1996 Nissan 200SX SE-R 2.0 from North America
Underdog of the sport compact world of the mid 90's
Bought it in bad mechanical repair with 220k miles on it.
+ Valve cover gasket needed replacing (every mid 90's car needs this anyway).
+ Needed both axles (from previous driver warping the rims).
+ Brakes on all 4 corners needed (but was incredibly cheap for rotors + pads).
+ Spark plugs, fluids, basic maintenance.
+ All 4 motor mounts worn out (again, just a standard 14 year old car problem).
+ MAF sensor required cleaning; engine cut power at peak RPMs (4000-6000rpm) - fixed the problem.
+ Knock sensor was gone, so replaced that.
At such a high mileage, the transmission is in amazing shape. No problem getting into 1st gear or grinding any other gears.
185psi on the motor across all 4 cylinders. Amazing.
No rust problems, interior has held up too.
+ SR20DE motor is fantastic, has good torque for its size, generally known as bulletproof, and returns good MPG (I average 30mpg with a light foot) for the amount of power the car has.
+ Comfortable for 4 people; amazed at how much room there is in the rear.
+ Pretty easy to work on.
+ Good rear visibility.
+ Transmission/clutch has a good feel.
+ Stock brakes and handling are a bit above adequate, so it may not be a BMW, but it's also not lacking as a commuter.
+ Stock motor is very responsive to bolt on power from what I've heard.
+ Pleasurable to drive in the city, as the low-end torque is more than adequate.
+ Turbo and high output VVT JDM engines swap into this car with relative ease.
+ 'Bag it and tag it' looks.
+ Understeer caused by factory rear toe setting; requires extreme custom work to correct if you are interested in souping the car up; so stick to the older Sentra b14 chassis or something else if you're looking for a car with handling potential.
+ Lack of aftermarket products, because this car was not very popular.
+ Gearing is quite long. It means you get better fuel economy, but the car is not rev happy like a Honda.
This is certainly a function over form car, like many older Nissans. The upside is that it is not a theft target, and more of a sleeper!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th August, 2010
My valve cover gasket and motor mounts are just fine on my Toyota Corolla. The motor mounts are in good shape, and there are no oil leaks around the valve cover (or anywhere for that matter). My Corolla is also a 1996 (making it 14 years old as well), and it has nearly 200,000 miles on it. It even still has the original timing belt!