Right now, I have a 1996 I30 (Maxima) with about 280k. It passed inspection (good until 2020), but has a lot of rust, including the radiator support, which will cost at least $600 in labor from a local body shop. It might be leaking a little bit too, as sometimes it smells inside when there is heavy rain. All the electronics work, including the cigarette lighter, windows, locks, etc, except the motorized antenna which is stuck in the up position. It has heated seats and mirrors. The interior is mostly in good shape, but with a few tears, but definitely not bad for the age and mileage. The AC is cold, and I’ve never had a problem with the AC in the three years I’ve owned the car.
 
However, besides the rust, I still can’t adjust the TPS just right. Even after I adjust it so it has the correct resistance values, sometimes it still jerks or otherwise doesn’t behave properly. Rarely, it will stall. (It used to stall constantly before I replaced it) I do find it annoying.
 
The PCV valve has some oil around it, even after replacing it. Both the old and new PCV valve were/are OEM Nissan. The EGR tube may also need to be cleaned out, but that job can be difficult as well. Gas mileage around 20 mpg combined city/hwy, which is just one less than the new 2008-adjusted EPA figure for this car.
 
I replaced one of the fuel injectors about 2 years ago. Luckily, it was in the front bank that you can actually access, but if any of the rear injectors go, taking apart half the engine again will be a huge undertaking, plus having to buy all three injectors! I already replaced the valve cover gaskets, so I know how difficult the job is to get to the back of the engine. I don’t want to do that again.
 
I am considering buying another car, a Mazda 6 hatchback, with a 4-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. It is a hatchback, which is more practical, the manual transmission, has a rear wiper, better cupholders, most likely better gas mileage and easier to work on. The clearcoat is starting to wear, but there is no rust. The biggest issue with these cars seems to be rust, but the one I found isn’t rusty.
 
The particular example I am considering is about $2000 and has a couple issues like any car in this price range. The cigarette lighters don’t work (previous owner was a smoker), could either be a fuse or the lighters need to be replaced (doesn’t seem that difficult/expensive to do). The headliner is sagging. The radio display is garbled. The AC isn’t cold (but the heat is hot). It might need tires (again, not a big deal, as tires are a wear item). It has an oil change sticker from Jiffy Lube with a due date about 1000 miles more than what is on the car now (in the high 170's). And a couple other slight cosmetic issues.
 
My biggest concern with the car is that when I scanned it with an OBD2 scanner, it shows 4 monitors not ready (cars newer than 2001 are only allowed to have one monitor not ready). However, the car did run/drive smooth. Although this may indicate either the dealer or the previous owner resetting the computer before selling the car, it is also possible that either it will be fine, or that the problem won’t be difficult or expensive even if the CEL does come on (for example, oxygen sensors are about $30 and very easy to replace)
 
So, is it worth buying the Mazda? The issues seem less serious than what I have now, but my biggest reservations are the cigarette lighters and the OBD not being ready.