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New Car/Review


Nissan Maxima SE(2000)

SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

Nissan Full Line Video footage (8:30)

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 23,649
Price As Tested                                    $ 26,746
Engine Type              DOHC 24-valve 3.0 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
Engine Size                                 182 cid/2988 cc
Horsepower                                   222 @ 6400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               217 @ 4000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  108.3"/70.3"/190.5"
Transmission                              Five-speed manual
Curb Weight                                     3227 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                  P215/55R16 H-rated all-season
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                               Five-percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.31


EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                            21/27/24          
0-60 MPH                                        7.0 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          15.5 seconds @ 94.0 mph
Top speed                                           135 mph

* Sequential multi-point fuel injection

The buy-out of Nissan by Renault didn't seem to have an effect on the way Nissan upgraded the 2000 Maxima, says Bob Hagin. Matt says it's wise for Renault to not mess with a good thing that just got better.)

MATT - This is Nissan's fifth generation Maxima and while it's always been a good performer, it now comes with more ponies than ever. The first Maxima came in '81 and carried a 2.4 liter in-line six cylinder borrowed from the classic 240Z sports coupe. This new Maxima was created at "Nissan Design," its styling "think-tank" in Southern California. The '00 Maxima comes in three degrees of trim. There's the GXE (basic), GLE (Luxury) and our tester, the SE, which is the sportiest of the bunch. The new car has a longer wheelbase for great tracking, and it's 30 percent stiffer for better handling. It's also up on horsepower for better performance. BOB - The transverse-mounted engine is still a 3.0 liter, twin-cam V6 with four-valves per cylinder, but the horsepower is now at 222, an increase of 32, and torque is now 217 pound/feet, which is also an increase. These new modifications give greater power from 3000 all the way up to 6500 revs. The company achieved the extra power boost by going to a variable-length induction system and a slick variable-capacity muffler. The muffler uses a valve to close off one of the two tailpipes under 2000 rpm, then opens it to increase power from that point for more middle and high-speed power. MATT - All that new stuff increases the performance considerably over last year's Maxima. The engine is very smooth under acceleration even in the highest gear. And since our test car was the sporty SE, it featured four-wheel disc brakes with larger front rotors this year, P215/5516 H-rated all-season tires and an a faster responding anti-lock braking system due to a 16-bit computer, up from last year's 8-bit. BOB - Matt, I'd like to see four-wheel disc and ABS standard on all production vehicles. Our tester had the transmission of choice for me: a five-speed manual. The automatic would have added another $500 to the window sticker, but I'm sure that the four-speed automatic will be the gearbox of choice for most Maxima buyers, MATT - The instruments on our sporty SE-trimmed Maxima test car are pretty slick, too. The tachometer and speedometer are white-faced analog gauges that change to black with luminous white numbers at night. Our car also had some interesting options. The "Comfort & Convenience Package" was on the window sticker at $559 and added a one-touch power sunroof, eight-way power driver's seat and the Homelink garage door opener system which comes in very handy when the weather gets rude. Our car also had a superb seven-speaker Bose sound system with 200 watts of power that tacked on $899. The front seats have a new design as well, with more side bolstering for better hold when the ride gets "sporting." BOB - An SE option I think would appeal to some Maxima buyers is the P225/50VR17 all-season performance tires mounted on sports-style polished aluminum wheels. They're a little on the "glitzy" side, but they're great for showing off those big 11-inch disc brakes. Nissan still charges extra for floor mats, but I think they make good bargaining chips for Nissan salespeople. MATT - For a quasi-performance car, the mileage numbers are pretty good, too. During my test time, I got around 24 MPG in overall driving. The EPA numbers are 21 around town and 27 on the highway. Actually these are impressive for a car that weights a little over 3200 pounds. BOB - Nissan was the first Japanese vehicle into the American market, Matt. They were called "Datsuns" back then and the sedan, the Model 1000, was first shown at the L.A. Imported Car Show in '58. It was homely as a mud fence and rode like it was on square wheels. Over the years, I had to work on quite a few of them. The most fun of the bunch, in my opinion, was the 2000 Roadster of the mid to late '60s. MATT - I've seen ads for those early cars, Dad. They were "artist's renderings" and the guys who drew them certainly had vivid and fanciful imaginations.