To further increase its sales in the United States, Nissan, which was called Datsun before, launched a series of mid-size sedans in 1977--the Maxima. Although it went through various name and style changes over the years, this particular Nissan line is considered to be one of the most successful vehicles of all time.
1977: Datsun 810
When the Maxima was released, it was known as the Bluebird G6. However, when it was imported to the United States, the name Datsun 810 was used. The Datsun version was powered by a 2.4-L, SOHC L-series I6 engine that can produce at least 125 horsepower, while the Bluebird G6 came with the 2.0-L version of the same engine.
In Japan, three years after its debut, the Bluebird 910 was released under the nameplate Maxima. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the same car was badged as the 810 Maxima. However, after two years, Nissan decided to drop the 810 name in favor of Maxima.
For the 1989 model year, Nissan revamped the Maxima and called it the J30 model. The new model qualified as a mid-size vehicle in the U.S. because of its bigger dimensions. The increase in size made it possible for the Maxima to seat three people in the back comfortably. Aside from the change in size, the new model was also equipped with a digital touch entry system which enabled a driver to lower and raise the windows and moon roof even if his or her key was not in the ignition.
In 1995, the Maxima underwent another facelift, and the A32 model was born. It was powered by a 3.0-L V6 VQ30DE engine that could produce as much as 190 hp and was equipped with a torsion bar solid axle system. However, in 1997, the Maxima was once again redesigned to give way to plastic headlights, five-spoke alloy wheels, and new tail lights.
Also known as the A33, a new Maxima model--which was designed in California--was released in 2000 and came with a 3.0 L VQ30DE V6 engine. In 2001, Nissan released a special edition Maxima SE to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the line. This model had limited-edition side skirts and brushed-metallic parts.
In 2007, a new generation of Maximas was released, and this was tagged as the A34. Those that were sold in the United States were finally sold with the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which was like the one installed on Nissan Muranos. Aside from the new transmission, the 2007 Maximas were sold with new grilles which lacked center blocks and headlights that had square edges.
2012: Current Maxima
At the present, the Maxima comes with 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels, a restyled grille, and new tail lights. Also, car owners can choose between two new colors: the Dark Slate and Java Metallic. However, although there were some interior changes, the 2012 Maxima still looks like its predecessor.