The Ultimate Nissan Maxima Page

The Nissan Maxima is a sporty sedan that has its roots in the Datsun 810 before Datsun became Nissan. It debuted in the four-door compact-car market in the 1981 model year and has undergone eight generations of design revisions. The Maxima entered the U.S. market to considerable acclaim for its style and handsome design and soon became a popular vehicle. It was also seen as a fun-to-drive car that had an acceptable level of performance on the road. This set the stage for its enduring success in the American market. The Nissan Maxima comes in a sedan form and currently competes in the full-size car category.

1981-84: First Generation (G910)

The second-generation Datsun 810, which was the first-generation Maxima, made an impact on automobile history with its audible warning system that alerted drivers with spoken messages when the door was opened while the key was in the ignition or the lights were left on. Its 118-horsepower engine reached 60 miles per hour in around 13 seconds, which made it competitive among its peers. The sedan had a 103.4-inch wheelbase and a curb weight of 2,740 pounds, and it reached a top speed of up to 111 mph. The G910 featured a manual five-speed or automatic three-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive. The first-generation Maxima had a highway fuel economy rating of 40 mpg for its manual-transmission model and 32.3 mpg for its automatic model. There was also a diesel-fueled sedan model with a curb weight of 2,980 pounds., a 41.9 mpg fuel efficiency rating, and a top speed of 95 mph. Its acceleration was 0 to 60 mph in 17.5 seconds. The Maxima came in both sedan and wagon forms. The end of this generation marked the last year for production of the diesel model as well as the rear-wheel-drive design.

1985-88: Second Generation (PU11)

Starting with the 1985 model year, Nissan Maximas with front-wheel drive began to appear on the market, with four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmission options. Still placed in the compact market, the 1985 GL sedan was a bit heavier, with a curb weight of 3,040 pounds and a 100.4-inch wheelbase. It used a 152-horsepower V6 engine with an EPA freeway fuel consumption rating of 26.3 mpg, reached a top speed of 117 mph, and could go from 0 to 60 mph in 10.6 seconds. In addition to the sedan and station wagon models, the second-generation Nissan Maxima also came in a hard-top sedan. Models made after 1987 also came with automatic shoulder belts. The SE sedan differed in that its curb weight was 3,119 pounds, its top speed was 126 mph, it accelerated to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, and its EPA highway fuel efficiency was rated at 22.7 mpg. This would be the last generation in which Nissan made a station wagon version of the Maxima. PU11 Maximas gained about an inch of leg room and head room, and the trunk gained 15 cubic feet of space.

1989-94: Third Generation (J30)

Starting with the 1989 model year, the J30 series Nissan Maxima grew in size to a 104.3-inch wheelbase and became one of Japan's first sedans to enter the American mid-size car market. The J30 came with a 160-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine for its five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions. Its curb weight was 3,166 pounds for the Maxima GXE, 3,139 pounds for the SE 5-speed, and 3194 pounds for the SE automatic. The SE automatic had a fuel consumption rating of 19.9 mpg on the highway, while the SE manual version got 20.6 mpg and the GXE achieved 19.9 mpg. Performance from 0 to 60 mph for the GXE was 9.6 seconds; for the five-speed SE, it was 8.5 seconds; and the SE automatic reached 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. The 1991 J30 series Maxima introduced an airbag for the driver's side, and the SE model received a 190-horsepower engine upgrade along with independent rear suspension.

1995-99: Fourth Generation (A32)

The 1995 model year Maxima came out for the mid-sized executive market with a 3-liter V6 engine with 190 horsepower. The GXE model had options for a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, a curb weight of 3,000 pounds for the manual and 3,062 pounds for the automatic, and a 106.3-inch wheelbase. The luxury GLE model had a 106.3-inch wheelbase, a four-speed automatic transmission, and a curb weight of 3,097 pounds. The SE model came with a manual five-speed transmission or an automatic four-speed transmission on a 106.3-inch wheelbase. The manual version had a curb weight of 3,009 pounds, while the automatic weighed in at 3,071 pounds. The EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings for the A32 were 21/28 mpg for the GLE, 22/27 mpg for the manual GXE, 21/18 mpg for the GXE automatic, 22/27 mpg for the manual SE, and 21/28 mpg for the automatic SE. Top speeds were 137 mph for the automatic SE with a 0-to-60 performance of 7.9 seconds, 144 mph for the manual SE with a 0-to-60 performance of 7.2 seconds, 137 mph for the GXE with a 0-60 performance of 8.4 seconds, 144 mph for the manual GXE with a 0-to-60 performance of 7.2 seconds, and a top speed of 137 mph for the automatic GLE with a 0-to-60 performance rating of 8.5 seconds. The A32 gave rear-seat passengers an extra 1.1 inches of leg room and was known for providing a quieter ride.

2000-03: Fifth Generation (A33)

The turn-of-the-century A33 series of the Maxima enjoyed significant redesigns, including the introduction of a six-speed manual version. The A33 came in GLE, GXE, and SE editions, with the Titanium and Meridian editions coming out in 2003. The fifth-generation Maximas were larger than previous versions, with an increase in power to 222 horsepower, a larger wheelbase of 108.3 inches, and an average curb weight of 3,245 pounds. The GLE came with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the GXE and SE came with both automatic and manual transmission options. The six-speed manual SE had a curb weight of 3,221 pounds, went from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and reached a top speed of 156 mph. It had a city/highway fuel efficiency of 21/28 mpg. Another notable improvement in the A33 series was the introduction of a 255-horsepower, 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine. The 2003 SE Titanium Edition package came with a polished titanium color scheme, titanium-tint console, and a dark chrome finish on its wheels. The Meridian Edition came with heated front seats and outside mirrors.

2004-08: Sixth Generation (A34)

The A34 series Maxima was redesigned for a more premium sedan market, and its production moved from the Oppama plant in Japan to Smyrna, Tennessee. Transmission options changed again, this time to six-speed manual or four/five-speed automatic options. The engine used by the A34 was a more powerful 265-horsepower 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6, and the car was larger than previous designs, with a wheelbase of 111.2 inches. The trim choices also changed to the sporty SE and luxury-minded SL models. The SE came with either a six-speed manual or a four/five-speed automatic transmission, while the SL came with an automatic transmission. The A34's fuel economy declined to 19/25 mpg under new measurement standards issued by the EPA. The manual-transmission SE model reached a top speed of 154 mph with a 0-to-60 performance rating of 6 seconds.

2009-14: Seventh Generation (A35)

The A35 used a 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine with 290 horsepower, and it came in the S and SV trim levels. Its design aimed for sleek styling, although it is slightly wider than the previous generation's Maximas. It was lauded for its improved handling and sportier performance. Its average curb weight was 3,565 pounds and its wheelbase shrank slightly to 109.3 inches. The A35 used the six-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) system and eliminated the manual transmission option entirely, although it came with a manual shift mode, and it had a maximum speed of 134 mph for the S trim.

2015-Present: Eighth Generation (A36)

The current model of the Nissan Maxima is lighter than its A35 predecessor, with a maximum curb weight ranging from 3,471 to 3,593 pounds. Its wheelbase, at 109.3 inches, is the same, and it comes with either a 2.5-liter or 3.5-liter V6 and a maximum output of 300 horsepower. The trim levels available for the A36 include the Platinum, S, SL, SR, and SV. Compared to previous generations, it has a sporty look and is 1.3 inches lower for a superior aerodynamic profile. Internally, it has a more luxurious design, and it comes with touchscreen dashboard technology.

Click on these links to see pictures of the Nissan Maxima as it has developed over the years:

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