1992 Nissan Sentra E Sedan 1.6L Inline-4 from North America
Strong, even until the end
The previous owner (a family member that gave the car up after deciding to purchase a new one) had overheated the engine extremely, burning almost everything within the engine. Still, the car started up and ran fine, with the exception of very bad timing (which I later fixed, just for fun) and extreme knocking.
First off, I would like to say that I respect Nissan greatly. They, along with Honda and Toyota, are number 1 in reliability, overall performance, design, etc.
The previous owner of this didn't care much about the interior; dirt everywhere, dust, spills, stains, etc. It was given to me for me to decide what to do with it. I already had three other running cars at the time - a 2001 Subaru Outback Wagon, 2000 Honda Odyssey LX, and 1990 Infiniti M30. The Sentra did not replace any of my other cars; it just sat in the yard to be tinkered on for no actual reason at all.
The 1.6L inline-4 ran strong prior to the previous owner (a fellow family member of mine) ignoring the rising engine temperature and overheating it drastically. Even after he gave the car up to me with the extremely damaged engine, it started up easily and ran like nothing had happened, aside from some bad knocking/misfires, and offset timing. Still, it would pull itself out of it's little spot in the yard and refused to give up on itself; Nissans never do :).
Sadly, just last year I was forced to have it towed to a local junkyard. I needed to free up some space in the yard/driveway, and with the condition it's engine was in, I couldn't let anybody use it daily. I'll miss the Sentra dearly, and I'll always remember how every day it started right up and just ran regardless of the bad timing or misfires. It was strong, even until the end...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th July, 2007
J.D. Power ratings uses the actual # of repairs under warranty and is very accurate. They put Nissan #23 in reliability ratings under their power train. I'm going for power train reliability, since that is what your review is based on. Yes, foreign cars are reliable. Domestic cars are just as reliable. The truth is that this is a "perceived reliability" and not actually proven. The amount of repair claims speaks for itself...
http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/index.htm to see which company is actually most dependable.. "Perceived reliability" can get you in trouble.
The Consumer Reports usually list the major difficulties with the cars. Many domestic brands have minor issues that add up over time and become very irritating and costly to deal with.
Domestics nickel and dime consumers on a daily basis and make them feel "patriotic." Japanese makes usually last longer than domestics before any major repairs are necessary.
My 1987 Maxima lasted 20 years with only an initial recall and no major problems. It was retired only because a young driver caused it to be totaled. I prefer Japanese over American cars any day.