A faulty fuel gauge meant the entire instrument cluster had to be replaced (it comes as a single unit). Luckily, there was still two weeks left on the factory warranty, otherwise it would have cost me over $2,000 New Zealand Dollars. The replacement instrument cluster had a fault with the tachometer (the needle moved down in steps, like the seconds hand on a watch), so the dealer had to order a second replacement cluster.
About a week after the warranty expired, the alternator drive belt had to be replaced, because it started making a lot of noise on cold starts.
One of the factory stereo speakers sounded a bit crackly, so I replaced them with after market speakers.
There's a minor clunk from the front suspension when hitting large bumps (like a judder bar or steep driveway entrance). I think the front sway bar bushes may need replacing. At this stage it's too minor to worry about.
I had originally been looking to replace my 1997 Toyota Camry with a later model, but the Maxima offers much better value for money on the used car market. For the price of a 4-cylinder Camry I was able to buy an equivalent year/mileage V6 Maxima.
The Maxima is a lot less bland looking (both interior and exterior) and more luxurious than the Camry.
Rear seat legroom is almost limo-like, but this seems to be at the expense of front seat legroom. Very tall drivers (like me, at 6'5") will find themselves wishing the driver's seat could be moved back another inch or two. The steering wheel height adjustment also has a very limited range - in its highest setting it still feels too low. The same goes for the front seat head restraints - at their highest setting they offer little protection, since they only come level with the top of my neck. In all of these respects the Camry has a better, more comfortable driving position for very tall drivers. Head room is OK though.
The boot (trunk) is large, but not as well shaped as the Camry's.
Ergonomics are also a lot better in the Camry. In the Maxima I find myself almost stretching to reach the ventilation and audio controls.
For a luxury car there is a fair bit of tyre and suspension noise transmitted through to the cabin. Tyre choice is critical if you want a hushed ride. The suspension makes quite a racket when going over railway tracks, etc.
The standard 15" wheels give an almost bouncy ride and the feel of cornering on marshmallows. I recently replaced them with a set of 16" wheels with low profile tyres and these have completely transformed the ride and handling.
Steering weight at low speeds is excessive and despite a seemingly direct 2.8 turns lock to lock, you have to wind away on the wheel compared with the Camry. It's also a bit lacking in road feel.
The V6 engine and front wheel drive layout means there is a heavy front weight bias. One of the first things I noticed after driving a 4-cylinder Camry is that the Maxima feels quite nose heavy.
The VQ30DE engine has plenty of power and a good spread of torque, making for a relaxed driving experience. Despite being quick in the acceleration department (0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds), it still feels a little sluggish off the mark, needing a good jab of the accelerator pedal to get moving.
Fuel economy is outstanding on the highway, since at 100km/h the engine is turning just over 2,000rpm, but in stop/start city driving it's a little thirsty.
There are a few minor annoyances that I'd like to mention. 1. Hot starting can sometimes be a problem - the engine doesn't always fire first time. 2. There are a couple of annoying dashboard rattles that I haven't been able to cure and the rear seat squeaks when someone is sitting in it (I think it may be the folding mechanism). 3. The electric aerial motor is very loud when it extends/retracts.
Nissan parts and accessories prices are a lot more expensive than Toyota (in New Zealand at least). I was shocked at the prices being asked for things like carpet floor mats and mud flaps. I ended up buying after market accessories.
My encounters with the dealer service department have left a sour taste in my mouth and since the warranty has expired I'll never go back there. After they replaced the rear brake pads there was a problem with the left-right brake bias, which after several visits they were unable (or unwilling) to fix. I ended up taking the car to a brake specialist who adjusted the rear callipers, which fixed the problem. They also dismissed the alternator drive belt noise as "normal timing chain noise - they all do it", without even listening to it.
Overall, I'm happy with the car and would consider buying a Nissan again, but only if it proves as reliable as my Camry in the long run.