It is sad to see this powerful sedan go. It was surprising just how capable this car is. The Nissan VQ35 V6 is a dream, and you can tell why they use this engine in so many of their cars. The suspension is well designed, and is definitely tuned for performance in the SE. The SL is supposed to give a softer ride. So if you're looking for a smooth riding Maxima, the SL is the better choice. There were some issues with interior quality and design that nagged me during the review period, but your mileage may vary. Overall, the Maxima is a fast, stylish, and comfortable car.
So, would I buy one? In doing some research, there were some things that came up as concerns for me. As a potential-buyer, I always look for ways to get a better deal. So, I pulled a comparison between the Maxima and Altima. From a pure interior room perspective, the Maxima and Altima are neck and neck. The Maxima offers more high end features, however. If youre looking for a Nissan sedan, check out both the Maxima and Altima before settling. Also, the IIHS side impact safety ratings for the Maxima are not that great for a large sedan, especially considering the standard side airbags. It is better than a lot of other cars, but not the greatest. If safety is a huge factor for you, you should factor the Maximas ratings into the comparison. Personally, I would cross shop this car with other makes before deciding. I would consider the 2004 models that are turning up on the used market, however.
Fast, Wonderful V6, competent handling, spacious interior and trunk
SE suspension and tires do not translate to a smooth ride, but that is the compromise you make for having sporty suspension, some interior cheapness, annoying steering wheel controls, questionable side impact safety ratings.