With the debut of its sixth generation in 2004, changes to the 2005 Nissan Maxima are minimal. There is an advanced air bag system, passenger seatbelt warning light, an additional 12-volt power outlet, black-tone brake calipers, and new titanium-tinted interior trim with chrome door handles. The engine meets ultra low emissions standards for 2005.

Some of the option packages are tweaked as well, with softer seat leather and automatic dimming outside mirrors on the leather package, and a new sunroof package available on SE models.

All Maxima models are powered by a 3.5-litre aluminum V6, and there are two transmissions: a six-speed manual on the SE, and a five-speed automatic with manual shift mode and gated shifter on the SL. The automatic can be optioned on the SE.

The SE trim line is divided into a five-passenger model, or a four-seater that gives rear seat passengers their own heated bucket seats. The SE five-seater comes with climate control, front and rear sunroof, power windows, power heated mirrors, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel, Bose six-CD/cassette stereo with eight speakers, heated cloth seats, trip computer, 18-inch alloy wheels, projector beam halogen headlights, variable intermittent wipers and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The SE four-seater adds leather interior, electrically-adjustable heated steering wheel, driver’s position memory function, and projector beam bi-xenon headlights.

The 3.5 SL is a five-seater, and adds an automatic transmission, power front sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and projector beam bi-xenon headlights.

Torquey and responsive, the Maxima is a decent ride for the money, offering numerous luxury touches not normally found at this level. Its long glass sunroof and four-passenger seating makes for a pleasurable driving experience, no matter what corner of the car you’re occupying. But if the budget is of primary concern, the Nissan Altima is only marginally smaller and is very nicely appointed as well.

The Maxima is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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