2002 Nissan Maxima Consumer Review: A Distinctive Car Worth the Qu

2002 Nissan Maxima - Consumer Review

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3 of 13 people found this review helpful
A Distinctive Car Worth the Quirks and Shortcomings
By thos on


2002 Nissan Maxima SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)


I have an 02 Maxima automatic with 70,000 miles bought almost 3 years ago with 45,000 miles.
Mine burns oil, one to two quarts between changes every 4,000 miles.
I also bought an 03 Altima V6 and it does the same thing, leading me to believe that this is a very common problem.
However, the cars are cheap to buy used and a quart or two of oil between changes is less than $10, so why bother putting in new rings?

I ran regular gas for the first 2 1/2 years--a mistake.
The drivetrain, including the transmission, works better with premium.

The solid rear axle in this car makes for inferior handling compared to the Altima, but the latter lacks the "elan" of the older Maxima in my view

Best Features

This is a sporty sedan, at least in looks, driving position, etc. Even though it's 9 years old, the styling of subsequent models is so different that this version is an "endpoint" design that has not been eclipsed by its successor. I think this may make it "collectible," which means it's worth keeping and maintaining despite its faults. I've done spreadsheets on the difference between buying a new high MPG smaller car and keeping this one and keeping this lovable beast is hands down cheaper than buying a smaller (and probably less crashworthy), ostensibly more economical machine. Other favorite features: exhaust tone; leather interior; and classic Cord-like front wheel drive!

Worst Features

Well, you really can't improve a car that's been discontinued but if that were possible I'd suggest better rings installed at the factory; independent rear suspension; and better quality control re the automatic transmission--mine slips sometimes under moderate acceleration. Also, the car could use larger side mirrors and a (much) smaller turning circle: my son-in-law's 03 Odyssey van can literally run circles inside the Maxima in this respect.
Recommend (3) (10)

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