Midsize car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,000 – $6,600*

2000 Nissan Maxima SE

2000 Nissan Maxima SE

2001 Nissan Maxima interior

2001 Nissan Maxima GXE

2001 Nissan Maxima SE

  • Acceleration
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
  • Manual shift action

Quiet and athletic, the Maxima offers an appealing blend of performance, handling, and ride comfort, with refinement and amenities approaching the near-luxury class. Nissan’s top sedan fares well against such tough adversaries as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.


Introduced in spring 1999, the redesigned Maxima displayed dramatically revised styling along with more power and additional features. An extra 2 inches added to the wheelbase yielded slightly more interior and trunk volume. Under the hood once again was a 3.0-liter V6, but packing 32 more horsepower than before–raised to 222. The new model had a 100,000-mile maintenance interval, too. Three versions went on sale: base GXE and sporty SE with a 5-speed manual or extra-cost 4-speed automatic transmission, and top-line GLE with automatic. Antilock braking was standard, and front side airbags were newly optional. Traction control was an option only for the SE and GLE. Sporty extras on the SE included a rear spoiler and a firmer suspension, with the option of 17-inch wheels. Otherwise, 16-inch tires were standard on the SE and GLE and optional on the GXE, which came with standard 15-inch rubber. Leather upholstery was standard in the GLE, optional in the SE. An antitheft engine immobilizer was part of the standard remote keyless-entry system.

Yearly Updates

2001 Maxima
A special 20th Anniversary model debuted this year, equipped with the same 227-horsepower version of the V6 that was used in the Infiniti I30. The 20th Anniversary Maxima was essentially an SE with Leather Trim and Comfort & Convenience options, including 17-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, bronze-finish headlamp lenses, lower-body “aero” components, and aluminum trim. Front side airbags now were part of a new Meridian Edition option package, which also included heated seats. Steering-wheel audio controls were standard on the SE and GLE, optional for the GXE.
2002 Maxima
’02 Maximas got a 255-hp 3.5-liter V6 with 33 hp more than the 3.0 it replaced. A new 6-speed manual transmission and moderately revised styling were the other significant changes this year.
2003 Maxima
Front side airbags become standard for the GLE; they remained optional for SE and unavailable on GXE. A new Titanium Edition Package for SEs included the front side airbags, plus premium Bose audio with in-dash CD changer, compass, special wheels, titanium-colored interior trim, and available polished Titanium paint. Maxima was redesigned for ’04.
2004 Maxima
There were no changes for the Maxima in 2004.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 3.0-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 engine produced 222 horsepower, driving either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. ’02 Maximas got a 255-hp 3.5-liter V6–with 33 hp more than the 3.0 it replaced–and a new 6-speed manual transmission.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 222-227
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 217
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 246
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Redesigning improved what was already a smooth, swift, and polished performer. A Maxima corners with grippy assurance and only mild body lean. The sporty SE is a tad crisper thanks to its sport suspension, but all Maximas are agile and the driver benefits from quick, informative steering. On the negative side, the SE’s tauter suspension results in a somewhat choppy ride over bumps that other models comfortably absorb. Braking is quick and consistent, with excellent control.

A responsive powertrain yields 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.9 seconds. In fact, the V6 feels truly muscular, delivering fine punch off the line and strong passing power. Test Maximas have averaged 20-22.5 mpg, but premium fuel is recommended. Automatic transmissions are free of lurching in full-throttle downshifts–a malady suffered by earlier Maximas. Manual-transmission models suffer from imprecise clutch takeup and slightly stiff shift action. Unless the front wheels are perfectly straight too, there’s some annoying steering-wheel tub during hard takeoffs.

Although the practical limit is four grownups inside, each has a bit more wiggle room than in the past. Taller adults get enough head clearance beneath the optional moonroof, and a more upright rear seatback improves comfort on long trips. Still, 6-footers need to ride knees-up in back if a taller person is occupying the front seat ahead. Visibility is good except directly to the rear. Gauges and controls are simple and inviting, though look-alike knobs for audio volume and temperature could confuse. Rearward seat travel is good; power seat controls easy to reach. The trunk has a wide, low opening.


Model Tested: 2002 Nissan Maxima SE

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 - 5
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 8
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 6

Total: 58


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.3 190.5 70.3 56.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.1 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 37.2 44.8 35.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 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 - 4


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

Collision 96
Injury 94
Theft 129

Trouble Spots

Cold-starting problems
Description: The engine may idle too slowly or stall when first started (below 40 degrees F). Reprogramming of the powertrain-control module is required. (2000)
Engine misfire
Description: Bad mass airflow sensor can cause lack of power, acceleration. New MAF and reprogramming computer should fix the problem. (2000)
Audio system
Description: Popping and crackling noises in the audio system are often due to cell phones plugged into the cigarette lighter. Using a different power source or moving the phone often helps. (2000)
Description: The headliner may sag near the sunroof because the Velcro does not hold sufficiently. Additional clips were being installed under warranty. (2000)
Vehicle noise
Description: Noises from the right front strut require replacement of the rubber spring seat. (2000)

Recall History

2001-02 Maxima
Description: The pin on the lower control arm could break, causing a knocking sound and abnormal steering.
2001-2003 Maxima
Description: Passenger-side frontal airbag inflator may rupture upon deployment and spray metal fragments at the passenger.
2002 Maxima
Description: Due to the incorrect design of the accelerator-pedal stopper, the pedal can “overtravel,” causing the check-engine light to come on and/or reducing engine speed.

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.