2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R 2.5L from North America
Fun but unreliable
Decent car, looked good, was inexpensive when I got it, low payments, big engine and low KMs.
It was very quick off the line, but it lost power in the upper band really badly. Also the paint and interior quality was kinda cheap. Also a lot of the components were cheap. Here's a list of things I did over the years:
Radio stopped working ($300+ for an aftermarket and kit).
Brakes, all 4 corners, rotors and pads ($800, around 50,000 kms).
Headlight (plastic clip melted, had to replace bulbs and bend clip back into shape; still had issues long after).
Battery died, wouldn't charge any more ($100 for replacement, around 60,000 kms);
The biggest problem was the engine; seems like everyone with the 2.5L had issues with them failing. Mine needed a new head gasket at just under 80,000 kms. That was a unexpected $2000 expense; but I think I saved myself needing a new engine because I caught the oil/coolant levels early (radiator was almost empty, and there was no oil on the dip stick).
Not long after that, I was rear ended at a red light. I have to give the car good marks for safety; both my girlfriend and I walked away from the accident. The SUV that hit us made contact at about 50kms, the entire back of the car was punched into the backseats, the rear bumper turned into dust, and the side panels were wrapped around the rear tires. But even though the car was a wreck, anyone inside would have been OK.
If you own one, watch your coolant and oil levels. If you start to get low, you probably need your head gasket replaced like I did. Even though it sucks and is a waste of money, a $2000 head gasket bill is better than a $5000 engine replacement.
Other than that, the acceleration was awesome, and the handling was unreal, super tight in the corners, go-kart like. If you can, get the stick shift though; the automatic really limits the fun of this car, and it kills the gas mileage.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 26th July, 2012