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2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

4dr Sdn V6 Auto 3.5 SE

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 28 MPG Highway

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  • $27,500 original MSRP
Printable Version

2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

Printable Version

2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

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2005 Nissan Maxima

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Nissan Maxima is a quick and stylish premium mid-size sedan. It coddles its driver with refinement and dazzles with luxury gadgets.

Now that the Nissan Altima has assumed the role of a roomy mid-size sedan, the Maxima has moved up-market to a premium position. The Maxima has become a more specialized product and makes no apologies for what it can't do: It's not ideal for families, it looks weird from some angles, and it's not significantly quicker than the Altima. And that's just fine by us.

We like the Maxima's unique, highly styled personality, and we like its focus on performance. The sporty Maxima SE rides smoothly and quietly, while the more luxurious Maxima SL rides more softly. Cruising on the highway is effortless. Nissan's 265-horsepower V6 delivers responsive performance for quick passes.

Maxima's interior is innovative and comfortable with seats that are supportive and luxurious. The interesting Skyview roof, a glass panel running lengthwise over the front and rear seats, is the sort of feature associated with futuristic concept cars. Also interesting are the available rear bucket seats. Together, these features make back-seat riders feel like full-fledged adult passengers.

Safety has been enhanced for 2005. Front-seat passengers benefit from Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System as standard equipment. An advanced Traction Control System (TCS) is also standard.

Model Lineup

The Maxima is a four-door sedan with a V6 engine and front-wheel drive. It comes in two distinct flavors: The 3.5 SE is aimed at the driving enthusiast, while the 3.5 SL is more luxuriously equipped.

SE ($27,200) comes with a choice of six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic (for the same price). SE comes with a sports suspension and 18-inch wheels and tires. It comes equipped with all the conveniences you'd expect in a near-luxury sedan, plus the unique Skyview roof, a narrow band of glass that stretches down the roof front to rear. Traction control comes standard.

SL ($29,450) comes standard with the five-speed automatic, a softer suspension and 17-inch wheels and tires. Leather upholstery, heated seats, xenon HID headlamps, a premium eight-speaker Bose stereo, and conveniences that are optional on the SE are all standard on the SL. SL also features the Skyview roof. Woodgrain trim replaces the SE's metallic interior accents.

Options include a DVD navigation system with seven-inch color LCD display ($2,000); XM or Sirius satellite radio ($400); Vehicle Dynamic Control ($600). A power glass sunroof ($900) replaces the Skyview roof with a conventional power-opening glass sunroof.

The Elite Package for the SE ($4,600) and SL ($1,750) replaces the rear bench seat into two heated bucket seats with the center console extending the full length of the interior; the package includes everything from the Driver Preferred Package, a power rear sunshade with front and rear controls, auto up/down rear windows, and an extra rear 12v power outlet.

SE can be upgraded to SL levels of equipment. SE options include the Premium Audio Package ($1,000) with the Bose system; a Sensory Package ($2,350) that includes the Premium Audio Package plus leather-appointed seats, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats and mirrors, and a compass; a Driver Preferred Package ($3,650) that combines the Sensory Package with a rear spoiler, memory driver's seat with power lumbar support, power tilt/telescopic heated steering wheel with memory, auto-dimming outside mirrors with memory, xenon HID headlights, and a feature that power-retracts the driver's seat all the way back to ease entry and exit.

Walkaround

Nissan Maxima has a chiseled, muscular shape with pronounced character lines. It's aerodynamic and modern and yet architecturally Art Deco, like some Flash Gordon fantasy of yesterday's tomorrow.

This is especially true at the front end, where a rounded-rectangle texture (anyone remember the '58 Buick?) fills in the twin nostrils in Nissan's signature grille, split by a dark chrome medallion at the center. The aerodynamically integrated headlight clusters wrap over the top and around at the sides.

Big, round fender openings accented by flattened wheel lips pay homage to enormous alloy wheels: 18-inch, six-spoke units on the SE, with 17-inch, seven-spoke wheels on the SL. The relatively open wheel design shows off the brake calipers nicely, so for 2005 they are painted black.

The Maxima's rear roof slopes into the trunk lid with buttresses; and two large triangular taillight clusters, like the headlights, wrap around to the sides of the car.

Maxima's bold design innovations include the Skyview roof, a glass panel running lengthwise over the front and rear seats.

Interior Features

The interior of the Maxima is innovative and comfortable. The seats in the SL look nice and are supportive and luxurious at the same time: You dream of all-day interstate cruises across the West in seats like these. The seats in the SL are firm yet pillowy, wide without a lot of side bolstering. In front of the driver are three small gauges set in their own pod, like those on a motorcycle.

We like the details of the Maxima's interior, specifically the light colors and the proximity of the switches and controls to the driver. However, the labels for the climate and audio controls is too small to be easily read, and it seems like a lot of buttons for the audio system and trip computer. The display is hard to read in bright sunlight with polarized sunglasses. The Maxima's steering wheel is familiar Nissan issue, functional though not beautiful; it tilts and telescopes.

The metallic trim in Maxima's interior wears a new, warmer titanium tone for 2005. Still, we didn't care for the large, flat splash of trim on the center stack, neither the titanium-colored plastic in the SE nor the faux wood on the SL. It seems like wasted space. Also, there's a lot of dashboard area that stretches way out to the leading edge of the windshield.

Seated in the back of a four-seater Maxima with the Elite Package, you get the feeling you're in the passenger seat of a sports car. With the narrow fixed roof window above your head, you don't feel like you've been relegated to the kid seats while the folks in the front seats enjoy all the luxuries. Nissan says it found a lot of people rarely open their sunroofs. Still, a conventional sunroof over the front seats is available for those who prefer it.

Nissan offers a choice of XM or Sirius satellite radio. Satellite radio can be great companion on long trips, delivering CD-quality sound nearly everywhere. Not having to change stations on a cross-country trip has distinct advantages and we enjoy being able to keep up by listening to the 24-hour news stations. Finding stations is easy with RDS (radio data system), which clearly identifies programming on the radio's display.

Three cargo nets are provided in the trunk and work better than most for holding down a load of groceries.

Driving Impressions

The Nissan Maxima SE rides smoothly and quietly, even on bad pavement. You really need to have a sensitive backside to prefer the slightly softer ride of the SL. Both models handled bumps well, a benefit of the Maxima's independent multi-link rear suspension. The SE feels more connected to the road than the SL.

Cruising on the highway is effortless. The 3.5-liter V6 develops 265 horsepower and pulls strongly in passing situations. Both the six-speed manual and the five-speed automatic transmissions are well-matched to the smoothly revving 3.5-liter V6. The engine has such a broad power band that the Maxima is happy being either a high-revving hard-charger or a boulevard loafer. You can keep the engine at high revs to extract the most acceleration on challenging roads, or you can lug it along at a cruising pace without concern.

We prefer the automatic. The six-speed manual shifter feels tall and has a lot of extra movement when compared to that of the Nissan 350Z. It seems balky initially and the first-to-second shift requires good timing, but once you get used to it the gates are easy to select. Clutch pedal travel is also notably long. That means manual-shift devotees will be doing a lot of aerobics while they drive. Nissan expects fewer than 10 percent of Maximas will be sold with the manual gearbox.

We drove the Maxima quickly on twisty canyon roads around Mount Palomar in Southern California. Its limits are very high, but it feels noticeably bigger and more ponderous than the lighter Altima. The steering is accurate, though it seems light and slow. Body roll is minimal, but turn-in is slow and the Maxima feels prone to understeer initially. Accelerating out of corners, there's no wheelspin but there is some torque steer, a slight tugging sensation at the steering wheel.

Summary

The Nissan Maxima has become more indulgently luxurious. The Maxima offers innovative styling and interior features. Its engine is powerful and its ride is smooth and quiet.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Phil Berg is based in Michigan.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$27,200
Model lineup:
Nissan 3.5 SE ($27,200); 3.5 SL ($29,450)
Engines:
265-hp 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions:
five-speed automatic; six-speed manual
Safety equipment (Standard):
ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), traction control; front dual-stage airbags, front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, front active head restraints, front seatbelt pretensioners
Safety equipment (Optional):
VDC electronic stability control
Basic warranty:
5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in:
Smyrna, Tennessee
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Nissan Maxima SE ($27,200)
Standard equipment:
power mirrors, windows and driver's seat; remote keyless entry; 240-watt AM/FM/CD with steering wheel controls, trip computer; dual-zone climate control; garage and universal garage door transmitter
Options as tested:
Driver Preferred Package ($3,650) includes 320-watt Bose AM/FM/6CD stereo with eight speakers, RDS, speed-sensitive volume, and steering-wheel controls; leather-appointed seats; a four-way power passenger seat; heated front seats and mirrors; memory and lumbar support for driver's seat; compass; rear spoiler; power tilt/telescopic heated steering wheel with memory; auto-dimming outside memory mirrors; xenon HID headlights
Destination charge:
560
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$31,410
Layout:
front-wheel drive
Engine:
3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
265 @ 5800
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
255 @ 4400
Transmission:
six-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
20/29 mpg.
Wheelbase:
111.2 in.
Length/width/height:
193.5/71.7/58.3 in.
Track, f/r:
61.0/61.2 in.
Turning circle:
40.0 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
40.1/53.5/43.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
37.3/54.8/36.5 in.
Cargo volume:
15.5 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
1000 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson struts, lower control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
independent, multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
5.5 in.
Curb weight:
3485 lbs.
Tires:
P245/45VR18
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS, EBD, brake assist in.
Fuel capacity:
20.0 gal.

Printable Version

2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty. Only Nissan models less than 6 years old and under 80,000 miles qualify for the Nissan Certified Pre-Owned program. The CARFAX Vehicle History Report ensures your vehicle has a clean title history.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer & less than 80,000 miles.
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 150+ point comprehensive Certified Pre-Owned Inspection and reconditioning. Inspection includes OEM service bulletins and recalls, diagnostic trouble codes, powertrain/chassis, body frame, road test, interior and body exterior.
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes for the duration of the 7 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty No/Yes if wrap coverage is purchased at the time of sale
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2005 Nissan Maxima Sedan

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