For 2003, Nissan kicks its flagship Maxima sedan up a notch once again with the addition of a new Titanium Edition Package for its popular SE model, enhancing Maxima's already high level of sportiness even further. All three 2003 Maxima models -- GXE, SE and GLE -- once again come equipped with a standard 255-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC V6, 4-speed automatic transmission and the unique balance of performance and luxury which has helped make Maxima the best-selling V6 import sedan, 16 years running (based on R.L. Polk & Co. calendar year end 1986-2001 new vehicle total registrations).
Other key additions for the new model year include standard front seat side impact supplemental air bags for GLE models (available on SE as part of the Titanium Edition Package) and two new exterior colors, Sheer Silver and Polished Titanium (Titanium Edition Package only). The new 2003 Maxima went on sale in late May 2002.
"The Maxima still sets the standard in class in terms of performance-oriented luxury sports sedans, a category it virtually invented nearly 20 years ago," said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.
The Maxima was first introduced as a 1981 model, creating the "midsize import sedan" category, a segment it has dominated ever since. The current fifth generation Maxima, created at Nissan Design America (NDA) in La Jolla, Calif., was introduced as a 2000 model.
The Titanium Edition Package
Maxima's new Titanium Edition Package is a new option available only on SE models. The Titanium Edition Package features a Bose audio system with AM/FM in-dash 6-disc CD changer, front seat side-impact supplemental air bags, in-mirror compass, floor mats and stainless steel sill plates with Maxima logo. It also offers titanium-tint color accents on the center console, titanium-tint accent stitching on the steering wheel and shifter, and alloy wheels with bright wheel finish. Valued at over $1,600, the package will be offered with an MSRP of $999.
"The Titanium Edition Package takes the fully equipped standard SE model and adds an even higher level of 'cut-above' amenities and features," said Kirrane. "This package also greatly enhances Maxima's already great competitive value, laying the foundation for what we believe will be another outstanding year of Maxima sales."
A High Style Standard, Inside and Out
Maxima's exterior styling, enhanced in 2002 with a new front grille and aggressive front fascia with large air intake, new headlight design with High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, side-sill spoilers, new rear taillights with clear lenses, dual chrome exhaust tip finishers (SE/GLE) and standard 16-inch (GXE) or 17-inch wheels (unique designs for SE and GLE models) continues in 2003 with the two new available colors, Sheer Silver and Polished Titanium (Titanium Edition Package only), adding to Maxima's strong visual impression.
Inside, every 2003 Maxima comes complete with a stylish "wave" instrument panel design with a sweeping console, striking instrument panel and special attention to driver ergonomics, a highly supportive seat design, gated automatic transmission shifter and a steering-wheel controlled multi-function trip computer with outside temperature display, distance to empty, fuel economy and drive time counters.
The Maxima interior also offers 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, optional with SE A/T). A 7-speaker 200-watt Bose audio system with in-dash 6-disc CD changer, Radio Data System (RDS) and speed-sensitive volume control is standard on GLE and optionally available on the SE model.
Also available on Maxima again in 2003 is the Nissan Navigation System with its three-dimensional Birdview map display (featuring an easy-to-read rolling display of roads, buildings and other points of interest in addition to the traditional intersection/flat plane map images).
The Maxima GXE interior features many standard luxury and convenience items, ranging from an 8-way power driver's seat with manual adjustable lumbar support and height-adjustable center console lid to premium 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with steering wheel audio controls, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and HomeLink Universal Transceiver.
Other luxury touches include "one-touch" auto up and down driver's and front 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-tint meter gauges 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 2003 Maxima is available with three interior colors, Blonde, Frost and Black.
255 Horsepower with a Suspension to Match
Since 1995, Maxima has been known for its V6 engine superiority. Its innovative VQ engine series powerplants have been named one of the "10 Best Engines" by Ward's Auto World for eight consecutive years.
For 2003, the 3.5-liter, DOHC 24-valve V6 again produces 255 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque. The engine's advanced design includes continuous valve timing control, variable induction system, a silent timing chain, electronically controlled throttle, 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.
For driving enthusiasts, a close-ratio 6-speed manual comes standard on Maxima SE, optimizing the powerband of the 3.5-liter engine. A helical limited-slip differential is optional on manual transmission-equipped Maximas. This mechanical differential is torque sensitive and provides instantaneous locking for increased traction and performance.
All 2003 Maxima GXE and GLE models again come equipped with a standard 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (optional on SE). 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 offers precise handling and outstanding stability by minimizing camber change during cornering. It includes use of thick front and rear stabilizer bars, along with large, soft trailing link bushings. The system's unique lateral link is located behind the rear beam. SE models feature special sport tuning for maximum handling prowess, while 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.
Other standard performance features include a refined engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with front discs and 4-wheel/4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
Also standard are 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.
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. Maxima also features a Snug Kids child safety seat fit guide to choose the correct seat combination for child and vehicle.
All 2002 Maximas come standard with a Vehicle Security System and Ignition Immobilizer.
A Variety of Models and Option Packages
The 2003 Maxima is available in three models: the well-equipped GXE, the luxurious GLE and performance SE. In addition to the new Titanium Edition Package, a number of other packages and options are available on the 2003 Maxima.
The Meridian Edition offers heated front seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors, while the Leather Package 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). Other available options include Power Glass Sliding Sunroof with tilt function (SE, GLE); front seat side-impact supplemental air bags (std. on GLE, SE with Titanium Edition Package); traction control system (SE automatic, GLE); helical limited-slip differential (SE manual); Bose audio system (std. on GLE, SE with Titanium Edition Package) and Nissan Navigation System (SE, GLE).