Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,500 – $16,800*

2005 Nissan Maxima

2005 Nissan Maxima

2005 Nissan Maxima

2006 Nissan Maxima

  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • Steering feel

Maxima stands apart from its Altima corporate sibling in styling, size, and features. It also feels more substantial and looks more upscale. But Maxima costs more, too–close to some premium midsize sedans, in fact. It has the performance to compete in that class, but not the high-end trappings. A V6 Altima costs less than Maxima, and satisfies the driver just as much.


Nissan’s flagship sedan got only minor changes for 2005. Maxima shared an underskin design with Nissan’s Altima, which was slightly smaller and cost less. Maxima came in sporty SE and luxury-oriented SL models. Both had a 265-hp 3.5-liter V6. Altima offered this same engine, but the Maxima’s was tuned for extra horsepower. The SE came with a 6-speed manual transmission, which Nissan says had improved shift action for ’05. Optional for SE and standard for SL was a 5-speed automatic with manual shift gate. Both models included antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, curtain side airbags, and front torso side airbags. Traction control was standard. An antiskid system was optional with the automatic transmission. The SL had 17-inch wheels, the SE 18s. Both models came with Nissan’s Skyview roof–fixed tinted-glass panels over the front and rear seats. A conventional power sunroof was available. Also available were a navigation system, heated front seats, and an Elite Package with full-length center console, twin rear bucket seats instead of a 3-passenger bench, and power rear-window sunshade. Leather upholstery was standard for SL, optional for SE.

Yearly Updates

2006 Maxima
There were no changes for the 2006 Maxima.
2007 Maxima
Nissan freshened its flagship sedan with revised interior and exterior styling and a new transmission for 2007. Sporty 3.5 SE and luxury-oriented 3.5 SL Maximas were offered, both with a 255-hp V6. For ’07, Maxima swapped 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions for a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); the CVT had a manual shift gate with six preselected gear ratios. Also for 2007, rear obstacle detection was a new option and keyless starting was a new standard feature.
2008 Maxima
The 2008 Nissan Maxima offered a new Platinum Edition Package. The newly available Platinum Edition Package included driver memory features, driver’s seat power lumbar support, auto-dimming outside mirrors, Xenon headlights, a hands-free cell-phone link, and a heated steering wheel.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All Maximas enjoy Nissan’s smooth 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. A 5-speed automatic is optional on SE models, and the only transmission available on SLs. A 6-speed manual is standard on SE models. For ’07, Maxima swaps 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions for a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); the CVT has a manual shift gate with six preselected gear ratios.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 265
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 255
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
CVT automatic

Road Test

Even with the automatic transmission, Maxima is strong on takeoff and lively from midrange speeds. Our test SE did 7.1 sec 0-60 mph. Shifts are velvety, responsive.

Fuel economy is decent, too. Test automatic-transmission SE averaged 20.6 mpg in driving slightly biased toward highway miles. But note that Nissan recommends more-expensive premium-grade fuel.

Maxima does a decent job of balancing ride and handling. Both models cope well with bumps and ruts. SL has slight comfort edge over SE, thanks to softer suspension, more-forgiving 17-inch tires.

The steering annoys with artificial feel and nonlinear turn-in response, however. Maximas are otherwise balanced, predictable, and more agile than most midsize sedans. A sport-tuned suspension gives SE a tad more control vs. SL in quick direction changes. Braking in either model is strong and stable.

The V6 makes a pleasant, subdued snarl at full throttle, but just a modest hum at cruising pace. Wind noise well is tamed, but tire thrum intrudes some on coarse pavement.

There’s ample space for six-footers on supportive, well-shaped seats, but taller occupants may wish for more rearward seat travel.

Two adults is the practical limit in back with the bench seat, the maximum with Elite option’s twin rear buckets.

The trunk’s opening is too small for bulky boxes, but compact strut-type trunklid hinges don’t steal space or endanger luggage. The split rear-bench seatbacks fold down to accommodate longer parcels, though the Elite Package provides only a narrow trunk pass-through.


Model Tested: 2006 Maxima SL with Elite Package and automatic transmission

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 - 7
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 5


Value - 5

Total: 57


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.2 193.5 71.7 58.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.5 20.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 37.1 43.6 36.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Maxima 4-door sedan w/front side airbags 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 4


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

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The anti-lock brake system may activate during normal braking when it is not required due to corrosion damaging the rear wheel speed sensor(s). (2004-07)
Cold-starting problems
Description: Some early-build cars may be hard to start after cold soak (e.g. sitting over night), due to low fuel pressure requiring a revised fuel pump. (2004)
Cold-starting problems
Description: In very cold weather (10 degrees F or below) following a cold soak, the starter may not work after a short trip requiring replacement of the intelligent power distribution module. (2004-06)
Engine noise
Description: Strange noises when the engine is warm and idling may be due to ineffective fuel line dampers. (2002-07)
Hard starting
Description: Hard starting and/or misfires due to damaged ignition coils is caused by a severely damaged or broken battery ground cable at the transmission. (2004-05)
Oil leak
Description: Oil leak at the oil cooler adapter (oil filter adapter) due to bad gasket. (2003-06)
Description: The power lumbar support mechanism may fail. (2007-08)
Timing belt
Description: A buzzing or whining sound from the front of the 4.0L V6 engine is likely due to the timing chain(s) which should be replaced along with its tensioner(s). (2004-07)
Description: The power windows may quit working if the battery is disconnected or if the window fuse blows requiring reprogramming the windows. (2004-08)
Transmission problems
Description: Harsh shifts between first and second may be due to poor electrical contact at the line pressure solenoid, requiring a solder repair or solenoid replacement. (2003-04)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light will come on due to misfiring cylinder(s) caused by faulty fuel injectors. (2004)

Recall History

2005 Maxima
Description: Child seat anchor did not conform to federal standards.
Replacement anchors were replaced by dealers.
2005-06 Maxima
Description: Cars with Driver Preferred Package recalled for wiring fault that could result in fire. Replacement wiring was installed by dealers.
2006 Maxima
Description: Certain Maximas may have been built with a faulty rear frame assembly that could break, resulting in a loss of control and potential crash.
Potentially affected vehicles were inspected by dealers. Replacement assemblies were installed as necessary.
2007 Maxima w/intelligent key
Description: During an inspection of some vehicles at the assembly plant, it was found that the steering wheel was locked with the ignition knob in the “off” position but the vehicle’s transmission wasn’t in the “park” position. Dealers will inspect and replace the steering wheel lock assembly free of charge.

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.