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Car reviews - Nissan - Maxima - M 4-dr sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Silky V6 power, roomy body, Nissan durability and reliability
Room for improvement
Uninvolving dynamics, de-sensitised steering feel

20 Jun 2003

THE Maxima was released internationally in 1989 as Nissan's contender in the large six-cylinder luxury sedan sector. It received the prestigious JD Power award in the US for quality and customer satisfaction.

To increase interior space, the Maxima was wider than normal for a Japanese car with a rear seat able to comfortably seat three people, which enabled it to compete on interior space with its American and Australian rivals.

The Maxima was introduced to the Australian market in 1990. Two models, the M and the high equipment level Ti, were available. Both models shared almost identical mechanical components.

Standard equipment in the Maxima M included air-conditioning, central locking, power windows and mirrors, alloy wheels and a high performance sound system.

In 1992 the Maxima M gained a CD player as standard equipment but the model was dropped from the Maxima range in early 1993 and replaced by the Executive.

The smooth and refined 3.0-litre, fuel-injected V6 engine had a power output of 122kW. The engine and transmission were mounted transversely and driving the front wheels.

The Maxima was only available with a four-speed automatic transmission in Australia. It has a lock-up torque converter, electronic control with power, auto and comfort modes plus overdrive lockout control.

Front suspension was by MacPherson struts and coil springs. Rear suspension had trailing and transverse arms with coil springs and struts. Anti-roll bars were fitted front and rear.

Typical city fuel consumption varied between 11 and 13 litres per 100 kilometres, dropping to as low as 8.0L/100km under ideal conditions on the highway.

The Maxima's engine and transmission performance combine to produce a smooth and refined power delivery. The power to weight ratio put it just behind the Toyota Cressida in acceleration.

The front-wheel drive produced some mild torque steer when accelerating hard and the power steering lacked driver feedback.

The Maxima engine and transmission remain good examples of refined, technically advanced engineering with built-in reliability.

But preventative maintenance is even more important to ensure long life. A documented service history should have recorded that recommended service and maintenance has been completed. Check that the timing belt has been replaced if the odometer reading is over 100,000 kilometres.

The Maxima M was considered good value for money when new and remains so today.

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