The 2002 Nissan Maxima is a powerful sedan that can seat up to five passengers. It features an appealing cache of standard features, such as one-touch power windows, a universal remote transmitter, and automatic on/off headlights.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Nissan Maxima GXE, Nissan Maxima SE, Nissan Maxima GLE
The 2002 Nissan Maxima got a new 3.5-liter, V-6 engine, xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, clear-lens taillights, and revised front and rear fasciae. The sport-tuned SE models got a new five-speed manual transmission, revised exterior trim, and an optional GPS system.
Exterior features for the 2002 Nissan Maxima GXE includes: 16-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, remote trunk release, rear defogger, remote keyless entry, and power mirrors and windows. The SE trim adds a rear spoiler, sport-tuned suspension, and replaces the 16-inch alloy wheels with 17-inch alloy wheels.
This sedan shares the same platform with the Infiniti I30 luxury sedan. It is long, wide, and has a 108.3-inch wheelbase. The front end is aggressive and bold with the new grille and xenon HID headlights. Its aerodynamic silhouette flows over a rigid chassis with a sharply angled windshield, flared fenders, and side-sill spoilers. Cargo capacity is 15.1 cubic feet and the trunk is easy to load, but bulky packages will not fit because the trunk hinges intrude on the cargo area.
The interior features of the 2002 Nissan Maxima includes: premium cloth upholstery, bucket front seats with an eight-way power driver seat with manually-adjustable lumbar support, cruise control, tilting steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise controls, universal remote transmitter, leather trim on the shift knob, air conditioning, and a 60/40-split rear bench seat. The SE trim adds leather accents on the steering wheel. The GLE trim replaces the cloth upholstery with leather and adds simulated wood trim to the dashboard. It also adds: climate control, a four-way power front passenger seat, and a navigation system.
The spacious interior features an eight-way power driver’s seat and both front seats are comfortable and supportive. The automatic shifter has a titanium-colored gate to match the door handles. The audio and temperature knobs look alike and the navigation system has numerous controls that can be confusing. The display screen for the navigation system is mounted from the ceiling, which can be distracting. The front seat passengers have ample room for head and legs and the center armrest adjusts for optimal comfort. Rear seat passengers have good leg and foot room, but hip room is going to be tight for three adults.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Nissan Maxima has a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that makes 255 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque. The SE mates the engine with a five-speed manual transmission and GXE and GLE mate it with a four-speed automatic transmission, which is also optional for the SE.
The V-6 engine provides plenty of power for good acceleration, even with the automatic transmission. The automatic shifted smoothly, but the manual was noise and spasmodic. The steering is responsive, but the 40-foot turning circle makes the Maxima less easy to maneuver in tight spaces. This sedan feels slightly unsettled in hard cornering. The manual transmission tended to pull to the right in rapid acceleration, a phenomenon called torque steer. Overall, ride quality is good, but the SE stumbles over bumps that are easily absorbed by the other models and vice versus.
Standard safety features for the 2002 Nissan Maxima includes: antilock four-wheel disc brakes, dual front airbags, brake assist, engine immobilizer, ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes, xenon HID headlights, electronic Brake force distribution, and emergency interior trunk release.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Maxima GXE: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Nissan Maxima SE: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Nissan Maxima GLE: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Impressive V-6 engine
- Roomy interior
- Sport car-like agility
You Won't Like
- Subpar material quality
- SE has a rough ride
Sport-car-like power combined with near-luxury sedan comfort.
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