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2003 Nissan Maxima

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 560 Ratings for the 2000 - 2003 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10
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Check whether it's California or Federal spec

By on Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 152,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Expensive for what you get, high repair costs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"As mentioned, check the VIN of the vehicle before you even think of purchasing it. There are 2 different versions of the 2000 Maxima floating around on the market - a California and a Federal version. The VIN number of the vehicle will reflect which version it is and can easily be checked on any search engine. The California version has some additional parts added to the exhaust/emissions system - when they fail, it's more difficult to figure out where the problem originated and much more expensive to get replacement parts. I'm currently in the process of deciding whether mine is worth fixing or not. The repairs needed are necessary to pass emissions and the costs are likely to be roughly 50% of the car's KBB value. This being said, before it started to break down on me it was a pretty nice vehicle. Ample power and quite fun to drive. Fuel economy isn't stellar, but it's far from terrible. I suspect that if I'd gotten a Federal spec vehicle, I'd have nicer things to say about the car. As it stands, though, if the VIN indicates a California spec vehicle then I'd recommend looking at other options."

26 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Such a great vehicle

By on Saturday, August 25, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 196,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great gas mileage for a sports car"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this vehicle new in 2003 and it has 196,000 miles on it now. Besides changing the oil, tires and other normal wear, it has been maintenance free. Still getting 30+ MPG highway and averaging 26.5 MPG on a tank of gas. Slight reduction in engine power at this age but still lots of kick. Interior has held up great. Only wear is small crack in leather on drivers seat, I wore through the drivers floor mat with my shoes and the stick shift leather cover pulled away from seam. I would definitely buy another Maxima, new or used."

11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Sporty with glitches

By on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 195,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Sporty, decent gas mileage, good power, reliable"

Cons: "Bad ergos, quirky mechanical issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I bought it used in 2005 with 89k miles and it now has 195k. No major repairs and the engine still sounds quiet and smooth. The timing chain design is a nice feature. 222hp gets it up hills in 5th no problem and still returns 28mpg regardless of highway speed. Very quiet too. The SE model has stiffer shocks and the 5 speed which really makes the most of this great engine. Repairs have been minimal with a starter at 125k miles and the CV boots torn at around 150k. AC and heat are still just fine. Various internal plastic parts clearly don't have UV stabilizers and appear to be disintegrating. The car is a dark charcoal color and the clearcoat is coming off the bumper and rear quarter panels, making it look terrible. My major complaint is the terrible driver ergonomics. Even with the tilt set fully up, the steering wheel is literally 8" above my legs, ie in my lap. I'm not a huge guy by any means at 6' but clearly Nissan dropped the ball positioning the wheel so darn low. And yes the seat is fully down. The clutch hose sprung a leak at 150k and made things interesting with the clutch pedal. One minute it would release at the floor, the next toward the top. It's an oft-talked about issue on various forums and I found a new hose to solve it. Part was $48 and took a while to bleed the system. SES light is always on. The two O2 sensor banks don't agree with each other and throw a code. We don't have emissions here but I can see this being a huge headache to those that do. It doesn't affect driveability. Power at nearly 200k is just the same as 89k. Ironically the passenger seating is fantastic with limo-like rear seating. Sometimes I wish someone would drive me around so I could sit in the back and relax. The trunk pass-through is a nice bonus for longer cargo. All switches still work and the auto down/up driver window switch is a nice touch as is the automatic headlights. Lastly it has developed the usual clunk at low speeds over speedbumps and the like. Steering and shocks are still tight so I suspect it's the swaybar bushings. Just a minor irritant really. Overall my car has been reliable and I wouldn't hesitate to go on a long road trip with it, but it hasn't been all roses."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

had to let this one go

By on Thursday, December 03, 2009

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

"I bought my 2001 maxima with 60K plus miles on it with very high hopes, (import girl at heart). it drove well for the first week until the check engine light came on, did all the standard mainenance,ie: brakes, rotars,belts, oil etc. loved the giddie up this car had but had to eventually stop the bleeding. I am jealous of every nissan owner that gave this car 5 stars, God knows i wanted too. Unfortunatley i fall into the category of the nisssan lemon owners. I started replacing sensors, alternators, calipers, the speaker system quit working in the back. I had the same whistling in the back noise another reviewr reported as well as my driver door dropping when i opened it. I also had steering problems due to the steering belt constantly slipping. I kept fixing brand new tires that buckled under the front ends weight (tire seals kept popping), I had MAF issues as well. I live in the northwest so you better know how to drive in bad weather or your in trouble. Long story short, I kept this car for nearly 5 years, put a ton of money into it,I am sure there were more problems then i stated but you get the point. (too many to recall, and very expensive to fix). But still not ready to give up on this car, I kept putting money into it. I ended up replacing two starters, and two alternators, more belts. I am suprised no one else mentioned the enormous electrical problems this car has. i just spent another 400.00 fixing it because I was determined to keep her going until the mechanic told me the computer cannot communicate with the ABS system, and that i now had wheel bearing problems as well. It has been one thing after another with this car and it is a shame, but it has dettered me from buying another Nissan. I just purchased a new impala after much resistance but I am in the car right, it has all fun stuff and luxury the imports provide, it rides great and i was able to afford an extended warranty. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the old maxima, but I was ready for reliablity, affordabilty, peace of mind and I finally feel good about buying domestic. If you want a nissan buy a new one (or kiss your money goodbye).Although i have to say the reason i am in this chevy right is the value my nissan held even with it's problems it had which i disclosed to the dealer. I didn's want another unsuspecting consumer to get stuck with my old nissan. Take care on the road out there folks. Happy Holidays!"

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Amazing car!

By on Monday, February 20, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 157,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value, excellent fuel economy for size/power"

Cons: "Firm ride, wind noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My father bought the 2003 Maxima SE new, I bought it from him. The car has been very reliable. In its 157000 mile life, the only non-wear items I've had to replace are engine mounts and alternator. Fuel economy has been remarkable for a car of this size and performance. I average between 24 and 25 MPG. On highway trips I've seen as good as 30 MPG for a tank. Other than wear items, everything is original. The air still blows cold, and heater hot. I have replaced the struts, breaks, belts, etc. I also had to replace the radiator, thanks to a rock. Rear seat room is excellent. On trips from TX to NY, my daughters would prefer to take my Maxima over my father's Audi A4. And, even with 157000 miles on it, I would not hesitate to make the trip. If you are looking to buy one, I would highly recommend one."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Most Reliable Absolutely Stunning

By on Saturday, May 14, 2011

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"This is by far the best vehicle I have ever owned, ive gotten so many compliments as it is 10 years old but you honestly can't tell, I keep it immaculate. Haven't had to break the bank to keep this car reliable either, new front and rear brakes, new tires, oil changes and I get it detailed regularly...nothing way out there. Plan to keep the car until it doesn't run anymore, I have low miles of 115,000 which is low for ten years old and despite the offers I get all the time, I refuse to give this vehicle up. Perhaps after it is put to rest I will purchase a new one, knowing that it is by far the best value, reliable, stylish, great gas mileage, performs well and is made WELL!"

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

nice sporty car

By on Wednesday, August 08, 2007

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"I like my maxima GLE, but it has kind of an airy noise, or sounds like the window or door is open just a crack in the back right side. It's got power and drives smooth. I've had to replace the brakes, Alternator, catalitic convertor, serpintine belt and the fuel filter. I don't know if this is routine for this many miles... (80,000)"

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great Car If You Don't Mind Dash Lights!

By on Tuesday, April 15, 2008

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"I was Maxima fan for several years before biting the bullet and purchasing a fully loaded 2001 SE brand new. After owning it for a few years (just out of warranty) "Service Engine Soon" light came on. Brought it to the dealer and was told that it was two of the Oxygen Sensors and unfortunately since my 3yr/36K warranty just expired, it would cost me a little over $400 to replace. Car was fine for another year or so when the SES light came on again. This time it was the one Oxygen sensor I hadn't replaced! Another $200 in useless repairs! Not long after my "ABS" light came on. This time it was an ABS sensor, which my mechanic told me was non-essential because the car reverts to conventional braking if ABS system is not functional. I opted not to replace this one and about six months later SES light also came back on! I ended up driving around for a few years with ABS and SES lights on without any issues. Other than routine maintenance, the only other issue I had besides sensors was the alternator which I replaced 3 times in six months (mechanic admitted he tried cheaping out on inferior rebuilds and finally replaced with a quality rebuild) I had planned on keeping this car for ten years and 120K-130K miles, but due to dashboard resembling a a lit up Christmas tree and reliability issues after the alternator experience, I opted to trade it in after seven years with 92K on it. All in all, a great performing car with overall decent reliability, but due to issues with costly sensors I would not recommend buying one."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Falls apart at 115000 miles

By on Friday, December 07, 2007

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
4/10

"At 115000 miles, needed to spend $2600.00 to pass state inspection...Catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. Too expensive to upkeep! Parts are pricey and it still needs work. Needs approx $1300 to fix bad power driver seat motors...blows fuse for power seats, power door locks, windows and sun roof. Yep, all on one 40 amp fuse....piece of junk only after 115000 miles."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

This was a great 4 door sedan

By on Monday, September 03, 2012

I owned and sold this car
Reason: I didn't sell it. it was impounded.

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun car, great on space, lots of power"

Cons: "Hard to work on, maintenance is expensive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"this car was great to drive and comfortable on long trips. all the features are well thought out in placement. it is a little expensive to work on. and tires are pricey if u get a model with 16" rims. the vehicle has plenty of power. I had the 5speed and got great gas mileage(18-24). I did enjoy this car till it needed repairs."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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