Midsize car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $3,600*

1995 Nissan Maxima SE

1995 Nissan Maxima GLE

1995 Nissan Maxima interior

1995 Nissan Maxima interior

1995 Nissan Maxima SE

  • Acceleration
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat comfort

If you’re searching for a midsize sedan that reaches above the run-of-the-mill offerings, a Maxima of any 1995-99 vintage is definitely worth a trial run.


Nissan’s largest passenger car was redesigned for arrival as an early ’95 model. Front-wheel drive, V6 power, and 4-door sedan styling continued, but the new design was more rounded on a longer wheelbase. Model choices now numbered three, with the addition of a luxury GLE. Also available were a base GXE sedan, plus a sporty SE with a rear spoiler, firmer suspension, and wider tires. All Maximas shared a new aluminum 3.0-liter V6 with dual-overhead camshafts, rated at 190 horsepower. The GXE and SE came with a 5-speed manual transmission. An electronically controlled 4-speed automatic was optional on those models and standard on the GLE. Antilock brakes were optional on all except the 5-speed GXE.

Yearly Updates

1996 Maxima
The GLE edition added a 4-way power seat for the front passenger, which was also newly optional in the SE. Also, a large cupholder was installed in the central console.
1997 Maxima
Maximas earned a facelift for 1997, led by a fresh front end with a different grille and brighter headlights. Rear ends wore new taillights and a redesigned trunklid.
1998 Maxima
Front side airbags are made available on SE and GLE versions of the Maxima.
1999 Maxima
Available traction control was the main addition as Nissan’s flagship headed into the final year of its current design. All models also got minor trim revisions and a standard antitheft engine immobilizer. A redesigned, more-powerful Maxima debuted in spring 1999, as an early 2000 model.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All Maximas have the same engine: a 3.0-liter, twin-cam V6 that develops 190 horsepower. A 5-speed manual gearbox has been standard on the GXE and SE, with 4-speed automatic optional. The GLE came only with the automatic transmission.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 190
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 205
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Performance leads off the car’s strong points, ranking as little short of stunning. We timed a GXE with the automatic transmission at 7.9 seconds to 60 mph. Tromp the gas pedal to the floor, and a Maxima nearly leaps ahead. Only modest engine roar is heard on such occasions, as the Maxima is otherwise quiet-running. Passing power also is impressive, but the automatic unit is slow to downshift for passing at times, and occasionally shifts harshly. As for fuel economy, we averaged 24.1 mpg with one GXE and 21.4 mpg with another.

Maxima offers a comfortable and stable ride, precise steering, and crisp handling. Body lean is noticeable in high-speed lane changes and when cornering swiftly, but the Maxima maintains a tight grip on the road surface.

Maxima feels really big inside–more so than its outside appearance suggests. With a little more head room and rear leg room than its predecessor, the latest Maxima is more accommodating for tall passengers. The wide trunk has a flat floor that provides plenty of cargo space. Instruments and controls are well-positioned and easy to see and use while driving. The low dashboard permits a great view of the road ahead. Stereo and climate controls are in a slanted panel that’s easy to reach. Round analog gauges are large.


Model Tested: 1996 Nissan Maxima SE automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 6

Total: 52


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.3 187.7 69.7 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.5 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.1 37.4 43.9 34.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Maxima 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 3


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 122
Injury 107
Theft 509

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: The original automatic-transmission (model F04) shift solenoids allowed slipping and premature wear. (1997)
Brake noise
Description: Rear brakes rattle on rough road. (1995)
Brake noise
Description: Groaning from the rear brakes is caused by the parking brakes not fully releasing, requiring new brake cables and pads. (1995-99)
Brake noise
Description: Groaning from rear brakes at slow speeds may be due to binding parking brake cable. 1995-99)
Description: The clutch may slip when accelerating hard in 4th or 5th gear due to a problem with the friction material. (1995)
Engine knock
Description: Spark knock or ping may result from a defective onboard computer. (1995-97)
Engine noise
Description: Noise from the front of the engine may be caused by excessive play in the timing chain for which a new tensioner and chain guide are required. (1995-96)
Hard starting
Description: Hard starting, stalling, or stumbling under load could be caused by corrosion of the coolant sensor. (1995-96)
Hard starting
Description: If the engine does not start on the first attempt, the engine may crank very slowly on the second attempt because of a problem with the engine-control computer. (1995)
Rough idle
Description: Several problems (no-start, no A/C, rough running, etc.) can be traced to broken wires in the engine compartment where the harness bends near the right strut tower. (1995-97)
Rough idle
Description: Rough running engine accompanied by check engine light may require revised powertrain control module. (1997)

Recall History

Description: One of the diodes in the alternator may be damaged and could fail, leading to an electrical short which could melt the plastic housing.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.