Bought Oct. 2014 for $1100 with 199k miles from my mechanic after my 4Runner got wrecked and I have to say, this car has exceeded all expectations. It was meant to be temporary and to be driven as a car that could not be trusted as well, given its age. Knowing how well my mechanic has cared for this car since he bought it, I decided to take a trip the following weekend to see family 4 hours away. It did great. Since I've had it I've gone on trips to destinations that are very far away. Longest one being a nearly 10 hour drive to the mountains of New Mexico, the trip home she averaged 34 mpg. She now has nearly 234k miles and has had a couple sensors and valve cover gaskets replaced. This is the best value vehicle you could buy for a grand. Will keep until I get new family vehicle and replace for another second vehicle.
I bought my Altima in February 2011, after spending months searching for an affordable 5 speed car. For an 18 year old with $1000 to spend, it was the best money could buy. It had all manual amenities (windows, locks, seats) but everything worked on it. The A/C only needed a recharge, and while not the strongest or coldest, it was fine for a small car. It had 170,000 miles yet the engine ran fine. I thought for a car of it's class it had good performance. Even though my mom had a new durango, we'd often take my car for trips due to the much better gas mileage. I NEVER had to fix anything with the car, but sadly I had to sell it for tuition. Otherwise, I would run it into the ground.
PROS:Engine, performance, standard features (A/C, tachometer, folding mirrors), seat padding, trunk space, interior space (for its size), maintenance, handling, gas mileage, size
CONS:Unsychronized first and reverse gear (might be my car only), I wish the drivers seat gave a little more room, but I'm large [6'1, >290 lbs.], location of the stereo, center console space, design of the glove box
I drove my '93 car off the showroom floor in August of '93. It has 157,000 miles on it and still runs great. (Had to replace both axels, a couple of fuel injectors and the starter over the years.) Still on the ORIGINAL clutch. I've never seen a more reliable car in my life. Lots of stupid minor breakdowns, like the center console latch, the driver's sun visor and the FM portion of the radio barely works anymore. I'd take a working, reliable engine over all of that any day.