5k: Cheap Fun: 2002 Nissan Maxima A33 6-spd

The fifth generation Nissan Maxima (A33) was introduced in the 2000 model year, but it wasn’t until the 2002 model year that the engine was upgraded to the VQ35DE and it was equipped with a 6-spd manual that it became a genuinely fast sleeper.  Find this 2002 Nissan Maxima A33 6-spd offered for $6,500 in Las Vegas, NV via craigslist.

The Nissan Maxima started out in the 1980s as a rear-drive luxury/sport sedan but had morphed into a front-driver by 1985.  That didn’t stop it front being quick, and it has always been available with Nissan’s fantastic VG-series V6.

In 2002 the Maxima switched to the VQ series V6 and the VQ35DE was rated at 255 horsepower and mated to the front wheels via a 6-spd manual gearbox and a torsen limited slip differential.  The Maxima claws and torque-steers from 0-60mph in the sub 6 second range – fast for a front driver from any era.  More importantly the Maxima was setup with a decent level of stiffness and damping to make for decent skid pad and figure-8 times.

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