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2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

4dr Sdn V6 Manual 3.5 SE

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $27,900 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

Printable Version

2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

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2006 Nissan Maxima

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

Nissan Maxima offers distinctive styling, a sophisticated personality, and above-par performance. Straddling the line between mid-size sedan and a near-luxury sport sedan, it's a car designed for auto aficionados who appreciate something different. Something other than a Camry or Accord, for example. The Maxima is a more specialized product than the Altima midsize sedan with a daring design that looks weird from some angles, but we like its quirky looks and innovative design, as well as its focus on performance.

Buyers can choose between the more responsive SE and the softer SL. Either way, cruising on the highway is effortless with Nissan's 265-horsepower V6.

Both models are stuffed with luxury features. The refined cabin is innovative and comfortable with supportive, luxurious seats. The interesting Skyview roof, a standard 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, another feature seen primarily on futuristic concept cars. Together, the bucket seats and Skyview roof make back-seat riders feel more like first-class passengers and less like coach-class cattle. Granted, the Maxima is not as family-friendly as the Altima, particularly with the optional four-bucket-seat interior, but that's not a problem for people who don't have children.

Safety features include a sophisticated traction control system that comes standard. The navigation system interface has been improved for 2006, and Bluetooth and satellite radio are now available.

Model Lineup

The Nissan Maxima is a four-door sedan with a V6 engine and front-wheel drive. The 2006 edition comes in two distinct flavors: the sporty 3.5 SE and the more luxuriously equipped 3.5 SL.

SE ($27,750) comes with a sports suspension, traction control, and 18-inch wheels and tires. It offers the choice of six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic (for the same price). It comes standard with cloth upholstery and metallic interior accents. Otherwise, it comes standard with all the conveniences you'd expect in a top-end mid-size sedan.

SL ($30,000) comes with the five-speed automatic, a softer suspension and 17-inch wheels and tires. Leather upholstery, woodgrain trim, 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.

The Skyview roof comes standard on both SE and SL. A conventional power glass sunroof ($900) is also available.

Options let buyers upgrade an SE to SL-level luxury. SE options include the Bose Premium Audio Package ($1,000); a Sensory Package ($2,350) that combines the Bose audio with leather-appointed heated seats, a four-way power passenger seat, heated 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 when you open the door to ease entry and exit.

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

Options for both SE and SL include a DVD navigation system with seven-inch color LCD display ($1,800); XM or Sirius satellite radio ($350); Vehicle Dynamic Control ($600). New for 2006 is a Bluetooth hands-free phone system ($300).

Walkaround

The Nissan Maxima features a chiseled, muscular body 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 fills in the twin nostrils in Nissan's signature grille, split by a dark chrome medallion at the center, with aerodynamically integrated headlight clusters wrapping 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; 17-inch, seven-spoke on the SL. The relatively open wheel design shows off the black-painted brake calipers nicely.

The Maxima's rear roof slopes into the trunk lid flanked by buttress-like sail panels. 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 feel 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.

The Maxima's steering wheel is familiar Nissan issue, functional but not beautiful. It tilts and telescopes, and for 2006 the redundant controls on the wheel are illuminated. In front of the driver are three small gauges set in their own pod, like those on a motorcycle.

We like many of 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 systems are too small to be easily read, and the audio and trip computer seem to have more buttons than they should need. The display is hard to read in bright sunlight with polarized sunglasses.

We didn't care, either, 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.

When seated in the back of a four-seat Maxima with the Elite Package, you get the feeling you're in the passenger seat of a two-seat sports car. With the narrow Skyview window above your head, you don't feel like you've been relegated to the kid seats while the adults up front enjoy all the luxuries. The Skyview window does not open, but Nissan says it found a lot of people rarely open their sunroofs. We're among them. For those who prefer it, a conventional sunroof over the front seats is available.

Nissan offers a choice of XM or Sirius satellite radio, both factory-installed for 2006. 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. Being news hounds, we enjoy being able to keep up on current events with the 24-hour TV news stations, such as CNN or Fox News. 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. We preferred the SE over the slightly softer ride of the SL because it felt more connected to the road. Both models handled bumps well, a benefit of the independent multi-link rear suspension.

Cruising on the highway is effortless in the Maxima. The 3.5-liter V6 develops 265 horsepower and pulls strongly in passing situations. The V6 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. It's a great engine, and is considered one of the best V6s available from anyone.

Both the six-speed manual and the five-speed automatic transmissions are well-matched to the smoothly revving engine. We prefer the automatic. The shifter on the six-speed manual feels tall. Ours seemed balky initially and the first-to-second shift required good timing, but once we got used to it the gates were easy to select. Clutch pedal travel was notably long as well, so you'll be working that left leg in heavy traffic. For these reasons and others, most people choose the automatic. And we think they're right.

We drove the Maxima down some winding canyon roads and found it handles very well with high grip limits. The Maxima does feel noticeably bigger and more ponderous than the lighter Altima, however. The Maxima and Altima share basic structures, but the Maxima weighs more. The steering is accurate, though it seems light and slow. Body roll is minimal, meaning it doesn't lean much in corners. But turn-in is slow, so when you come into a high-speed turn and turn the steering wheel the car is relatively slow to respond. Charge into a corner past the grip of the tires and the car understeers initially. Coming out of the corners, the Maxima doesn't spin the wheels, which is a good thing, but there is some torque steer, a slight tugging sensation at the steering wheel.

Overall, the Maxima feels like a sporty sedan that's enjoyable to drive.

Summary

The Nissan Maxima is individualistic and indulgently luxurious, with innovative styling and interior features. Its engine is powerful and its ride is smooth and quiet.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Phil Berg filed this report from Detroit, with Mitch McCullough reporting from Los Angeles.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$27,750
Model lineup:
Nissan 3.5 SE ($27,750); 3.5 SL ($30,000)
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 ($27,750)
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, heated front seats and mirrors, a four-way power passenger seat, 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:
580
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$31,980
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

2006 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 Std

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

Accident Prevention

Handsfree Wireless Opt

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

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 167 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 with the purchase of the CPO Wrap Coverage at time of sale. Fee to transfer is estimated to be $50
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Nissan Maxima Sedan

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