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Remember Nissan’s Coin Slot Sunroof?

The 2000s were boom years for Nissan. After a decade of making also-ran cars that never quite lived up to Toyota and Honda, but still sold pretty well, there was some sort of renaissance: the 2002 Altima revitalized the brand; the 2003 350Z made a huge splash; and they were on fire. The early 2000s also saw the arrival of the sixth-generation Maxima, which debuted in 2004 with one of the brand’s most bizarre features: the coin slot sunroof.

Although I don’t entirely remember the situation with the coin slot sunroof — and by now, virtually everything about it has been wiped from the internet — what I do remember is that it was the standard sunroof on the Maxima, and the “normal” sunroof was an option. So, basically, you were getting a sunroof, and you had to decide which one you wanted.

Now, the “normal” sunroof was, indeed, a normal sunroof; it opened normally and covered the front seats. But the coin slot was, well, a coin slot.

The way it worked was it was placed across the roof in the opposite configuration of a normal sunroof, parallel to the car as opposed to perpendicular. As a result, it wasn’t really over the seats, but rather the center console and rear middle seat. Moreover, it wasn’t very wide — maybe a foot at most. And it was a fixed piece of glass that you couldn’t open. Inside the car, it was split into two pieces, with a sunshade provided to close either.

This peculiar sunroof design also found its way into the later Nissan Quest, although as I recall it was individual sunroofs in the Quest — one distinct piece of glass over each rear seat. The Maxima soldiered on with its single sunroof, which Nissan probably had some sort of gimmicky marketing name for that nobody remembers anymore.

Now, I admit: Even though this sunroof was a bit bizarre, I happened to like it. I’ve always loved sunroofs, and I thought this one was a cool new idea in order to freshen up a car that really needed some freshening, after years growing larger and becoming duller. The buying public, apparently, thought differently, and the sunroof was removed from the Maxima — and the Quest — after only one or two years.

However, it lives on in our hearts, and our Oversteer articles. Find a used Nissan Maxima for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. The skyview roof was a total flop !  Dumb to offer a non operational non removeable sunroof !  Also dumb to only offer 4 door dorkmobile models and only front wheel drive deathtraps too! But i digress. 

  2. Just wanting to clear some things up. Nissan began offering the “Skyview” roof panels in the Quest starting with the 2004 model. These came standard on the SE and were an option on the SL. You got a regular sunroof (that opened and everything) over the front passengers. The middle and back row both got a sky light above their seats. This was accomplished by running two long pieces of glass along the roof. Inside they looked like 4 separate pieces but were, in reality, only 2 pieces.

    Like all things Nissan of that generation they were plagued with problems. The 2004’s leaked constantly and if you used the roof rake the glass panels were prone to shattering.

    I hated that van.

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