The Transition Years, Maxima 1981 to 1984
The 1981 totally redesigned 810 was introduced in the fall of 1980, with a new exterior and interior show casing a contemporary look. Two tone exterior colors and aluminum wheels for the sedan and wire wheel covers on steel wheels for the wagons. A larger looking car over all though the wheel base was an inch shorter. This was achieved by lowering the cowl, as well as lowering the beltline, and expanding the greenhouse, thus expanding the interior as well. Plus new seats, a clean square dash board with square gauges and a new 8 speaker stereo system with cassette. One feature these new 810’s had was new voice warning system, telling you, your door was open, or you left your key in the ignition, or you left your lights on, this pleasant female voice would kindly let you know. The coupe was dropped with the introduction new 200SX’s the year before. Under the hood the tough as nails L24E with fuel injection generating 120 horsepower returned, along with the Borg Warner three speed automatic, or the five speed manual introduced the year before, sending power to the rear wheel drive, with disc brakes front and rear. Later in the year the LD28 diesel generating 80 horsepower was introduced for those looking for more fuel economy. And rack and pinion steering was all new this year. This would be the last year the 810 emblem would appear on the model.
For 1982 as afore mentioned the 810 name plate did not return, in its place we now have The Datsun Maxima by Nissan. For 1982 the Maxima received only minor updating with updated gauges, and the addition of velour seating and halogen sealed beam headlamps.
In 1983 the Maxima received a more in-depth face lift than the 82 models. A new egg crate grill replaced the 4 bar grill that was used the two previous model year, and new tail lamps to refresh the rear end. Wagons received a new four link suspension.
1984 Nissan Motor Corporation would celebrate its 50th anniversary, and to commemorate the year all, now Nissan automobiles received a 50th anniversary wreath and this is also the year in which the Datsun name would not appear on the product. 1984 would be the last year for the rear wheel drive Maxima’s. The 84 models would soldier along unchanged aside from some minor trim updates, and the deletion of the LD28 Diesel.
The Maxima was a true car of transition, starting out as an upgraded luxury compact, as the 810, and evolving into the Maxima, by Datsun, to the Nissan Maxima. It would be the last of the strait sixes, and rear wheel drive. And it moved Nissan into the luxury sedan bracket.
1985 would be the beginning of a new age.
Nissan introduced a totally re engineered Maxima for 1985. Gone was the L24E
strait 6 engine sending power to the rear wheels, in it’s place a new transverse mounted VG30E V6 engine sending power
to the front wheels. The new power plant was taken from the 300ZX introduced just the year before, with SOHC, and 12 valves the VG30E
generated 157hp to a new automatic or manual 5 speed transmission down to the front wheels. Equipped with front and rear struts, and disc
brakes front and rear as well, and an all new rack and pinion steering system,
made for a vast improvement over the previous year’s model. On the outside you still saw the basic Maxima look, only on a shortened wheel
base by 3 inches over the previous model, and a fresh crisp squared look, with flush fitting halogen headlamps in place of the
sealed beam headlamps, and standard cornering lamps flush with the headlamp,
park turn signal lamps recessed in the front bumper, a chrome grill on the GL and
painted grill on the SE models. For 1985 the model lineup remained the same as
the previous year, in four door sedan and wagon forms, and this generation would be the
last one for the wagon. There were two trim levels in the sedan model, the GL
which was trimmed in chrome moldings for a more conservative luxury
look and the SE was trimmed with painted moldings, and the addition of a
spoiler on the deck lid gave the SE a sporty look.The wagon came only in the GL trim and a sunroof was
standard. With the addition of front wheel drive in the interior space was improved, by
one inch in legroom and one inch in head room and trunk room increased to nearly 15 cubic feet.
For 1986 the car stayed the same save some minor trim changes. In 1987 the
Maxima got a mild facelift with a slightly angled grill and different side trim, and new tail lamps. Also for 87 brought the addition
of the GXE and the deletion of the GL model. On the GXE a whole host of
amenities, like digital touch entry system, power windows, and power window and door
locks, power antenna and trunk release, as well as the voice warning system and heated front seats, and an optional Electronics package with
digital instruments and a trip computer. This was the year that the addition of
automatic shoulder belts came into being, after February of 87, and a standard
15” alloy wheels were standard on all the models. 1988 brought more
technological advances, the Sonar Suspension System, which used sonar waves to
monitor road conditions and adjusted the shocks as needed. 1988 also
brought the tech package to the SE models.
The 3rd generation Maxima set the foundation of
the Maxima’s of the last 27 years. Advanced and stylish with a flair for
performance could be the best way
one can describe the 85 thur 88 Maxima. 1989 would bring still another
generation and more enhancement and a total redesign of the body.
THE 4DSC MAXIMA 1989 TO 1994
1989 Nissan Motors introduced totally redesigned Maxima. Sleek, flowing body lines with four added inches placed the Maxima squarely in the mid-sized field. Coined by Nissan as a 4-Door Sports Car (4DSC) came once more in GXE and SE versions, gone was the wagon. Still powered by the VG30E 3.0 V6, and teamed with a 4 speed auto or 5 speed manual transaxle, with a power boost to 160 horse power could get a Maxima from 0 to 60 in 8.8 seconds. Equipped with disc brakes in the front for both GXE and SE’s and drum brakes for GXE and disc brakes on the rear of the SE’s, and independent rear suspension for both versions, as well as a road scanning electronic Super Sonic Suspension (sonar) made ride and handling ease.
Inside the new Maxima was roomier now being able to seat five adults, and new instrumentation with digital dash, or analog, with black with white numerals on GXE and white with black numerals on SE’s. New as well on GXE’s with Luxury Package, the ability to lower the windows as well as open the moon roof without the key in the ignition. As before GXE models were trimmed in bright trim and SE models painted trim, and the addition of a rear spoiler on the SE version.
1990 and 91 brought only minor trim changes, like a slight change to the outside mirrors. But one big change in 1991 was with the addition of the new VG30DE still a 3.0 generating 190 horses becoming standard in the SE models. 1992 brought a mild face lift to the front with a new grill and now featuring the Nissan logo in the center of the grill, chrome on GXE and painted on the SE. In the rear, new tail lamps and finisher on the deck lid gave an appearance of a complete lamp from side to side. 1992 brought an automatic transaxle in a heavier duty sports version for the SE models. 1993 models carried on with no major changes, why tamper with a good thing, and 1994 was a shortened year due to the mid-year introduction of the 1995 models.
The 4th generation was when Nissan and Maxima came out as a major player both in the auto industry and Maxima as true mid-size luxury sedan, which you could have fun with.
1995-1999 The Award Winning Maxima’s
The 1995 Maxima was rolled out in May of 1994. The look was a rather subdued
facelift of the previous year, looking more like every other midsized sedan of the mid-nineties, including sister company Infiniti’s
new I30 series which shared the Maxima platform. But there the subtleties ends,
the real changes were under the skin. New was a new VQ30DE 3.0 V6 with 190hp, that earned 1st place on
Ward’s Best Engine List, for 1995, and the VQ30DE, and other variations of the
VQ engine would go on at the top of that list for the next 18
years. New as well was a lighter weight torsion bar solid rear
axle. New also was a 6 speaker Bose Sound System standard on the new GLE model
taking the place of the GXE, and an option of the retained SE version. 1995 brought Maxima recognition from Motor Trend, making it it’s Import Car of
the year, and the SE version making Car and Driver magazines 10 best Imports
list for both 95 and 96. The 1996 Maxima stayed unchanged, and 97’s brought a refresh of the past 2
years, with new alloy wheels and clear plastic headlamps doing away with the
glass ones of previous years. 98 and 99 brought more trim changes and
structural changes to improve safety in a crash. The 1995-1999 brought the 20th Century to close , with award winning
style and engineering and more was to come heading into the new century.
Maxima Turns Twenty 2000-2003
The 2000 Maxima opened the 21 Century with a modest redesign in tune with the looks of most luxury models of the time. The real changes once more were done under the hood. The VQ30DE 3.0 V6 got an horse power boost, raising it too 222 hp, and could blast away from 0 to 60 in just 7 seconds, and could pace a quarter mile in 15 seconds at a speed 91 mph.2000 brought three trim levels again in the form of GXE SE and GLE, all getting the power boost and an additional two inches to the wheelbase giving it more interior room in all areas.
2001 Nissan marked the Maxima turning twenty with a special edition SE version, equipped with special ground effects, bronze tinted headlamps, drilled aluminum pedals, an aluminum gearshift knob, along with 20th Anniversary emblems, floor mats and key as well a moon roof , and power drivers front seat, and 17 inch wheels and tires as well an engine power boost to 227 hp teamed with a limited slip differential, made for a real commemorative ride.
The BIG news for 2002 was a new VQ series engine. The all new V6 now had a displacement of 3.5, termed the VG35DE, this engine would also power
Pathfinders, Altima’s and Infiniti’s new G35, as well as the coming 2003 350Z. New features of this engine as well the displacement increase, included continuous valve timing control, along with a variable induction system, and a silent chain, and electronic controlled throttle. Helping to take it out of the blocks at 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds, and running the quarter mile in 14.9 seconds.
For 2003 the car stay virtually the same as the 2002, with anticipation of an all-new 2004, which would be made here in US.