2003 Nissan Maxima Overview

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2003 Nissan Maxima Overview

It seems strange that Nissan is competing with itself, but the mid-size sports luxury Maxima sedan is being outsold by the larger, yet less expensive and more stylish Altima. The Maxima offers more sports-oriented features in an effort to appeal to families with parents looking for fun behind the wheel. The 2003 Maxima doesn't change much, since it got new power and features last year. Powered by a 3.5-liter, 255-hp V6 engine, it is offered in three trim levels -- GXE, SE, and GLE, with the latter being the most fully equipped. A 4-speed auto tran is standard in all but the SE, which features a 6-speed manual.

Xenon headlights, ABS brakes, Brake Assist, dual front airbags are some of the safety features in the 2003 Maxima, and this year side impact bags are standard in the GLE, while optional in all other models. Traction control is optional in both SE and GLE with the auto tran. Other options on the SE and GLE include a sunroof and navigation system. The 2003 Maximum SE, along with its side sills, 5-spoke wheels with performance tires, sports suspension, rear spoiler, and leather-wrapped wheel, gets a new Titanium Package. This adds the side airbags, chrome wheels, a compass, titanium accents, and a 6-CD changer. While the base GXE comes with cruise control, keyless entry, and full power features, including a power driver's seat, the GXE expands on this with leather seats, memory settings, power passenger seat, automatic climate control, and foglights.

The 2003 Maxima is trying its hardest to draw a more upscale customer away from the Altima. Owners love all the standard features and the xenon headlights. With a 108-inch wheelbase, the 2003 Maxima offers more leg and headroom than the Camry, and the rear seats split-fold for extra cargo room. By far the biggest attraction is the powerful engine and sporty feel. Unfortunately, drivers bemoan the wide turning radius, the need for premium gas combined with a low fuel economy, and the high price. Paint tends to chip, oxygen sensors fail early, and the Nissan customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

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