Best bang for buck that runs forever!
By Snowie on
1997 Nissan Altima GXE 4dr Sedan
I got this car as a graduate student in 2000 already with 100000 miles on. 7 years later and now at 253000 miles, it still runs like the first day I got it! I've only started to use premium maintenance parts on it 6 months ago (synthetic oil, good filters, good spark plugs which I doubt played any part in the reliability). It is still giving me up to 36 mpg hwy!! It has no rust - tiny spots on the front due to stone chips easily fixed with a tiny scraper and a touchup paint pen. Engine uses timing chain, superb reliability. Major maintenance in the 7 years was a starter, a clutch, a muffler, CV joint (shaft). Usual parts: batteries, brakes, fluids and oil, filters and struts.
Engine - super reliable, ample power and sips gas slowly. Body rustproofing - holding up very well at 10 years old! 4 wheel disc brakes w/ABS - works great up here in New England snow. Extremely affordable to buy and own! Expect to get 500,000 miles out of it with no major problems.
Change out mediocre sound system (easily done). Awkwardly placed cupholders blocks radio. Plastic headlight lens tend to fade with age. Polishing with a lens polish helps.