• May 1, 2007

Like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, the Nissan Maxima was once a scrappy fighter that "coulda been a contenda." In the 80s it was the car that talked to you -- the one Eddie Murphy made fun of, wishing that instead of saying things like "Your door is ajar," it would say something useful like "Hey man, someone stole your battery." Then it really found form as the 4DSC (4-Door Sports Car) that looked good and went good. That was when it had the brand new 300Z for a sibling, back when Super Bowl commercials were worth watching. But that was the early 90s. Now the Maxima is, as they say in middle America, a lost ball in high weeds.

Nissan has decided to change that. Come 2009, Nissan has promised a Maxima "unlike anything we've ever done." It will be based on the VQ engine family, but will be FWD so as not to ruffle Infiniti feathers. With next year being Nissan's 50th anniversary, expect a concept to join the parade circuit along with the ready-for-sale GT-R and new Z.

[Source: Automobile Magazine]



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  • 43 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I had an '89 SE, a '93 SE, a '95 SE and a '97 SE all new with 5-speed manuals.

      Stuff the VQ from the '97 into the '89 and it would have been one of the greatest sports sedans ever.

      When I was shopping for the '89, I was driving an '85 Mustang GT and was seriously considering the Taurus SHO. The '89 Maxima was both a better deal and a better car.

      It's ironic that as the powerplant improved the car became less sharp and the quality declined.

      I agree that with the Infiniti G35, the Maxima has nowhere to go.
      chuck easy
      • 7 Years Ago
      All wheel drive and rear wheel drive is the next step for the Maxima.. It's time to compete with Bmw and Mercedes. There's a market for people who can't afford high cars but would love to have the edge and top performance from a great auto. Maxima sales could be based not on New buyers but people who have own Maximas and would love to continue the tradition..
      • 7 Years Ago
      My test car was the SE grade, with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed manual transmission. While Nissan sedans have always carried the option of a manual gearbox,and nissan cold air intake - http://www.coldairintakedirect.com/makes/nissan.html
      - the most recent version is a drastic improvement over its predecessors. I remember driving one of the first-generation Altimas: the transmission mounts were way too soft, making the vehicle difficult to shift. The manual gearbox on the current model is close to ideal. It’s easy to shift, with plenty of range in each gear for daily commuting. Shifting is light and precise. The shift lever is still a little bit longer than it needs to be on a passenger car, but that’s a small complaint, and not something that would keep the Altima off a buyer’s consideration list.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why don't they euthanize the Maxima? The model made sense in the days when the Altima/Stanza were smaller and Infiniti didn't exist. However, Infiniti basically has made the Maxima unnecessary. May be killing the Maxima would improve Nissan's U.S. operations, which has witnessed slumping sales.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If it still uses the FFL then it'll still be big and heavy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The current Maxima (especially the one pictured in this article with its dull as dishwater wheels) is a parody of its former self. It's pretty redundant with Altima being cheaper, just as powerful and now more modern with the '07 model. Why would anyone go for a Maxima now?

      Of course, they have to find a way to make it a vehicle people want without robbing Infiniti G35 sales. When I was shopping last year, I considered a G35 and was shocked that the Maxima was almost identically priced to it....like there was a contest between those two!

      It's sad when a true great like the Maxima rots on the vine. The car reached it's pinnacle in the '94 SE model. The '95-'99 SE was also an awesome car, if a bit homely looking. It's downhill after that......
      • 7 Years Ago
      As poster #44 points out, the Maxima's main rivals may not necessarily come from Toyota or Honda. Aside from stealing sales from its Infiniti cousins, its real rivals may be the Taurus/Sable, Impala, the Charger and 300 and to some extent the upcoming G8. Hands down it beats the staid look of the Taurus/Sable and it probably out performs the Impala. However, the Charger/300 are examples Nissan should look to for some inspiration. These are four-door muscle cars. Today's Maxima is too large for the old 4DSC label. That moniker should be applied exclusively to the Altima SE-R model. Instead, the Maxima should give up its "smiley" grill and feminine curves for a larger, more aggressive look -- assuming it is kept at all.

      Alternatively, as stated earlier, it could be redesigned to compete with the Avalon and rebadged. BTW, Nissan has some nameplates that would be fitting of an Avalon rival like President or Prince.
      • 7 Years Ago
      #41, NONE of those parts are from Nissan.

      Not that it really matters, but just to be technically correct and clear - those are all aftermarket items.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Whatever they do, hopefully they'll give people a solid reason to buy a Maxima over an Altima.
      chuck easy
      • 7 Years Ago
      All wheel drive and rear wheel drive is the next step for the Maxima.. It's time to compete with Bmw and Mercedes. There's a market for people who can't afford high cars but would love to have the edge and top performance from a great auto. Maxima sales could be based not on New buyers but people who have own Maximas and would love to continue the tradition..
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would not go expecting a sports car sedan. The current Altima is as big (slightly bigger in fact) than the last gen Maxima. The Altima with the 3.5 is as sporty a sedan as you are going to get out of Nissan. the Nissan cant go smaller than it is now or it will steal from the Altima. Maxima must be going grand tourer style and compete with that segment.

      Not sure I buy it though if it is going to be FWD. and AWD would kind of trump Infiniti's RWD. Do I smell a DTS competitor? AAARRRGGHHHH!
        • 7 Years Ago
        i don't see how the maxima going awd would trump the g35 w/rwd seeing as how awd in general is considered inferior in a sports sedan and even more so when it is applied to front wheel drive platform.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i currently drive a 97 Maxima and love it. But ever since the latest gen Altima arrived, i've considered that the maxima successor. the current 6gen maxima is not a maxima in my book. it's an overbloated, ugly avalon/crown vic (large sedan) competitor. that said, i don't know what nissan can do to revive the 4dsc image. all i hope is that it's not fugly =P
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