What's New for 1998
Side-impact airbags are added to the optional equipment lists of the SE and GLE models. Sterling Mist is a new color choice for this sporty sedan.
Nissan designers underwent a complete switch in design philosophy during the late eighties and began producing cars whose styling was as fresh five years after introduction day as it was on introduction day. These cars were a far cry from the carved-from-a-cinderblock styling of previous Nissans. The 1989 Maxima was one of the new generation of cars to roll out of Nissan plants, and it continued to look better year after year, aging more gracefully than Dick Clark. For 1995, Nissan replaced it with an all-new car, one with a stellar drivetrain and first-class cabin, but with a somewhat dowdy exterior and funky-ugly taillights.
First, the good stuff. Under the hood is a twin-cam, aluminum 3.0-liter V6. It puts 190 horsepower to the ground through the front axle. A five-speed is standard on GXE and SE trim levels, but an automatic is optional. This engine is a jewel, providing swift acceleration without penalizing fuel economy.
Inside, the Maxima sports an interior befitting an Infiniti. No coincidence here, the Maxima serves as the basis for the luxo-oriented Infiniti I30. Roomier than the old Maxima, this model finds nobody complaining about the accommodations.
For 1998, the Maxima receives some minor exterior changes that further fiddle with the front and rear end. The big news, however, is with the addition of side-impact airbags to the optional equipment lists of the SE and GLE, making the Maxima the smart choice for safety conscious buyers who enjoy driving.
We're fans of the Maxima, even though its styling is still growing on us. This car is held up as the gold standard every time journalists mention sport sedans. The smooth and powerful engines work in concert with the supple chassis and suspension to give drivers the opportunity to take full advantage of challenging backcountry roads. If this sounds like your cup of tea, this car will make you happy.