I purchased a 02 Nissan Sentra GXE in Dec of 2001 from our local dealer in Petaluma California. At the time, we also considered Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla but ended up with the Nissan because the interior of the Sentra looked much better than the rest.
Our Nissan was ok for the first several years but it started falling apart as soon as it hit 100k.
Everything from faded paint to the on board computer (ECM) went out at a cost of $700.
Next the transmission went out as well as the seatbelts and etc...
Now I understand why people buy Toyota's.
Meanwhile, a friend of ours has a 02 Corolla with 200k and it's still running strong.