Used 1998 Nissan Maxima Review

Edmunds expert review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.