I drove the SE model for almost 5 years. Much better built than my 1999 Camry. Good power and handling. The car was reliable but far from perfect. First it was one of the noisiest cars from the wind I have ever driven, wind leaked in from everywhere. Second was the 1 wheel drive. The front right tire drove the whole car. Third was the steering radius, the longest of any car made.premium unleaded is not necessary., no pinging with regular and the same gas mileage.
I drove a '90 Maxima to 175k w/ no major issues. I currently drive an '06 Altima SE-R. I was confident that the purchase of a well maintained '03 Maxima GLE wouldn't disappoint. Boy was I right. Very handsome design, plenty of power under the hood, and very well appointed for a car in it's price range. The car just feels solid and well engineered. I am slightly biased, but it's a car I highly recommend based on past and present Nissan ownership.
The cars were comfortable, powerful, felt like they were glued to the road, or on rails. The sound system was great, I had two, I think a 2000 and 2003 GLE, and I loved them. I got a few $800 or $900 repairs when the mileage was in the 1403. The repairs were the coils an an oil leak.
No complaints except for the typical radio problems. Other then that I love this car, I have owned a few Nissan cars and trucks and this is bye far the best. Got my first Maxima 03 SE with 174,000 and its still like a new car. Love it. And not to mention only paid $1,800. Best deal ever.
I've always liked the 5th gen Maxima. I finally had the chance to get one from California. Purchased August 2014 with 50,000 original miles from an elderly couple that took real good care of it. I live in Colorado and book the trip to Dublin CA. Drove the car back and got 32mpg, she did great! One issue the radio had to be replaced and the power coming from the engine...WOW! So far I've added 12,000 miles driving for work out of state and I'm happy I bought the car. This car was immaculate inside and out.