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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's a well specified family saloon with roomy rear seats and smooth V6 petrol engines

Against It's got a poor driving position, the steering is lifeless, and the handling disappointing

Verdict It's not the executive model it promised to be, and falls well short of the best in its class

Go for… 3.0-litre V6 petrol

Avoid… 2.0-litre V6 petrol

Nissan Maxima QX Saloon
  • 1. The high-speed ride is decent, and it's fine around town, but the handling is well below par
  • 2. Check for suspension damage on cars with kerbed wheels
  • 3. Build quality is good overall and Nissan's record on reliability is impressive
  • 4. There's no reach-adjustment on the steering wheel, and taller drivers will find headroom tight
  • 5. There are few cars around, but huge depreciation from new makes them cheap used buys
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Nissan Maxima QX Saloon full review with expert trade views

It’s important for an executive car to pamper the driver and the QX doesn’t do too badly. It provides a decent high-speed ride, and around town it’s fine. However, the handling just can’t compete with the German models that dominate this class. The steering is lifeless and it feels nose-heavy through the corners.

The two V6 engines are the car's strengths, pulling smoothly right through the rev range. They’re quiet, too, which sadly means you can hear just how much road noise there is.

As you'd expect of a Nissan, the dashboard is well laid out, but the cabin has none of the quality in teh QX's rivals. There’s no reach-adjustment for the steering wheel, either, and taller drivers will find it short on headroom. Rear passengers get the best deal, with acres of space to spread out in, but the way the suspension intrudes into the boot limits its practicality.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Very rare big saloon. Cheap and reliable used buy if you can find one

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The QX was only on sale in the UK for two years – it was launched on an X-plate – and there are just two models to choose from. Both are V6 petrols, a 140bhp 2.0-litre and a 200bhp 3.0-litre. Our pick of the pair is the latter.

The smaller engine struggles in such a large, heavy car, and with the optional four-speed automatic it’s very sluggish. By contrast, the auto-only 3.0-litre is much stronger and delivers a decent turn of speed.

There are two trim levels, SE and SE+. SE is only available on 2.0 models and has remote central locking, alloys, a CD changer, climate control, and power-operated windows, mirrors and sunroof. SE+ is the best bet because it adds leather upholstery. All cars have anti-lock brakes, and twin front and side airbags. In security testing, the car was found to be very good at keeping out the thieves.

Trade view

James Ruppert

2.0 SE+ in a light metallic or a 3.0SE+ at the right low price

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Maxima QX suffered catastrophic depreciation as a new car and lost 80% of its value in the first three years of its life. That means it’s a lot of metal for the money as a used buy.

However, it will cost you in other ways. For example, with no diesel model to offer decent fuel economy, the miles per gallon figures aren’t that great. The official numbers are 29.1mpg for the 2.0 and 27mpg for the 3.0, but you’ll struggle to reach those in everyday driving.

Sourcing replacement parts could be a problem, given the age of the car now, but at least Nissan bills tend to be lower than average, even if you use a main dealer for your servicing and repairs. But, if you want to cut your bills even further, there are plenty of independent garages that specialise in Japanese makes.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Very rare big saloon. Cheap and reliable used buy if you can find one

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Build quality on this car is - in the main - good, and the Japanese firm’s record on reliability is an impressive one. The QX’s rating is well above average in data supplied by Warranty Direct.

That said, to minimise your risk, beware of high-milers. This car was aimed more at the fleet market than the private buyer, so many will have travelled big distances in a shorter space of time than normal.

Check for cars that could have been kerbed, because a linkage in the front suspension was found to break if subjected to an impact. Nissan warned this could affect the QX’s stability and make the car difficult to control.

Brake discs have also been known to warp, so find out from the seller when they were last replaced. Inspect the headlamps, too, because faulty or damaged ones are particularly pricey to replace.

Trade view

James Ruppert

2.0 SE+ in a light metallic or a 3.0SE+ at the right low price

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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