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.
155,000 miles and I've only needed to put 4 tires, 4 plugs, oil and gas. It is a great commuter car, tough on the body for really long rides though. Works great for my family of four. No ABS makes it a little tricky on snowy stops. It's been a great car over the it's ten years of use... more reliable than my other new vehicle.
Reliability and fuel economy.
More padding in the seats and the AC pulls on the power at highway speeds.
We recently bought this car for my wife to drive. It needed a bit of work, but turns out the car is very easy to work on yourself, and the parts generally cost less then most (mainly because of popularity of the car). I really appreciated the diagnostic computer that you can use without any of the special hook up tools to figure out what that pesky check engine light really means. The car does have some weird vibration noises at times, but we got use to them, and the previous owner (friend) has heard them all along. Great Gas millage as well!!! We get close to 38 on the highway, which is better then my friend gets with his brand new Honda Civic
Diagnostic computer that doesn't need special tools to use. Great Gas millage. Very reliable.
Accessory belts are very hard to get too. And would love it if the drivers seat went back just one more inch (a little short for both my wife and i who are 6')