In 2002, Nissan’s flagship Maxima sedan once again raises the bar for all sports sedans. A new 255-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC V6, available 6-speed manual transmission and numerous exterior, interior and feature refinements further enhance the unique balance of performance and luxury which has helped make Maxima the best-selling import-brand V6 for the past 17 years (based on R.L. Polk total registrations).
Other key additions include Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution, standard High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, standard LCD trip computer, available heated seats and steering wheel and available Nissan Navigation System. The new 2002 Maxima goes on sale in August 2001.
“For the 2002 model year, we’ve turned up Maxima’s appeal many degrees in both performance and luxury,” said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “It continues to be true to its ‘Maxima-ness’ - which we define as the heart and soul of the performance/luxury sedan - but it’s now an even bigger cut above the competition.”
The original Maxima was introduced as a 1981 model. Its arrival essentially created the “midsize import sedan” category, a segment it has dominated ever since with nearly two million in total U.S. sales. The popular fifth generation Maxima, created at Nissan Design America (NDA) in La Jolla, Calif., was introduced as a 2000 model and serves as the foundation for the new 2002 Maxima.
Maxima’s exterior style has been enhanced in 2002 with a new front grille and aggressive front fascia with large air intake, new 4-bulb headlight design with High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, standard side-sill spoilers for a low, aggressive look, standard 16-inch (GXE) or redesigned 17-inch wheels (with different designs for SE and GLE models) and new UV-reducing solar glass.
The rear view continues to leave a strong visual impression with new rear taillights with clear lenses and revised vehicle badging featuring the new Nissan logo. Dual chrome exhaust tip finishers (SE/GLE) provide the finishing visual touch.
Three new exterior colors are available on 2002 Maxima - Tungsten Blue, Glacier Pearl and Majestic Blue, all chosen to complement the exterior enhancements made to the vehicle.
255 Horsepower with a Driveline and Suspension to Match
Since 1995, Maxima has been known for its V6 engine superiority. Its innovative 3.0-liter powerplant, part of the VQ engine series, has been named one of the “10 Best Engines” by Ward’s Auto World for seven consecutive years. Ward’s editors have written that it is “simply, the best V6 engine available in America.”
For 2002, the VQ engine has been enlarged to 3.5 liters. This DOHC 24-valve V6 now produces 255 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque, increases of 33 horsepower and 29 lb-ft of torque over the 2001 Maxima’s 3.0-liter engine. Besides the increased displacement, other enhancements made to the engine include continuous valve timing control, variable induction system, a silent timing chain and electronically controlled throttle. The engine also features a modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons, a resin intake collector, digital knock control, six individual coils (one per spark plug) and a cross-flow coolant pattern.
An equal-length tuned exhaust with a variable capacity muffler derived from the one on the high performance Nissan Skyline GT-R reduces exhaust system backpressure, adds power and gives Maxima a quiet, yet throaty, sound.
Additional features of the engine package include an engine control module located inside the passenger compartment for reliability, a thick radiator and a four-point engine mount design with liquid-filled (manual transmission) or electronically controlled fluid (automatic transmission) mounts to reduce vibration. Double platinum-tipped spark plugs give Maxima a 100,000-mile tune-up interval, providing a lower projected cost of ownership and all Maximas are 50-state emissions certified.
A large engine cover with the Nissan logo completes the engine compartment of the 2002 Maxima.
For the first time on Maxima, a close-ratio 6-speed manual will be standard on SE models (available 10/01). This transmission optimizes the powerband of the new 3.5-liter engine and is geared towards the serious driving enthusiast. A helical limited-slip differential is optional on manual transmission Maximas (available 12/01). This mechanical differential is torque sensitive and provides instantaneous locking for increased traction and performance.
All 2002 Maxima GXE and GLE models come equipped with a standard 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (optional on SE), which has been strengthened for use with the 3.5-liter V6. The automatic features a gated shifter for better transmission control and a traction control system is optional on GLE and SE models with automatic transmission.
Maxima’s innovative rear Multi-Link Beam™ suspension, which offers precise handling and outstanding stability by minimizing camber change during cornering, was refined for the fifth generation Maxima through use of thicker front and rear stabilizer bars, adoption of larger, softer trailing link bushings and a relocation of the system’s unique lateral link to behind the rear beam.
SE models feature special sport tuning for maximum handling prowess.
SE and GLE offer large 17-inch wheels with model-specific designs and H-rated (GLE) or V-rated (SE) tires. GXE features 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels as standard equipment for 2002 (up from 15-inch steel wheels) for a sportier look and better handling.
The Maxima’s “cut above” performance is reinforced by a refined engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering and enhanced 4-wheel disc brakes with 16 millimeter larger front discs and 4-wheel/4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
Brake system upgrades for 2002 include two advanced systems - Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) which optimizes braking force depending on passenger and cargo load and Brake Assist, which ensures maximum braking capacity is utilized to aid in hard or panic braking situations.
An Enhanced Cabin
Maxima’s luxury, like its performance, takes many forms, starting with its stylish “wave” instrument panel design with a sweeping console, striking instrument panel and special attention to driver ergonomics. The 2002 Maxima’s interior features numerous improvements, including new, more supportive seat designs, new titanium-color gated automatic transmission shifter and inside door handles, redesigned audio system faceplates, a new gauge package and a steering-wheel controlled multi-function trip computer with outside temperature display, distance to empty, fuel economy and drive time counters.
Other refinements for 2002 include standard HVAC microfilter ventilation system with reusable, washable filter, multi position slide sunroof switch, power driver’s seat with memory function and entry/exit feature (GLE, opt. SE A/T) and an upgraded 7-speaker 200-watt Bose® audio system with in-dash 6-disc CD changer, Radio Data System (RDS) and speed-sensitive volume control (GLE, opt. SE).
Available for the first time on Maxima in 2002 is the Nissan Navigation System. This navigation system includes the three-dimensional Birdview™ map display, which features an easy-to-read rolling display of roads, buildings and other points of interest, in addition to the traditional intersection/flat plane map images. A voice guidance system provides directions throughout the driver’s journey, lowering radio volume when directions are spoken.
The Maxima GXE also features enhanced content for 2002 – many items that were formerly on the option list have now become standard equipment. This includes an 8-way power driver’s seat with manual adjustable lumbar support, leather-wrapped gearshift knob, height-adjustable center console lid, premium 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with steering wheel audio controls, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, cargo net and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver.
Other luxury touches include the extensive use of noise, vibration and harshness countermeasures, isolation of wind and road noise, generous storage space (including room in the center console for 16 compact discs), “one-touch” auto up and down driver’s and passenger’s windows and sunroof, auto on/off headlights, a second 12-volt power outlet and 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with anti-theft lock function.
Maxima SE models feature sporty seat cloth, leather-wrapped steering wheel, titanium-color gauge faces with black numerals and drilled metal accelerator, brake and clutch pedals on helical limited-slip differential-equipped SEs. GLE models feature standard leather-appointed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever and wood-tone interior trim.
The 2002 Maxima is available with three interior colors.
Safe and Secure
Maxima safety features include an impact dispersion body side structure which includes reinforced roof side rails, B-pillars and side sills, pipe-style steel side-door guard beams, dual-stage front supplemental air bags, available front seat side-impact supplemental air bags, 3-point front seat belts with adjustable upper anchors, pretensioners and load limiters, front-seat active head restraints, an emergency inside trunk-release latch and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchorage system.
All 2002 Maximas come standard with a Vehicle Security System with Immobilizer.
Tailored For Discriminating Drivers
The 2002 Maxima is available in three models: the well-equipped GXE, the luxurious GLE and performance SE. A number of options and option packages are available on Maxima, including Meridian Edition, with heated front seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors; Leather Package, which includes leather-appointed seats, 4-way power passenger’s seat and power driver’s seat with memory function and entry/exit feature (SE A/T, std. GLE); Power Glass Sliding Sunroof with tilt function (SE, GLE); front seat side- impact supplemental air bags (SE, GLE); traction control system (SE automatic, GLE); helical limited-slip differential (SE manual); Bose? audio system (SE, std. GLE) and Nissan Navigation System (SE, GLE).