This was my first car, back in '05. I was a teenager, and I came with all the neglect and rough riding that teenagers do. With that said, I have abused this car. I have driven it in to ditches, driven without an oil pan plug (25 miles with oil spewing the whole way!), gone almost 2 years with no oil change, and ramped the thing off a hill doing 90mph. The last one flattened the oil pan. And yet, the car put up with my retardation. The worst it has ever needed was new CV joints. Repairs are few and far between, and cheap when you need them. I still have the original engine and tranny, and both are somehow still going. This car will never let you down.
Air conditioning is so powerful, I have to turn it off for a bit even during the summer (with original freon!). Car is the most dependable thing I have ever seen, and I have put it through some paces. Power everything as far as options go, and the steering is sporty and responsive enough to make it a fun driver. Oh, and the mileage. It easily gets in the 35mpg area, which some cars have trouble achieving that today. Parts are cheap and easy to come by, and the car is simple enough that even I can make some small repairs. A great first car and hopefully my last car.
Heater is lackluster. The engine stays cold during the winter months, so bundle up or freeze. The automatic seatbelts could use a bit more dependability. And if you're bigger, the back seat will not be a comfortable fit.
I purchased this car in thinking it would only last me a year, ha, was I wrong. I started with 88k and it currently has 173k and still running strong. My only major repairs were a clutch replacement, front driver wheel bearing, and water pump. Aside from normal maintenance this car will not give up! It is my daily driver (gets around 30mpg on the highway) and if I could buy another one with low miles I would do it in a heartbeat.
Easy to work on
Does not want to give up
This older model Sentra has been such a reliable car. I bought it when I was in college at 110k miles on it and drove it the 300 miles back and forth between my hometown and college for 2 years, and at that point it was already 13-14 years old! Does great on the interstate. The only thing I didn't like about it was it doesn't have a lot of "get up n' go" when accelerating and it tends to lose momentum/power when going up hills, especially when there is more than 2 people in the car. Like every car, there's mechanical work to be done. I have replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump 3x in the 5 years that I have owned it. Nothing else major. Overall, super good, reliable little car. Loved it.
This has been a relatively low cost car to own. It gets 30+ mpg when driven normally. The smaller engine makes it tough especially when the car looses quite a bit of speed when climbing hills. It just keeps going. Ours has 183k miles and a cousin has one with 250k miles.
low cost of ownership.
Nissan was smart to put a larger engine into the newer sentra's. The lack of power/torque is a major deficit.