I think one of the reasons that you don't see many reviews of automatic Maximas is the performance quality (or lack thereof) of their automatics. I test drove a 2003 SE 6-speed and 2003 Automatic almost back to back a couple of weeks ago when my car was in for service. No comparison. I would have estimated that the SE 6-speed was 1-2 rungs up the ladder from my 1995 SE 5-speed (6.7 0-60), but the automatic seemed at least 1-2-3 rungs down the ladder. Especially from a standing start.
IMO, Nissan has milked the slow shifting 4-speed automatic in the Maxima/I35 for way too many years. The V6 gem of an engine is rates an "8 or 9" on a scale of 10. The automatic transmission a "4", in comparison to many of the 5-speed and now even 6-speed automatics out there. Fortunately, the 5-speed automatic in the G35 is more like a "7". Even the Honda Accord and Acura TL have better automatic transmissions than the Maxima, IMO.
As I've previously admitted, I am probably a manual transmission "lifer". So take what I say, with that in mind. There is, however, one automatic that I've driven that I would rate a "9". The AMG C32. Try it, if you ever get the opportunity.
I think we are really nit-picking here when you say 1-2 rungs ( ie; tenths
of a second ) up or down .However, there is a big difference between 8.0
secs. to 60 ( '00 GLE ) and 6.9 secs ( '00 I35) imho.
I disagree that the media hasn't done a review of an Automatic Maxima
because it's an automatic. As I said earlier, all of the performance
emphasis is on the 6-spd. soooo, the media tests the 6-spd. However,
because the majority ( what 90% ) of people buy the automatic , the
media should also test what the majority drives. Again, my 2-cents.
My automatic happens to be very fluid and seamless. It does it's
thing and is completely un- obtrusive. I do agree with you about the
number of gears. I was really hoping that the 5th gen. would have had
a 5-spd. Tiptronic type trans. After all , Hyundai did it . I guess Nissan
has to save some of the good stuff for " Infiniti ".
This brings up a question that has always fascinated me. Why do most
people buy the SE model. It can't be for the "performance" because
most people pay extra for the automatic rather than driving the 5-spd.
I'm guessing it's a combination of features vs. price . Would that
be a correct assumption ?
Btw, I was a " lifer " also until I " blew-out " my left knee. Thus my
interest in auto-sticks.
the media should always test all variations I feel. Those auto journalists can p#ss and moan about it if they want to but I think they should test both the auto and the manual then the issue is moot because both parties are happy then.
As for the SE, I thought the percentage that are manual transmissions was more like 30%. Given that most GXE's and all GLE's are automatic, that would result in 80-90% for all Maxima's. In any event, your point about testing the automatics is a fair one.
Even for those who elect an automatic, the firmer SE "sport" suspension may be preferable for some. My architect leased 4 loaded GXE's in 1996 for himself and his partners as company cars. When their leases came up in 1999 3 out of the 4 switched to SE's after feeling the difference in my car around the Washington Beltway.
Also, when I said 1-2 rungs, I wasn't referring to 10ths of a second in 0-60 times. I was referring to differences that I could easily notice. I won't dispute the 0-60 of 6.9 seconds that was clocked for the I35, but that sure seems a lot faster than the 2003 SE automatic that I test drove 2 weeks ago. Maybe I need to mash my foot harder. My sense was that there was at least a full 1+ second 0-60 difference between the automatic 6-speed. And that sense passes the acid test - that was roughly the difference in the previous 190 horsepower and 222 horsepower versions of the Maxima. Adding another 33 horsepower, but keeping the old 4-speed automatic and pitting it against a close ratio 6-speed seems like it should result in the same 1+ second difference (or even greater). Wouldn't you agree?
I'm likely to be a new Maxima driver within the next couple weeks (2002 SE) and just wanted to chime in with a few questions and thoughts. I for one would rather have the more supple suspension in the gxe or gle but the gxe interior isn't as nice as the se and the se has foglights and sure corners well, so I'm going with the se (plus the gxe is very hard to find). I know awhile back there was a TSB for the hood that moved during driving. Does anyone know more about that? How about changing the passenger compartment air filter? I looked in the owner's manual and it said to contact the dealer. Surely there's a way to change it yourself? Can anyone recommend good tires? I live in a snowy area during the winter, so traction would be important. The Potenza RE92s have really bad survey ratings on tirerack.com and I noticed they're really loud when I've been testing all these maximas. It looks like there are very few choices in the OEM size. I sure like the GLE wheels. Anyone know where these can be purchased? Lookin forward to becoming a Maxima owner soon. Please chime in.
I have a 91 SE with 58,000 miles in mint condition. Just noticed that the bulb in my glove compartment doesn't work. I have tried to remove and replace it, but it is mounted in a recessed area at the top of the compartment and I can't get my fingers around it to remove. Nothing in the owners manual about this bulb. Anyone out there who can give advice. Thanks.