The kind of car that's a first car for a teen: Hated, then looked back upon as your favorite
Transmission failure at 101K soon after moving to the valley from the mountains.
Exhaust leak at downpipe/manifold interface.
Piston slap, and valve noise when cold at about 100K for the piston, and about 50K for valves.
This isn't really a problem, but the suspension is washy, and feels like it has blown dampers at 50K. Makes for some... interesting mountain road experiences!
It handles like a road legal go kart. 75mph in the corners in the mountains!!! Never felt like it was TOO bad as far as handling.
SLOWish!!! In order to keep a steady 75-80 on the freeway, it's almost floored, and kicking down a gear a lot. Then as soon as you slow down for someone in front of you, the fun's over, start in gear 2 until you're at 6000 RPM, then pop it in drive. It accelerates out of the hole pretty well though. 0-maybe 35 is relatively quick.
Loud engine. Buzzy and harsh in hard driving conditions. My 00 Xterra is less harsh, and I'm running a top mount filter no AB, and 248-248 cams in the KA24DE. Kinda fools you into thinking that you're moving REALLY fast. This could be partially because of the exhaust leak. No... it is because of the exhaust leak. I tightened the bolts, bought new gaskets, new manifold, new downpipe, and it keeps COMING BACK!!!
The transmission when new was really smooth. Then it got really jerky, and then one day driving in town going like 35, the engine revved out to 4000 slowly, and the car slowed to a crawl. Made a nice smoke show, smelled like a science experiment, and the tranny was DEAD! Now that it's replaced, we beat the crap out of this car. Smart I know.
Interior is AWESOME!!! If you are normal sized. I'm 6'3". I have the seat pegged back, and resting on the floor pretty much. I like how the seats fold, I literally put a semi disassembled 91 RM125 in the back!!! Now if you're normal, my skis also fit very well, bags galore, and downhill mountain bikes. This car took me to Iowa and back many times.
This car got pretty good mileage too. Not quite 45 MPG at one point in Kansas on a flat country road going 55!!! It's fun to see what kind of mileage you get, so I got a computer. When we drove like a bat outta hell, we got about 15 MPG, which still, for how much we were beating this car, isn't THAT bad!!!
Now some odd things. Starts really good 9-10 times. 1-10, it takes about 20 minutes to start. I don't understand. I seafoamed it, new injectors, fuel pump is running great, new plugs, blah blah blah. And when it decides to start, it jumps to life VERY suddenly and revs to about 3K for a sec. The brakes are ABS, but lock up sometimes. Shifts really weird on slick surfaces like gravel/slush. Give it all you can in drive from a stop and it hesitates, burps, then accelerates. I'm intrigued.
Other than that, and the fact that it's as exciting to look at as a drying picket fence in a suburban neighborhood, it's pretty sweet.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th June, 2012