I'm looking for a new (used) car to replace my dying 2004 Nissan Sentra SE-R. Yesterday, it got worse when it decided to throw code P0420, which is the catalyst efficiency is below threshold in bank 1. Basically it the cat is failing and has already caused damage to the internals of the engine.

Budget is $17000, 2010 or newer with under 40K miles. I would prefer a manual but I realize I'll have better luck getting struck by lightning than finding one that fits my needs. I travel a lot for work so a mid-sized car with better gas mileage would be better than my tiny, gas guzzling Sentra.

I found this on Carmax

http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/…

its a 2012 VW Passat SE with the I-5 and 5spd manual. What are Oppo's opinions on this? I know its not going to be thrilling to drive, but should I be wary of any persistant issues with this car?

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Thanks!