"I owned my 2002 Maxima SE for 3 yrs. and this car was very good to me. My biggest (and perhaps only) complaint was the "Service Engine Soon" light was ALWAYS on! These cars are infamous for this and everyone I met in passing with this same car all had this light on too. The car's performance was not affected though, but try to get an inspection sticker! You'll have to get nailed by a Nissan dealer somwhere to fix the phantom problem that trips this warning light. Still an awesome car though but be warned about this problem before you buy one!"
"Great Car!! I've only had 2 problems, the AC/Heater blower went out at 110,000 mi and the sunroof stopped working for no reason. Easey fixes though. I had the back to O2 sensors replaced at 85,000 miles."
"This car is really nice and comfortable. However the negatives include: Doing a U-Turn(mission), >>>Sensor Problems<<<<< A luxury car "Maxima" shouldnt have manufacture issues & this one does. Do you research b4 purchasing, Carfax dnt tell everything."
"Quick note (more later) the engine change: You'll notice a lot more mechanical complaints from 2002 and 2003 owners. A lot of Maxima afficionados were upset with the 3.5liter engine change in those years, and I'm not sure it's as robust as the old 3.0.
I've owned two Maxima's of this generation, and each have easily bested all of the other vehicles I've ever owned (Mazda, Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Buick, and Honda). Much superior to the V6 Accord my Mom bought (whose tranny blew at 90kmi with a 70yo lady driving it). It is not as comfortable as the Accord due to the stiffer suspension and solid rear axle, but it handles worlds better with much greater precision and chassis feedback.
You can have your cake and eat it too. Though it's a Z-car in a suit, it also gets really good highway mileage that can top 30mpg with or without air conditioning. Fit and finish as well as overall aesthetic and mechanical design straight embarrass American cars, and the Anniversary Edition looks hot without being gaudy. I've always had a GLE or an SE with all the GLE options and am totally spoiled on heated seats and climate control; the A/C always works...never charged, never fixed. However, I've noticed that the interior leather's thickness is much reduced over that used in the '96 model I had; I see a lot more examples of this gen Maxima with damaged leather. The Bose system is good enough that you won't have much desire for even a trick stereo system.
Maintenance is laughably minimal. I'd recommend servicing the transmission regularly, as this seems the only week link in the drive train. On the chassis, the brake hanger design (as with many cars) is weak on both front and rear; always check these parts if you do your own brakes and don't be surprised if they need to be replaced every two sets of pads and rotors. Other than normal wear items, I've only ever replaced accessory equipment (starters, alternators, O2 sensors, etc.), because these cars are almost indestructible.
This car has the Z-car engine, detuned and living the easy life; no hard parts ever wear out -- the valve lash is always spot on. They are tanks and can easily go 200kmi+. I can't guarantee that about the 2002 and 2003 models though; I hear about a lot more problems with the 3.5 engine than the 3.0.
Unfortunately, "tank" could also accurately describe the handling in snow and ice. I've never had worse handling cars for Winter driving and am still unsure how to fix it. Well, it's not really that it handles poorly, but none of my Maximas could brake worth a darn on slick pavement. The ABS always kicks in ridiculously early and prevents potential stopping power from being realized. That pretty much ruins overall Winter handling.
That said, poor slick condition braking is really the ONLY quibble I have with this vehicle. This car is a case study in superior Japanese engineering and production (sorry, my fellow citizens, they just beat us at that). Get one. You'll love it!"
"I bought a 2000 with 83,000 miles on it for my 16 year old daughter. Was lucky to find it (and be only 2nd owner) and paid a bargain $5000. I swear it handles and has power almost as good as my Lexus ! Was only going to put minimal insurance on it, but now am putting more, because I would be sick if this beautiful car was wrecked...."
"The Maxima offers a lot of personality for a sedan. I bought mine as it was the only roomy sedan I could find with a manual transmission. It's kind of like getting a Lexus or Infinity without the snob appeal. Grown adult back seat passengers marvel at the amount of legroom and comfortable seats.
I'm at about 90,000 miles with only minor issues, including an exhaust repair, new tires, CD player and replaced the alternator.
The Bose 6 disc changer is a littly boomy on the bass, weak on vocals, and can skip in cold weather. Some songs sound great, others just good. It's repairable, but not cheap. The dealer can't fix it, go to a custom stereo shop and they can send it out.
Handling is amazing, even with so many miles on the original suspension. The SE model handles great without being too harsh on all but the worst roads. The manual transmission makes the car an absolute blast to drive. The motor is unstoppable and smooth. It starts in the coldest Wisconsin mornings.
The automatic climate control is very nice, although the heater never blows as hot as my wife's Jetta.
I've replaced the OEM Bridgestone Potenzas with a similar but different tire from the Potenza line... The Bridgestone Potenza "Pole Position" gives the car an even firmer, sportier ride. The OEM and my replacement tires are good in all but the deepest snow. It took 8" of fluffy snow over icy packed snow before I got it stuck this winter, and in all fairness, my neighbor with a 4x4 truck was stuck too."
"Great car. Bought it with salvage title (had been in a bad hail storm) with 59k miles on it. Heated leather, heated steering wheel, all bells and whistles. The biggest negative is the awful MPG. Anywhere from 14-22 MPG...not bad, if I were driving a Suburban. The computer on the dash even lies, it's always 3-4 MPG higher than the real one? I also wish it wasn't such a stiff ride, but the performance is incredible. I guess if you want both, you buy Mercedes or Lexus. I would recommend to anyone, just watch the MPG."
"Bought this car used, have put over 30,000 miles on it with only one problem - the air flow meter went bad, and was killing the car when i shifted into neutral. with that fixed, i now have no complaints. the car has excellent acceleration (especially with the 5 speed), smooth cornering, a good ride, great interior amenities and layout, acceptable fuel mileage, great styling, and is simply fun to drive. the only thing i would change would be the turning radius - it is HUGE. i recommend this car to anyone who enjoys to drive."