2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5SL
2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5SL. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

Since the creation of Nissan’s upscale Infiniti brand, Nissan’s own Maxima has become a bit of a black sheep. What used to be the company’s nicest car now plays second fiddle to a whole line of vehicles that play in a higher bracket.

The entry-level Infiniti G35 sedan made it easy to forget about the Maxima, considering the Infiniti has historically been priced just a few thousand dollars higher than the Nissan. Certainly, the Maxima deserves a better fate than to languish in the shadow of the G35.

The sixth-generation Maxima was introduced in 2003 as a 2004 model. As with the car it replaced – and that pesky G35 – the new Maxima used Nissan’s excellent 3.5-litre V6, tuned here to produce 265 horsepower. Transmission choices were a six-speed manual and a four- or five-speed automatic. One neat feature was the choice of a two- or three-place rear seat.

The four-speed auto disappeared in 2005, supplanted by the five-speed, which gained a manual-shift mode. In 2007, Nissan felt there was no longer enough demand for a manual transmission in the Maxima, so it was dropped. In fact, both of the previous conventional trannies were ditched for Nissan’s continuously variable transmission (CVT), these days a mainstay of the company’s powertrains. The engine also lost 10 horsepower, for a total of 255.

2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5SL
2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5SL. Click image to enlarge

In 2004, the Maxima earned Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption ratings of 11.5 L/100 km (city) and 7.3 L/100 km (highway) with a manual transmission and 11.6 L/100 km (city) and 7.9 L/100 km (highway) with the four-speed automatic.

The five-speed auto didn’t do much to affect fuel consumption, but 2007′s CVT made a small difference: that car’s ratings are 11.1 L/100 km (city) and 7.8 L/100 km (highway).

The 2007 model also got some minor cosmetic changes, the most significant of which was the elimination of the big chrome “tooth” in the middle of grille.

Reliability has been okay – Consumer Reports gives the Maxima an average used-vehicle rating – and there are a number of mostly minor bugs to look out for.

A problem with cracked sidewalls on the original-equipment Goodyear RSA tires – Goodyear’s problem more than Nissan’s – is one thing to look for on low-mileage models (that still have the original tires; see two other threads on this topic, here and here). Note that with most used examples, the original tires will be long gone, so this problem likely won’t concern you. Check what tires are on the cars you look at.

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