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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
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Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

2004 Nissan Maxima SE
The Sixth Time's a Charm (continued)

2004 Nissan Maxima Instrument Cluster

2004 Nissan Maxima Gauges

New Nissan Maxima

New Nissan Maxima Interior

New Nissan Maxima Engine V6

Go to
Nissan Maxima
Photo Gallery
Official Web site:
Nissan USA
We'd be remiss if we didn't talk a bit about the instrument cluster and center console assembly. It's either a "love it" or "hate it" sorta' thing. The triple barrel, titanium faced and trimmed instrument cluster did take a little getting used to, and the smallish tachometer can be blocked slightly by the bolstered steering wheel, especially in the higher RPM ranges.
The center console was a bit intimidating at first, as there are two large groups of controls, arranged horizontally in the center of the dash. A large, amber-colored LCD displays radio and temperature control information. Initially, the HVAC and radio controls felt slightly crowded to us, but eventually became quite natural feeling. The HVAC system worked effortlessly and efficiently, even in our 90-degree heat. Vents are well placed and easy to adjust. Window controls included the express up and down feature, something that we wish every manufacturer would include with their cars.

Nissan has wisely made only one engine option available for the 2004 Maxima - its infamous 3.5L V6 that lays down 265-horsepower at 5800 rpm and 255 lb/ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The 3.5L gains 10 horsepower over last years model, mostly by way of intake and exhaust improvements. While on the throttle, the capable V6 has a menacing growl that seems to prod you to push the drive-by-wire gas pedal farther and harder.

Gear changes in our SE were handled by Nissan's 5-speed automatic, complete with its manual gate-shifter controls. Gear changes were swift and seamless, and our only complaint was that even with the shifter set to manual mode, the car would regularly upshift and downshift itself as it saw fit (mostly at higher RPMs). Snicking the stick up and down through the gears was quite fun, especially on back roads where the brawny V6 really showed how it loved to flex its muscles.

We've heard from others that torque steer was a problem with the 2004 Maxima, but to be honest, we didn't observe any "overwhelming" torque steer with our SE model. It may have been due to the automatic transmission configuration, but nonetheless, we observed literally no torque steer - just plenty of tire smoke.

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