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Nissan Maxima v. Mazda Millenia

fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
edited September 2014 in Mazda
I started this thread as an outlet for the people who come to the Millenia board wanting to compare the virtues, or lack thereof, of the Nissan Maxima as compared to the Mazda Millenia.

Please feel free to exercise your opinions on this comparison here as opposed to the MM discussion.



  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    here are some Millenia advantages...

    1. Millenia has an independant suspension. the max does not....they did in the past but they de-contented the max to a semi independant suspension which is sub par compared to the mazda multlink.

    2. traction control is std on the 'S' and avail with the four seasons pkg. on the 'P' millenia. The max does not offer this feature on the GXE model and it is an extra cost option on all other models

    3. Moonroof is standard on all Mil...optional on all models of the Max.

    4. Leather is standard on the Mil...not even offered on the GXE max and optional on SE max.

    5. both Millenia offer an 8 way power seat for both driver and passenger, standard. Max only offers a less versital 4 way pwr pass. seat. on GLE model...again not avail on GXE model and optional on SE.

    6. both model Millenia's come with a power tilt steering wheel with memory. Max has a manual tilt, like an sentra.

    7. both model millenia's have automatic climate control...not avail on Max unless you buy top of line GLE...optional on SE...GXE is out of luck again.

    8. side air bags are standard on both millenia's...only offered on GLE max std....if your in the SE its an option and GXE drivers are killed in a side crash. no side bags.

    9. Millenia has a longer bumper to bumper warranty.

    10. Millenia offers free roadside assitance

    11. all mazda buyers are entitled to a loaner car for warranty buy a maxima you walk when your car is in for service.

    give me a few minutes and I will come up with some more.

  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    These are observations of mine, having driven all models of both Millenia and Maxima before deciding on the Millenia. I own a 2001 Millenia "P".

    An X indicates what I consider an advantage. If both have an X, I feel they are about equal in that catagory.

    Catagory -------------- Maxima ------- Millenia
    Horsepower -------------- X
    Styling ---------------------------------- XXXXXXXX
    Quality of materials ----------------------- X
    Quality of assembly ----------------------- X
    Quality of paint ----------------------------- X
    Paint Application -------------------------- X
    Ride Quality -------------------------------- X
    Noise Intrusion ---------------------------- X
    Rear Suspension -------------------------- X
    Repair History ----------- X ---------------- X
    Standard Features ------------------------- X
    Handling ------------------ X ---------------- X
    Real World Price --------------------------- X
    Depreciation ------------ 1/2x


    I copied this over from the Millenia thread to help get this one going. Part of it duplicates the above post by audia8q.
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    Again, as some of you know I own both. They are two cars with totally different personalities. If you want a sport sedan go Maxima, if you want a luxury cruiser go Millenia. I love my Maxima because it is fast and has the best V6 I've EVER driven. My wife loves her Millenia cuz, she gets luxury and style at a fraction of the price.
  • nvedraninvedrani Posts: 58
    How many Maxima's do you see driving around daily?, how many Millenia's do you see driving around daily......hmmm, follow the crowd in a Maxima; or stand out from it (and above IMO) with a Millenia (S).....

    For me this was a no-brainer, I wanted something attractive and or appealing to the eye, which as we ALL know, the Maxima is NOT - leaving me with a 2000 ME S...... still no regrets when I see all the Max's driving around day in and day out!!
  • tonyg35tonyg35 Posts: 52
    You gotta be kidding me with this comparision. Anyway I 'll humor you and start off with a little news.

    "Though little changed since introduction and never that popular, Mazda's U.S. flagship sedan some managed higher sales in 2001, up a healthy 35.3 percent year-over-year through the third quarter. Even so, industry informants say Millenia is doomed. Why? One reason is a design based partly on Mazda's last-generation 626, leaving Millenia an uneconomic manufacturing "orphan" within Mazda and parent Ford Motor Company. More urgently, Ford needs to slash expenses to pull out of a big sales and earnings slump, and that makes the misfit Millenia an obvious candidate for the axe. Does this mean Mazda will get out of the near-luxury market altogether? Sure looks that way to us."

    Stay tune for the 6 o'clock news.


  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    We are all fully aware that 2002 is the last year for the Millenia. It is being replaced partly by the Mazda6, and partly by the RX8.

    That does not change the ability to compare the Millenia to the Maxima, which is also a several year old design. The Millenia is equal to or superior to the Maxima in every way except engine power.

    Thanks for your input.
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    "That does not change the ability to compare the Millenia to the Maxima, which is also a several year old design. "

    FYI...The current 5th Generation Maxima was born in 2000, so it's not that old and it is totally different than the 4th Gen Maxima. A 6th Generation Maxima will be here in 2004 and will share the Altima platform.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    I am not a Maxima specialist. But my understanding from what I have read, is that the 5th generation uses the same platform as the 4th, but revamped to add about 30% more rigidity. The interior was also redone.

    For the 2001 model, Mazda also added about 30% more rigidity to the Millenia chassis, and the interior was completely redone.

    The Maxima also has used the same drivetrain for years, except for dropping the independent rear suspension for a beam axle in 1999, and tweaking the engine to add HP.

    Millenia still has a fully independent rear suspension, but Mazda has not entered the HP war with the 2.5L V-6. That is being done with the new Mazda6, and RX8.

    Automakers frequently say "all new" when it is not quite true.
  • tonyg35tonyg35 Posts: 52
    My intention is not to disrespect current or potential buyer of the Milenia. However, I want potential buyers to be informed.

    Knowing that this would be the last year model for this car, why would you still want to buy it?

    Don't even think about resale value, because it would even be worse because there is no newer Milenia model to spark interest or passion in the car for future buyer in the Used car market.

    Ok, so you may say that well, "I plan to keep my car for many years, so resale value means nothing to me" Well, I say think about availability of the parts when the Milenia gets old and you need new parts, water pump, alternator, etc... How easy would it be for you to obtain that part?

    Traditionally, Nissan is more reliable than Mazda products, so if you plan to keep it for a long time, Nissan should be your obvious choice.

    I will not go into details about performance/handling stats because we all know the outcome will favor the Maxima.

  • kw1964kw1964 Posts: 7
    The Maxima beats the Millenia in only two areas. Horsepower and Sales. The Maxima handles worse, has an ungodly harsh "sport" suspension, way fewer standard features,way too much interior noise, a cheap looking interior with sub quality leather and an exterior that nobody's Mother would love. The Millenia is light years classier inside and out. The Maxima couldnt win a beauty contest with a Subaru. Wouldn't this Nissan be better compared with the Pontiac Grand Am?
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    1 - Many of the very best cars have been last production year models. This is far preferable to a first year model. Mazda is merely doing as all carmakers do, and discontinuing a model. They ARE NOT going out of business.

    2 - To the ones of us planning to keep our cars in excess of 4 years, the difference in depreciation is more than offset by the huge price advantage of buying a Millenia instead of a Maxima. Also, if all I were interested in was the resale value, I would not buy a Maxima. There are other cars on the market that hold value better.

    3 - Parts, including performance parts will be no more of a problem to obtain than any other out of production model. The exact same engine was used in the Ford Probe (it is a Mazda engine, not Ford), and parts are readily available. It is also the V-6 used in the Mazda 626. It will not be an orphan.

    4 - ("Traditionally, Nissan is more reliable than Mazda products") There is that fairy tale again.

    Here are two links to disprove that: Be fair and click on the red and white x marks for the Maxima (Millenia has none of these bad marks) to find the truth. Overall, they are both excellent mechanically, but by Carpoint, Millenia holds the advantage.

    Click on the yellow and black exclamation points for the Millenia, and you will find the only repetitive problem was a easily and inexpensively repaired spark plug wire problem, only on the '95 and '96 2.5L.

    Also read Consumer Reports April issue of any year. Check their charts. The 2002 April issue on page 55 points out that the Millenias repair history has been "OUTSTANDING".

    5 - Quote: "I will not go into details about performance/handling stats because we all know the outcome will favor the Maxima."

    Maxima excells only in "straight line" acelleration, if you don't count the torque steer of an overpowered front wheel drive car.

    Millenia accomplishes it's handling without riding harshly, and with far less road noise. It also has a far more expensive and sophisticated all independent multilink suspension.

  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650

    The Maxima handles worse? gotta be kidding!. The Millenia is a luxury cruiser, the steering is overboosted and the suspension is too soft to be a sport sedan. Beam axle and all, the Maxima will outhandle a Millenia without a flinch.
    Let's face it folks, we own Millenias because it is a car that failed and Mazda is literally giving it away. At $28+ it was getting its butt whipped by other luxury brands. I have a Millenia because it was a great deal at $22K, but I would not have given it a second look if it was selling anywhere near MSRP.


    The 5th generation Maxima is longer and wider thant he 4th gen.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Quote speedracer3: "Let's face it folks, we own Millenias because it is a car that failed and Mazda is literally giving it away."
    The slow sales of Millenia had nothing to do with the desirablilty or quality of the car. It was a complete failure on the part of Mazda to properly advertise and promote this car.
    "it was a great deal at $22K, but I would not have given it a second look if it was selling anywhere near MSRP"

    This statement-----"I would not have given it a second look if it was selling anywhere near MSRP"----holds true not only for Millenia, but expecially for the Max on my part. It is simply way overpriced. $28000 to $30000 for a nice engine, and no other advantage is simply out of line.

    That said, The same is true for virtually every car sold in this general class of Japanese branded cars. I walked away from Max GXE offered at below dealer invoice, in favor of the Millenia that I feel is a superior car. The bargain prices on the MM also make Camry, Accord etc very poor buys in comparison.
  • nvedraninvedrani Posts: 58
    Not to stir you up any further, but: don't you have the "P" model?? I think it is fair to say that you cannot make a comparison like that unless you drive the "S", especially an '01 or '02 daily....there is a handling difference between the "P" and the "S" (more power,sway bars, larger wheels, better grip).....this is just IMHO.....
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    I drove an S and to be honest the only thing I noticed was more power. After driving them P and the S back to back I found the differences in handling negliglble. Anyway...I still think the Maxima SE handles better than the Millenia S.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    I have driven all three versions of the Max, and both versions of the MM. I feel the difference in handling among any of them is negligible. What I did notice though, is that even the GXE/GLE Maxima's have such stiff suspensions that they pitch back and forth on normal city streets as if they were crossing a railroad track. And the SE was even stiffer. The Millenias IMO ride far nicer, and still corner beautifully. I am sure a BMW 540 would outhandle my P handily. But that did not seem to be true of the Max's. I don't have a skid pad to test that, but on public streets under legal driving conditions, I could see no handling advantage for any model of the Max over either Millenia.
  • kw1964kw1964 Posts: 7
    As you stated, the Millenia is a luxury cruiser and the Maxima is not. I agree totally.

    "The Millenia is a luxury cruiser, the steering is over boosted and the suspension is too soft to be a sport sedan."

    That said, and agreed, the Millenia concedes nothing to the Maxima in terms of sporty styling and handling. Millenia wins hands down. Nissan knows that only way to market a car with a primitive suspension and dangerous torque understeer is to over compensate it's shortcomings with a big engine and label the whole sub par package as being "sporty".
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650

    Primitive suspension?...the Maxima uses a twist beam suspension which is NOT primitive. The beam keeps the rear wheels straight while taking turns so body roll while turning is neglible. The Millenia rolls a LOT more under a heavy turn. The only time the twist beam is noticeble is when you hit a bump, instead of each wheel bouncing indepedently the rear wheels bounce together. So unless you are taking your Maxima offroad or have really bad streets you will never know you had a twist beam for a rear suspension.

    Dangerous Torque steer?...please, you are reaching here.

    Probably a better comparison here would be the MM vs. the Infiniti I35, since they are both considered luxury sedans.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Oops, You quoted speedracer3 and attributed it to me.

    Quote speedracer3, from post #13: "The Millenia is a luxury cruiser, the steering is over boosted and the suspension is too soft to be a sport sedan."
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Quote speedracer3: "Primitive suspension?...the Maxima uses a twist beam suspension which is NOT primitive."

    You will notice though that Nissan is bragging up the all independent multilink suspension on the new G35. Guess which car in this discussion is equipped with that type suspension.
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    The G35 deserves bragging, its suspension is derived from the Skyline GTR supercar. I'd be first one to admit after driving it, that the G handles like a dream.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    You seem to have missed my point, which is. If a beam axle is such a good rear suspension, why would Nissan/Infinity not just tweak it and use it on the G35? Oh, and my other point was that Nissan/Infinity are bragging on the very type suspension the Millenia uses. The type of suspension that according to you gives the Millenia inferior handling to the beam axle on the Max. And it does have antisway bars on both ends of the Millenia S.
  • speedracer3speedracer3 Posts: 650
    I never said that the "suspension" gave the Millenia inferior handling. I did say that the suspension is tuned too soft, and the steering is way overboosted, which makes the Millenia drive like a luxury car, not a sport sedan. The Maxima has a better tuned suspension and more communcative steering.
  • oilers1oilers1 Posts: 17
    The Maxima and Millenia aren't in the same class. The Mill should be compared to the Avalon or the I35, otherwise known as Japanese Buicks. I like Mazda, especially the Protege and Miata, but to me the Millenia has no profile (ie bland). I agree that the suspension on the Maxima SE is quite firm but, again that's why people buy the car and not an Avalon, Millenia, etc. As for the features, I paid $33K for a Max and the Millenia is $41K. There's no free lunch. Hyundai as loads the XG300 with features. Millenia, yawn, zzzzzzzz
  • oilers1oilers1 Posts: 17
    July '98 C&D. 7 Near-luxury car comparison test. Millenia 7th place out of 7 cars.
    "..the Millenia comes off feeling bare bones. Fake wood has replaced real walnut, and the doors slam with the sound of a 1970s Datsun."
    "Rear seat lack the legroom, toe space and shoulder width..."
    They did give it good marks in the "fun to drive" catagory.
  • nvedraninvedrani Posts: 58
    Have you ever actually looked at the exterior styling of a Maxima and it's lines.......yawn, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Personnally I enjoy owning a car I can look at day to day and smile, and not have the only thought on my mind being 255hp @ 7000 rpms with an ugly [non-permissible content removed] to boot....IMHO

    Also what are you doing using a comparison from 4 years ago?????
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    I am curious how they could report on anything having to do with the 2001/2002 Millenia in 1998.

    All you have to do is go to a Mazda dealer and look inside. It is a highly luxurious and impeccably finished interior. While you are there, close a few doors and listen to the very satisfying thud of a very solidly built vehicle.

    As far as interior size is concerned, the styling and design of the rear seat area is very obviously for two occupants, with the possibility for a third if they don't mind the hump in the middle.

    And yes, it is fun to drive. Especially after the 2001 chassis stiffening.

    Quote: "I paid $33K for a Max and the Millenia is $41K."

    I can see you are in Canada, but I suggest you check on rebates anyway. I paid $21680 for my MM"P". That is about $35000 Canadian, depending on exchange rate on a given day. A long way from the $41000 you quote. An "S" would have run me about $37000 Canadian.

    $33000 Canadian is agout $19800 US. Sounds like they ar doing some huge discounts on Maxima's up there. Even if that is a GXE.
  • and tip my hand right now. I just took delivery of a Maxima two days ago. I never even looked at the MM because of it's reputation as an 'oldie' car... a reputation Nissan just barely avoided with the Max but hit square on the head with the Altima, IMO.

    Anyway, call my silly, but I used Edmunds to compare the Max and MM side-by-side and the MM is *not* by any means superior. It does not have more options than the Maxima, the crash tests averaged out to identical... well, let's let edmunds tell the story:

    (actual quotes from the comparisons)
    MM: "Never a standout in terms of design"
    MM: "Millenia's 170 horsepower is a bit wanting"
    MM: "exhibits an excessively floaty ride"
    MM: "Mazda considers the Nissan be the Millenia's primary competitors. That's heady company"
    MM: "...given the Mazda's age, basic luxury amenities, interior packaging and dearth of performance capability... cannot arrive soon enough"

    (those are not compliments, by the way)

    Max: "lot of bang for the buck"
    Max: "Maxima is more of an entry-level luxury sedan than a family sedan"
    Max: "little reason to buy the Maxima's more expensive cousin, the Infiniti I35"

    (those are)

    Styling isn't worth talking about. The MM looks like my grandmother's car if you ask me, but since it's all opinion, it doesn't matter.

    Let's stick to facts. The options are similar, warranty same, crash test... too close to decide. So it comes down to reliability, engine, suspension, and preference, and according to edmunds the MM finished 9th, yes dead last, in the "Luxury Sedan" comparison while the Maxima SE (that's mine!) ended up "most wanted sport sedan under $30k." I also don't mind getting 0 to 60 almost 2 seconds quicker.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Good to see another Max owner jump in.

    Your post is extremely biased, but that is fine, and I also am biased to the Millenia.

    Now you might try looking up the Edmunds owner ratings. Millenia owners give their cars an overall 9.3 out of 10. While Maxima owners give theirs 8.6 out of 10.

    It has been my experience over 60 years, at least 45 of those as a car nut, that car tests invariably favor the hot rod cars. Living with a car is a different matter, and is reflected in the owner ratings of their own cars.

    You have one swinging granny if she is driving anything as stylish as a Millenia.
  • She is a happenin' granny, thanks.

    I wasn't going to comment on the consumer ratings because at 62 I didn't believe the Max had received enough 'opinions' to make it valid. But, it's *WAY* more valid than the 6 the MM has received. I guess what I'm trying to say is...

    1. online polls are too biased to be of use. For example, jettamannc put "You HAVE to get one! " but rated it a 5.0. Another gave it a 3 because he thought the warranty period should be longer. I would *never* trust an online's always coming from someone with baggage (good or bad).
    2. if I were to look at an online opinion, anything less than a few hundred opinions is too few to even consider. The MM only has 6... with 2 more login names I could push that over 9.5 (but I won't). See how easy it is to fudge the system?
    3. the guy who put a '1' for 'fun to drive' in the Max needs a kick in the head. I'm having a BLAST and I'm still in the break-in period so I haven't taken it over 3k rpm.

    Of course we're all biased so, in the end, enjoy your car. I'm enjoying mine. And if someone says "mine's better because..." then he's got penile issues.
This discussion has been closed.