I bought my 97 SE with a 5 speed manual trans in 2006 with approximately 90K miles. The car appealed to me for a variety of reasons: silky 3.0 liter V6, plush creature comforts, impressive factory Bose unit and the relative ease of finding a reasonably priced variant with a proper 3rd pedal. I certainly indulged in a bit of wrench time - Koni struts, Eibach springs, Centerforce clutch, front/rear Brembo cross drilled rotors and a few Stillen add-ons - that greatly increased the pleasure of being behind the wheel, but the car was a solid, quick-ish workhorse even with the OEM equipment. Be mindful of rust and leaks (oil, coolant, etc.), but I'll miss the old girl when I trade her in this week
Ready availability of manual transmission, broad torque band, Bose stereo, relative ease of repairs, low overall maintenance costs.
Better overall drainage, particularly out of the rear wheel wells. Stiffer stock suspension for those who dabble in a bit of spirited commuting.
An amazingly reliable car after 210,000 miles and 17 years of service. It is dependable and has never let me down or left me stranded. I bought my 1997 Maxima SE about 17 years ago and it has been the most reliable car I've ever owned. It is super easy to service, replacement parts are inexpensive and the engine/transmission still run flawless. With 209,000 miles it still cruises quietly down the highway and gets about 25-26mpg on highway trips. The motor is smooth and the transmission shifts perfectly.
I frequently see many of the 4th Generation Maximas still on the road. If you can find a rust-free one that has been well maintained I think it's a good bet as a used car.
My favorite feature:
NO TIMING BELT.
These belts expensive to change and the Nissan Maxima engine doesn't have one.
The position of the Oil drain plug and engine oil filter are my other favorite feature.
I can change the oil in less than 20 minutes without jacking up the car or climbing underneath.
I bought my Max with 42k miles in 2001 off a lease from a single previous owner. Almost 10 yr later it is still going strong with 234k miles on it! Yes it has issues with the sunroof leaking, and things that just go wrong with a car with its age but overall I am in awe at how good the engine still is. I bought this after a short stint with a 1989 maxima (my first car) which I loved and have no regrets. Every time I go looking at a newer ride I just cant justify the payments and contently crank up my trusty maxima and go about my business. This thing moved with me from Atl to TX (2 trips back to ATL and back) been to FL, DC, AL, MS, NC, SC and the states in between with no issues!
Quick to get up and go, smooth but sporty ride and the fact that it just simply refuses to die. In fact I think I'm going to redo the leather seats.
Learn how to die Maxine! In all honesty my windshield cracks too easily. I'm on my 3rd. This thing should have come with a built-in police radar/laser jammer lol.
I loved this car from day 1, and I still love this car on day 4,655. It has always been a reliable car, never let us down. Nissan may not have built the most beautifully designed Maxima in 1997, but it sure built a fun to drive, sturdy one. We finally decided to buy a new one, and let this one go to someone else. We couldn't buy any other car. We bought a 2010 Maxima.
Nissan built a fun to drive, ridiculously reliable vehicle in 1997. We are the original owners of this 13 yo car, and never had any major issues. It has always performed, never let us down, lots of power under the hood, and there are absolutely no complaints here. It was the most eye popping exterior design year for the Maxima, but it has to be one of their best in durability. I have loved it from day 1, and I still love it on day 4,655. We finally decided to get a new car. So what did we buy? Another Maxima! And it will be ours for the next 15 years.