speed is overpowered beyond what can be effectively used. The extra torque did help the antiquated 4-speed auto, however.

    IMO, if you put Nissan's 4 speed automatic up against its 6-speed manual in a RWD platform, the 6-speed would seriously outperform the 4-speed auto. I'm not sure if the new 5-speed automatic in the 2004 Maxima is any better, but clearly, IMO, Nissan's automatics are it's weakest link. They are no match whatsoever for the BMW "steptronic" (let alone the semi-manual SMG) or the AMG "sport-shift". Those automatics give up very little to their manual counterparts in performance on a RWD car. Even Acura and Infiniti offer much better performing automatics (5&6 speed) Nissan.
  • What kind of long term damage can happen if I run my 2K Maxima SE with 87 octane?
  • To clarify, I was suggesting the Nissan Automatic was more similar in therory to the AMG unit than BMW's SMG unit. I intended no statement of quality.

    Regarding Octane: I noticed on my '04 Maxima SE rental that premium is now only "recommended" for maximum performance. A co-worker has run 87 octane in his VQ Pathfinder with no noticable damage. He says it does perform better with preimium, however. My opinion would be that engine management systems are sophisticated enough to detect the quality of the gas and adjust performance accordingly to avoid any damage to the engine.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Nissan recommends premium fuel in their Maximas model. Using cheap 87 octane in a Maxima is not a good idea and I would not try to see if the knock sensors in the engine are reliable enough to retard timing in time to save the engine from damage due to knock or pinging. Use premium fuel and quit speculating what might happen.

    Back in the eighties many BMW owners got their fuel injectors fouled because for some reason these people would buy the cheapest fuel that could find anywhere, and apparently some of that fuel was mixed with larger than permitted percentage of ethanol. So not only it matters what octane, but also where do you buy the fuel. I would stay away from nondescript discount places. Stay with good quality major brand fuel and you will save yourself potentially a lot of headaches later. I get 27 MPG combined using premium fuel in my 98 Maxima and I never used anything else but brand name premium fuel. I would never go to regular 87 octane to see what would happen.
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