I still have her at 607K+. Yes, a bit underpowered, but such a mechanically sound car. Simple maintenance and regular driving will keep this engine for many years and even 15 years later, is still a cute little car.
Only aesthetic prob that exists w/lot of Nissans is that the paint decays faster - not sure why, but true. Man. tranny is one of the easiest and long-lasting - clutch replaced at 582K for 1st time. Was just in shop for radiator replacement (and brake pads) - original radiator so figure can't beat that.
AC is still strong and has never needed work (other than hoses, etc.) and always a pleasure to drive. Will keep running her until she finally dies-Best car ever had.
*External design-still cute after 15 yrs.
*Reliability is almost unparalleled...
*Internal headroom (even w/sunroof) accommodates to 6'4" easily.
*Maintenance is easy - well placed engine components
*Easy/consistent/enduring manual tranny/clutch
*Deceptively roomy trunk space for very small car
*Visibility to all sides and rear
*Convenient placement of internal features
*Green fuel mileage before green was in - still gets 33 or so city in short distance driving - about 38 weekend longer distances; when younger, she would average 35-38 city and was known to get 45 highway. (Note:
the younger mpgs were w/out AC running)
Would not have had many:
*AC significantly pulls down the performance and mileage of the little 1.6L engine.
*Alternator gives way consistently at about 200K
*A few problems caused by low profile and sport suspension - bottoms out easily and hubs and axles take a beating.
Not a car if smooth ride is your most important thing.
*Manufacturer supplied Dunlop tires were the pits - almost wrecked in heavy t'storm her 1st year in 360 spin - changing tires resolved from that point forward
*Recommended tire pressure (29/33) is critical - most will do 29/29-be specific at maintenance facilities and check it - reduces mpg and tendency to cause rear-end shimmy if not right.
Great little car! Both my 1st new car and 1st car! Never expected to have such good fuel economy 30-40mpg depending on conditions and driver. This car is 11 yrs old! Driven hard! Modified for performance increase with header, CAI, 17" rims and low profile tires. Added some chrome accents to the wheel wells and bought aftermarket headlights. Short shifter, crank pulley and flywheel. Gone through 2 clutches (excluding a race clutch). Worth every penny to replace. My fault for burning it. Had to learn to shift on this car. Otherwise no broken parts! For 11 years! I will be buying Nissan from here on out.
Right now the gas mpg is my favorite feature, other than my mods. I like the body style, but looks like it was meant to with wheel well accent and bigger rims now. Not bad overall.
Dimmer switch for guage cluster. Bigger clutch for performance driving.
Not a bad little car. The only vehicle I've been in contact with that was more reliable was a Toyota Corolla. At nine years and 146,000 miles it still runs beautifully. The oil pressure sending unit developed a leak in 2002, which caused the alternator to die, but that's the only non-routine issue I've had to date. She's a little underpowered, but I can't complain too much. The back seat is very easy to get in and out of for a 2-door car.
Gas mileage of 35 city/40 hwy rocks!
Could have a little more pickup. Interior is pretty bland. Interior sunroof cover has a tendency to get jammed open after you slide the sunroof glass back a couple times, so I would think they could have designed that a little better.
Super-great car! 161k miles and still
goes like a champ! Very little $$ spent
on unexpected repair costs. Alternator
at 120k was the only "major" item. My
aggressive driving still gives 33mpg
average, though it also puts me on my
3rd clutch and 2nd set of front brake
Overall, I love this car!!!
Mostly well designed layout, decent pep,
SUPER SUPER reliable. Very predictable
handling. Great gas mileage, even with
my aggressive driving.
A little front heavy which causes
understeer, but you have to be pushing
it fairly hard. Fix that and this
vehicle would have been perfect.
In over 2 years, I've had just a few
unscheduled maintenance issues: a
wiper linkage repair, a front-end
crankshaft seal, and a dead battery.
Total cost: less than $400 (including
an oil change) at a Nissan dealership.
For this market segment, the car is fun
to drive (manual transmission),
although more power and a tighter
suspension (i.e. the SE-R) would be
nice. Despite my fast driving habits,
I get between 30 and 35 mpg in city
driving (even with the A/C on.)
I have K&N, high-flow air filter and a
killer aftermarket sound system, and
plan to keep the car for at least a
couple more years.
-Aftermarket sound system
I think they got it right--especially
with the SE-R.