"When setting out to buy a used car, I needed a reliable car that was relatively inexpensive to insure and maintain, and--if possible--at least a little fun to drive/own.
The '99 Altima SE that I found was just that. Though high in mileage, the engine, brakes, and transmission were in great working order. The clutch and brakes were in need of refurbishment, but after 120,000 miles, that was understandable. Besides, that gave me bargaining room with the dealer.
The car was also very roomy: plenty of space in the back seat, even behind me with the driver's seat nearly as far from the pedals as possible (two notches from completely back). And in the trunk, enough room to fit way too much stuff for a single male to be carrying around (coolers, golf clubs, tool kits, chairs, tents, blankets, etc.) Mine has been on many a road trip and always delivered its passengers uncramped and well-rested.
The only issue to speak of with my Altima has been its stereo. I'm very particular about the quality of music available in my vehicle, because my friends and I spend quite a bit of time in it on the weekends. So it was a bit of a bummer that the factory-installed CD player never really worked. The radio and tape functions worked great, but when a CD was inserted, one got to hear the first 30-40 seconds of the first track, then it would quit playing and an error message would show on the display. Again, because I tried it while test-driving the vehicle, it gave me a little more bargaining room with the dealer, but it would have been nice to have not had to replace the entire factory-installed audio system (new speakers are almost always in dire need of bing replaced when buying a budget used car).
Also, just recently the driver's side window switch can be a little temperamental at times--it always goes up, it just needs a little wiggling/extra pressure occasionally. But, again, after 143,000 miles (that's right--23,000 miles in 13 months) that's the kind of thing that tends to happen. And at about $100 (more expensive at the dealership) for the part, it's a not-too-bad aging pain that pretty much any older-car-owner will face--especially if you live in a place in which 8 months out of the year allow for windows-open driving.
In short, my Altima's been a great car while losing very little resell (yeah, right) value. Even though my financial situation has improved considerably in the last year, I'll probably still drive it until the wheels fall off--which, given its current performance/status, will most likely be awhile."
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