1997 Nissan Maxima Consumer Review: The Max

1997 Nissan Maxima - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

123 Total Reviews

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Build Quality
Reliability Value
The Max
By Doug on


1997 Nissan Maxima SE 4dr Sedan


I've had my Max for 4 years and have enjoyed nearly every minute. Few options exist for those needing midsize room but enjoy rowing through the gears in the twisties. With the 5-speed the Max is an economical solution for those craving a 5-Series. The engine is strong and reliable, even 8 years after it was born. The handling was sloppy and ride height unnaturally tall. Replacing the stock suspension with Koni shocks and Eibach springs, and later a short throw shifter, made the Max an exciting car to drive. Comfortable on long commutes and thrilling through the turns, I love this car. She has it all, performance, fit & finish, reliability, and enduring good looks.

Best Features

The engine and transmission. 190 HP doesn't sound like much, but this car is light and the 5-speed allows you to pull every ounce of performance out of it. Even with 168,000 miles, this car still puts a smile on my face (especially that 2nd gear pull).

Worst Features

The "sport suspension" on the SE was devoid of sport. Softly sprung and awkwardly tall, it detracts from an otherwise “four-door sports car.” However, aftermarket solutions abound.
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