By on May 13, 2021

In contrast to the Try Very Hard Japanese sedans of the Nineties, the early and mid-2000s period was a time for Japanese manufacturers to rest upon their laurels. It was a time to save some cash, and put in a bit less effort than in the tiring decade prior.

And lucky you, today you get to pick one to buy.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2021

1986 Nissan Maxima wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven as Toyota kept the Cressida a rear-wheel-drive first cousin to the sporty Supra (sales of that car continued here well into the 1990s), Nissan moved the formerly-Z-based Maxima to a front-wheel-drive platform for the 1985 model year. The new, roomier Maxima continued to be loaded with futuristic electronic gadgetry and a Z-Car engine, and sales of the wagon version continued all the way through the 1988 model year. Here’s a well-traveled ’86 Maxima wagon in a Denver-area car graveyard. (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2020

40th Anniversary Maxima. Image: Nissan

Nissan’s Maxima turns 40 this year.

“This year” is a tricky statement, of course, since the year of production isn’t necessarily the same as the model year, but whether you mark it from the beginning of production in 1980 or the first model year in 1981, either way you slice it, the Maxima is hitting the big 4-0.

And Nissan is marking the milestone with a special edition package. Naturally.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2020

Image: Nissan

Nissan’s future will not see it become everything to everyone, and certainly not in all markets. The 2010s, and the market share-chasing, globe-straddling expansionism that characterized that decade’s car-buying orgy, are violently over.

Also soon to be over, apparently, is the Nissan Maxima’s gasoline-powered powertrain. (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2020

Today’s trio of sedans was suggested by an old MotorWeek review of the new-for-’89 Maxima. Let’s pit that fresh-faced midsizer against the more established Taurus and the more luxurious Mazda 929.

Which is worth a Buy?

(Read More…)

By on March 2, 2020

1987 Nissan Maxima in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Nissan Maxima of the 1980s remains one of my favorite Junkyard Finds, partly because it began the decade as a sporty rear-wheel-drive cousin to the Z-Car and ended it as a swanky front-wheel-drive pseudo-luxury machine… but mostly because these cars came stuffed full of the quirky futuristic technology that made Japanese cars so interesting during The Turbo Decade.

Here’s a high-mile ’87 Maxima I spotted in an East Bay self-service yard last month. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2018

2019 Nissan Maxima

As you may or may not know, invitations for press junkets often arrive quite some time in advance. So when Nissan sent the invite to drive the 2019 Maxima more than a month before the wraps came off the real thing in Los Angeles, I was excited.

See, I’ve always liked the idea of Maxima – a large, front-drive sedan endowed with a little bit of sportiness. Maybe it’s not the four-door sports car of yore, but surely it’s less sleepy than an Avalon, less generic than an Impala, and less in-your-face than a rear-drive Charger/300.

So, if the execution fell a bit short, and if the look grew a bit stale, well, maybe now is the perfect time for an update, I thought. After all, the smaller Altima is all-new. It seemed like the Maxima would be next in line for a full-zoot reboot, even though it launched a little less than four years ago.

(Read More…)

By on October 22, 2018

Image: Nissan

At Nissan, all eyes are on the vastly revamped 2019 Altima, currently trickling onto dealer lots with a revolutionary variable compression four-cylinder under some hoods and available all-wheel drive. A very different roll-out is underway north of the border.

All of the hubbub surrounding Nissan’s new midsizer doesn’t leave much oxygen in the room for the model’s slightly larger sibling, the Maxima. Confused in identity for about the past two decades, the Maxima doesn’t enter 2019 unchanged. There’s styling and content tweaks afoot, though you’ll have no trouble spotting the 2019 Maxima after its launch at the L.A. Auto Show next month.  (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2018

2017 Nissan Maxima

Nissan North America is recalling 215,124 vehicles in the United States and another 19,761 units in Canada due to an anti-lock brake pump defect that could pose a fire hazard. Affected models include the 2015-2017 Nissan Murano, 2016-2017 Nissan Maxima, 2017-2018 Nissan Pathfinder and 2017 Infiniti QX60.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report on the recall says a seal on the ABS actuator pump may leak brake fluid onto the control electronic circuit board, resulting in a malfunction. In such an instance, the ABS warning lamp should come on to warn the driver. If this notification goes unheeded, the fluid leak could eventually cause “an electrical short in the actuator circuit, which in rare instances, may lead to a fire.”  (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2018

Has it really been five years since I rented and tested the previous Nissan Maxima? Well, as Natalie Merchant once said about children, “At your age / in a string of days / the year is gone.” That less-than-maximum Max was, in my opinion anyway, the worst Maxima ever.

Is there anybody out there who expected anything more than mediocrity from the current Maxima, despite the in-your-face styling, despite that hugely evocative Super Bowl ad? I doubt it. The five-year gap between my last go-round with a big Nissan sedan shrinks to insignificance when compared to the three-decade gap that separates today and the introduction of the first (and last) first-rate automobile to bear this particular nameplate.

Here’s the good news: The new one’s better than the old one, and the one before that. It counts as a pleasant surprise in a business which is increasingly bereft of such consolations. All you need to appreciate this car is the proper perspective, which we’ll triangulate based on two historical points: the first-generation Datsun 810 “Maxima”, and the Renault Laguna.

(Read More…)

By on June 6, 2018

So far in the Crapwagon Garage QOTD series, we’ve covered hatchbacks, sedans, and pickup trucks. For the fourth installment in the series, we take the best qualities of all three of those previous vehicles.

What do you get when you affix a hatchback to a sedan, and add the covered rear bed area from a truck? A wagon, of course.

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2018

Car dealership, Image: VadimGuzhva/Bigstock.comThis will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.

All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.

(Read More…)

By on March 20, 2018

In our last Buy/Drive/Burn entry, we traveled to the heady year of 1995 to peruse a trio of alternative luxury cars. One American and two Swedes vied for a place in the fantasy garage. The comments seemed to indicate a desire for more Japanese cars in the running, and commenter JohnTaurus suggested a trio we might discuss.

The year is 1995 (again). The cars are three unsuccessful Japanese luxury sedans that time forgot. Are you feeling… Vigorous?

(Read More…)

By on December 12, 2017

2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO – Image: Nissan USA

I often joke that not only are we all destined to buy a crossover in the near future, we’ll one day become crossovers. Oh, how the TTAC guys laugh…

Still, it’s hard to avoid the crossovers-are-replacing-cars narrative, as it isn’t some far-out theory — it’s a cold, hard reality. Crossover and SUV market share grows each year as buyers abandon traditional passenger cars in favor of a vehicle that does everything at least marginally.

That said, not every model faces the same rate of abandonment. Certain cars — through a hazy combination of performance, value, nameplate recognition, and other, more nebulous factors — haven’t yet been dropped off on the front steps of the orphanage by their once-loving guardians.

Let’s take a look at some surprisingly healthy performers in the non-premium, non-sports car class. Cars that aren’t declining in popularity, as this analysis isn’t about overall volume. Guess what? None of these vehicles are the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, two models currently locked in a battle for midsize sedan supremacy (and worthy of their own singular coverage).

Hard to believe, we know, but there’s loyalty and desire to be found elsewhere. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2015 Nissan Juke, Image: Nissan

Today’s Question of the Day is the inverse of one I posited back in March of this year. At that time, we took your suggestions for current vehicle designs which you thought would stand the test of time.

It’s now time to cover the other side of the ugly coin; the vehicles on sale today which will become dated-looking quicker than all others.

(Read More…)

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