My dad gave me this car because he was hoping a free car would motivate me to learn to drive a stick shift. It did. I got it from him at about 90k, drove it till 125k. I know he had to have some sort of major engine overhaul done to it. I never had any major problems, just routine maintenance. It got excellent fuel economy, 30+, and had good shifting and acceleration. It was a very small car, sometimes uncomfortably small. I did get hit in it, rear-ended at about 45mph. I was okay, just shaken up a bit, airbags didn't deploy or anything. Car was still drivable, back crunched in a bit, insurance totalled it. After that, I was that guy with the trunk strapped down with a bungee cord.
I brought my first 1996 nissan sentra GXE about 5 years ago.....for about $3500. It has been the best car that I have owned. Went everywhere and without complaint. took the best care of my baby. could fit both of my tall sons in the back with room. When i finally blew a head gasket last week I considered getting something else but my car guy said that he had the same make and model just 2 years newer and for under $2000.00 he would take my old and give me new.....I took it. My son wanted me to get a volvo that he had on the lot but I saw the 98 and it was not even an option. I had to have the nissan. Now I have my baby 2.0. My car guy will fix the 96 and sell it for a profit. WIN WIN!!!
It does not feel like I am driving a tank. I love the gas mileage. One tank last me over a week. Like my phone, the most important part of my life. Care is the easiest. Oil and plugs are the most simplest to change that a five year can do it. Easy to retro fit after market radio so that I can hook up my mp3. Absolutely no major problem until last week and even that is able to fix. My car guy is the greatest.
I am original owner of a 1998 Nissan Sentra GXE and have put 180,000 miles on it over the past 11 years (I was 21). Back seat is tight, but have used this car going back and forth to school and work (45 minutes each way every day) for a long time and have hardley had any work done to it. Recently replaced the starter and alternator and the body needs help around the tires, but I DEFINITELY got my money's worth and believe it would still last another few years if I got the rust fixed. I'm sad to see it go, now that I'm looking to trade it in for a bigger, more family-friendly vehicle. My husband even wishes he purchased a similar vehicle years ago instead of his fancy Chrysler Sebring.
Comfortable driver's seat (cloth seats), no major blind spots, reliable and economical car - fuel efficient! Great car for single person just driving back and forth to work/school (have a 2nd, larger vehicle for family trips). Passenger ok, and only occasional back seat passengers.
Back seat if tight - no tall people allowed. This is a tough car for families...a full-size stroller fills the entire trunk, so with a diaper bag and a couple toys in the back seat, the car is full!
I bought my Sentra GXE brand new. This car has taken a lot of beating, lots of harsh/snowy winters. Drove in the mountains OH-MD 8 times/year in its early years for 4 years. No major maintenance issues, brakes 1x, oil changes, the oil seal replaced at 60k miles, 2 sets of tires replaced. It still runs great, very good mileage, highway, city. They don't make cars like this anymore, extremely RELIABLE! If I had the opportunity I will buy it again. My car has low miles and all the mechanics tell me is in mint condition especially since it has low miles. They tell me they have seen them in the 120K miles and still running great. I hope to keep mind till it dies.
This has been a fantastic vehicle since I bought it in late 04. Bought it at 90k or so, no problems at 137k. The only issues I have had from it were the ones I discovered on leaving the used car lot: an oil leak from the main seal and some electrical issues that the previous owner tried to fix himself. Those have been the only things I have had to fix or have fixed since driving the vehicle, apart from oil and brakes. It got over 40 mpg highway when "new"; now it is closer to 30 mpg, but still not bad. Plenty of power for driving in hilly areas, AC blows cold enough for this Alabamian (in Seattle), hauls LOTS of stuff. Very solid little car.
Reliability of the powertrain and overall build quality. Large cargo area, with fold down seats for long stuff. More solid feel to it than any of the Happy-Meal-type cars I test drive these days. I suppose the technical term is "high-quality plastics".
Put a decent cupholder in it next time. This one blocks my (aftermarket) radio, and pushes buttons on it if I start or stop too fast :-P Also, there's not a really good place to clip on a clippy cupholder, either.