Bought my Maxima in 2011 with 106000 car runs great and fast when using premium fuel.
Mine has needed strus since the day I bought it. I have put 27K on it and i'm putting KYB strus on. My mechanic said the monroe struts are too weak for a cra of this performance level.
Hard to believe my car burns 2 qts every 1k miles.
With that said this car runs strong will fry the tires in first and second gear. I have replaced the factory stereo (that was junk)
The interior is roomy and trunk
I love the Zeon headlights most cars from 2002 don not have these in this price range I have replaced the radiator because the plastic tank developed a pin hole Still have original clutch
6 speed manual
I hope Nissan has addressed the oil consumption because they still use this engine in a lot of vehicles
Ok it's been 5 years since we purchased our gunmetal grey 2002 Maxima w/6 speed manual. The car had roughly 78k on it at the time certified pre-owned vehicle from West Covina Nissan. Now has well over 160k fast, hard miles. Maintenance has been: Front brakes three times, goes thru tires a lot. Front right wheel assembly and hub became loose. Replaced clutch as well. Sound system broke. Power steering leak. Uses 2.5 quarts of oil every month or so, which is a lot. This is very common as are the individual coil packs failing (there's 6), and O2 sensors (4 I believe),Catalytic converter failed. These days my Maxima is firing on only two cylinders and we have thrown in the towel. Car still runs!
Some of my favorite features are the power and torque which are both about as much as you'd want thru the front tires really. It was great for the first few years, but these days the car drives like its in limp mode due to the aforementioned issues. I also like the HID headlights, power seats and sunroof (which works sometimes), 17"alloy wheels. Great handling for a front driver. Love the limited slip diff, I can lay down two stripes forever in this car. But most of all, aside from all those things is the fact that this car literally took this abuse. We drove this car with most of these issues for many miles. It says something about its absolute durability, down to the last two cylinders.
Lose the wing on the SE..it's front wheel drive and doesn't need a wing.
Also, I'm fairly certain that everyone hates the stock 6 cd changer, it sounds great but looks cheap and will likely malfunction. Don't put your favorite cd's in there, you'll never see them again! The stock suspension is awesome but it can rattle itself to pieces in the SE model...it might be just a tad too stiff for me. Like Edmunds recommends, the GLE model has the best balance for the Maxima unless you need a manual transmission. Which I do. Besides that, I would say this car is very reliable so long as you are aware of these few common issues, and that not all Maximas are plagued.
OK, I am back. OIL CONSUMPTION caused me to lose the engine. Even after caring for the car like a baby. Always made sure it had the correct oil level. Replaced the engine, car runs great with quirks. Should have kept my '94 Maxima. Nissan blew it with this model year. Just an fyi not all have this problem. If you're interested buying this car, look at the tail pipe. If the pipe is heavy dark black color. Great chance it's burning oil. At that point (NEXT!!!) keep it moving. Also I suggest premium gas. It makes a difference
Power, 6 spd gear box. Can leave most people if you know how to shift.
This is a great car. Mechanically, it is unbeatable by any other car. The only re-occurring issue with these cars is that one side of the Bose 6 CD in- dash CD Stereo stops working at some point. It is only does this when using the CD player; the other modes still produce great sound. Some cars have the heater/AC blower motor go out around 100,000 miles, but it is easy to fix. The car maneuvers great and has great power for its time. The gas mileage is good, but since I have a 6- speed manual, I drive a little faster and quicker (Ok maybe that was an understatement) my gas mileage is a little less that average. I get about 18-19 mpg in the city
The 6-speed manual transmission! Bose premium radio sounds excellent!