Our '96 Nissan Serena import had 50k on the clock when we acquired it. It has proven to be an incredibly reliable and capable family vehicle, with 105k now showing.
Only maintenance required thus far has been regular servicing (tuning, filters, fluids), and tyres, although a 'squeaky' brake (maybe a stone) post our last trip to AK, will see it go to the shop for brake service just to be safe.
Keep thinking about trading it on something 'flasher' and bigger, but the Serena is probably beyond compare for the money paid.
It seats 8 in air-conditioned comfort (kids watch DVD's on my laptop plugged into an inverter, which plugs either front or rear). Folding and rotating the seats produces a load space probably double to that of our Falcon stn wgn.
2.0l Nissan Primera engine mated to 5spd box goes like a cut cat (AT transmission would probably be fine for cruising, but from our test drive, I suspect that it wouldn't do justice to the Primera engine on the open road/hills between WGTN and AK). You could lose your license accelerating up the Mangaweka Divide if you were inclined to be so antisocial/inconsiderate of other road users.
The ride is comfortable and smooth, and perhaps surprisingly, our little blue bubble is no wallowing whale. On Dunlop Steeltrak 70s (hardly a low profile race wheel by any stretch of the imagination!), properly inflated, steering through corners is precise and there is little evidence of any sidewall roll. She just sits flat and tracks straight through corners, much to the surprise of other road users, I am sure.
I have heard from UK friends that their Serena went forever and ever, notwithstanding that wifey wanted it to die so she could get something flasher and newer (ended up with a Mitsi Chariot, but I don't know that they moved up). My only concern with keeping ours forever is that living by the sea may cause corrosion issues.
Only one drawback - at 100kph in 5th, the Primera sits on about 3000rpm - bottom end of the power band - so 90kph is better for conserving gas, although the RPM range from 80-110kph produces a tiresome 'booming' exhaust note. A sixth gear would be awesome - perhaps there is a Nissan six speed out there that would retro-fit into a '98...!!
So, what is your average city consumption? I am getting 6.9km/l and highway it's 10km/l. I have changed my distributor and put a bluebird distributor on my C23 Serena. Can that affect MPG?
And it is me again... now at 305,000 Km on the clock. Replaced the starter motor at 299,000 and run across this old review of mine while googling Serena's to find the ancillary drive belt specification to change the fan/alternator/waterpump belt.
Still running fine 6 years after I bought it in 2005 with over a hundred thousand Km added to the odometer.
Very reliable and still comfortable, however she is starting to wallow a little in the corners; at 300,000 Km the shocks are getting close to their use-by date.