2003 Maxima New Car Test Drive
With its free-revving V6 engine, the Nissan Maxima has always been the mid-size sedan of choice for those who place driving enjoyment high on their priority list. In fact, the Maxima outsells the V6 versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The 2002 Nissan Maxima is more luxurious, more powerful, and a little sportier than last year's model. The Maxima is moving upscale as it makes room below for the Altima, Nissan's other mid-size sedan. This trend toward luxury and power can be seen in numerous enhancements to this year's model.
An all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers 255 horsepower to the 2002 Maxima. That's a lot of ponies, and it's a smooth and sophisticated engine. The interior has been upgraded. To differentiate this year's model, the styling has been revised: The 2002 Maxima gets a new grille, revised front and rear fascias, and new side sills.
Three trim levels are available: GXE, SE and GLE. All come with the new 3.5-liter V6. All come equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission, though the SE can be ordered with a new six-speed manual with no price differential.
GXE ($24,699) is the base model and comes equipped with air conditioning, dual front airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and other advanced stopping technologies known as Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist. It also has standard Xenon high-intensity headlights, cruise control, remote locking, a compact disc player and a power driver's seat and tilt steering column.
SE ($25,449) is a popular sports model equipped with a sports suspension, wider, low-profile 225/50VR17 tires, 17-inch six-spoke alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, body-colored door handles, chromed exhaust tips, titanium-faced gauges, sporty seat cloth, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
GLE ($27,099) is the luxury model distinguished by its 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels. It comes with leather-appointed seats, simulated leather door trim, simulated wood trim, automatic climate control, memory features for both front seats, a power front passenger's seat, fog lights, 215/55HR17 tires. It comes standard with the Bose audio system with seven speakers, AM/FM/cassette, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, RDS, and speed-sensitive volume control.
Options include the Bose audio system ($1,099), power sliding sunroof ($899), side airbags ($249), and a navigation system ($1,999). There's a Leather package ($1,499) for the SE. However, both special packages require that you also equip your vehicle with several other options. For example, if you want the Leather package on the SE, you also must order a Bose audio system and power sunroof. A special Meridian Edition package ($399) includes heated front seats and steering wheel.