constructs sleek and powerful sedans in three
sizes with the flagship Maxima, mid-size Altima
in new style and a compact called Sentra.
there's more to Nissan's car collection for 2005
with sports cars that bear the name of Nissan's
famed Z-cars -- the 350Z conforming as a slinky
hatchback coupe or racy drop-top roadster.
Nissan crafts a four-door flagship under the badge
of Maxima. It looks crisp with curvaceous lines
but flat surfaces and chiseled corners lending
to an overall effect that seems both sensuous
and muscular with the suggestion of power and
speed. Concepts for the car came from Nissan's
designers in Japan, but assembly occurs in the
United States at a massive manufacturing plant
in Smyrna, Tenn. Maxima's two trims vary suspension
tuning. The sport-oriented 3.5 SE version uses
a performance-tuned suspension for tight handling
control, and the comfort-oriented 3.5 SL edition
has cushy settings for a luxurious ride quality.
flows from a 3.5-liter V6, which makes 265 hp.
For the sporty 3.5 SE trim, the engine connects
to a smooth automatic five-speed transmission
with manual shift mode or a six-speed close-ratio
manual stick. For Maxima's elegant 3.5 SL, the
engine uses a four-speed automatic with gated
shifter. Maxima's cockpit provides twin front
bucket seats separated by a console, with a rear
bench in sculptured positions for two but space
for three. The optional Elite Package on 3.5 SE
brings a four-seat plan with buckets front and
rear, while a Skyview Roof puts glass above front
and rear seats.
The mid-size Altima sedan series presents a fresh
face and new interior designs. The look is bold
with an aggressive prow featuring a raised hood
and restyled front fascia plus smoked headlamps.
Body forms reveal a wedge-shaped profile scored
by sharp character lines. Altima's cabin, with
front bucket seats and a rear bench for up to
three riders, upgrades with a redesigned instrument
panel, center console, three-spoke steering wheel
and chrome accents on dash and doors.
audio systems range from a standard AM/FM/CD with
six speakers to an optional CD changer for six
discs or a Bose premium system with eight speakers
and steering wheel audio controls. The Altima
appears in four trims for 2005 described by the
size of two engine options.
entry model and two upgraded issues carry a dual-cam
2.5-liter in-line-four plant with 175 hp and line
up as the Altima 2.5, mid-grade 2.5 S and deluxe
2.5 with SL Package. Altima 3.5 SE and new 3.5
SL earn Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 that's good for
250 hp. A five-speed manual shifter works with
either engine, but the four-cylinder transmission
option is a four-speed automatic while the V6
offers a five-speed automatic.
Nissan's compact-class sedan is called Sentra
and it spins off sport-inspired SE-R special editions.
Inside a generous cabin, two race-style bucket
seats stand up front with a split-and-fold rear
bench. Models begin with the Sentra 1.8 and extend
to the 1.8 S and 2.5 S. The Sentra 1.8 and 1.8
S draw from a dual-cam 1.8-liter four-cylinder
engine racked to 126 hp with five-speed manual
or optional four-speed automatic transmission.
The Sentra 2.5 S gets a 2.5-liter four-pack for
165 hp with an automatic four-speed.
SE-R and racy SE-R Spec V Sentras bring even more
equipment. A special front fascia, styled after
Nissan's exotic and powerful Skyline GTR sports
sedan, adds a crisp mesh grille and round fog
lamps. Body-colored sills stretch toward the pavement
along each side, while at the tail a winged spoiler
flies off the trunk's flat deck. Power for SE-R
Sentras comes from the twin-cam 2.5-liter four
that hits 175 hp for the Spec V performance edition.
Spec V also has serious performance hardware,
including a six-speed manual shifter, limited-slip
differential, four-wheel disc brakes and tighter
suspension tuning. A Brembo Brake Package for
high performance appears on the option list for
the SE-R Spec V.
Nissan's Z-car returned to the North American
market in 2003 as a slinky two-door hatchback
coupe with sport-tuned hardware for serious performance.
A year later, a convertible roadster variation
emerged. Both appear in Nissan's car class of
2005. All stock a 3.5-liter V6 churning with 287
hp when teamed with a six-speed manual transmission.
The coupe comes in many trims. The entry-issue
350Z 6MT contains a six-speed manual transmission
and 17-inch wheels. Enthusiast 6MT adds xenon
headlamps and a limited-slip rear differential.
five-speed automatic makes it the Enthusiast 5AT.
A 350Z Performance 6MT with manual gearbox moves
up to 18-inch wheels with vehicle dynamic control
(VDC) anti-skid equipment. Z's Touring 5AT with
the automatic shifter has luxury gear and a 240-watt
Bose stereo. Touring 6MT for the six-speed manual
goes further with aluminum pedals, VDC and 18-inch
rollers. Ultimate 350Z Track 6MT gets alloy wheels,
vented Brembo brakes and spoilers front and rear.
The airy roadster has a power-operated soft top
that lowers the lid in 20 seconds. A Touring Edition
and the Enthusiast Edition are available for the
roadster with either the five-speed automatic
or six-speed manual shifter.