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I wanted to know about what vehicle you guys thing I should choose between a 2011 Ford Focus SE Automatic with 197k miles, or a 02 Sentra XE Manual with 96k miles. My mother has both of these cars and is giving me one for free, I'm heavily leaning towards the Sentra because I hate Autos and it has legit 100k less miles on it than the Ford. Plus I hear of people getting near 38-40 mpg in the Sentras if their driving conservatively/normally or do mainly highway while the Focus gets 32-36 driving like a grandma.

I absolutely freaking HATE automatic transmission cars because they have a tendency to go out if you miss any maintenance unless you get a Toyota one, their very finicky and do not like being neglected. My mother has owned the Ford Focus since 120k miles and did her maintenance but before that I do not know the service life of the car or how it was treated, I do know at one point a younger person had owned it because it had a rice-can exhaust I changed for my mother. Another thing pushing me more to the Sentra is that is has a timing CHAIN where the Focus has a timing BELT, and my mother has not changed it since owning the car so I know that service will be coming up soon.

I do not really like Fords either because my Fiancee owned a 2014 Ford Focus SE Auto and we were involved in the huge Dual Clutch Transmission Failure Lawsuit debacle where Ford was pretty much throwing their hands up in the air not wanting to take ownership for their horrid lemon transmission design that was killing car transmissions with less than 45k miles on them. Ever since then I have had 0 respect for the company and their products even though that single instance was only for 2012-2016 Focus and Fiesta models with automatic transmissions, it's just super shade how they tried to sweep it under the rug.

Not to rip into Nissans but the quality of their vehicles has gone downhill quite considerably over the years, I know their older models are still very good and can be very reliable cars. I'm the type of person who as soon as I get a new vehicle I immediately do all the service to it, I have a 98 Civic right now with 128k miles on it (got it at 117k miles) and as soon as I got it I cycled the transmission fluid 3 times and put some Lucas stop slip in it (It was not slipping, just put it in to rejuvenate the seals), suctioned out the power steering fluid (while replacing and turning the wheel to cycle it and keep it from sucking dry), did an oil change with putting some engine flush in it 5 minutes before changing the oil + new oil has "Engine Restore" in it since I've ALWAYS had very good results with that product assisting in lost compression on older vehicles and assisting with other minor engine wear, put a brand new exhaust in it from cat back because the exhaust was rotted away to hell and back, fixed a leak in the trunk, replaced fuel filter/air filter/sparkplugs. I know I kinda got off track with the Civic but I'm saying all this so you know I am the type of person who takes care of their vehicles and maintains them + I can do my own maintenance, I do NOT beat up the car but will get it to higher RPM (1-2k under redline) every now and again just to help break up some built up carbon in the combustion chamber, never for prolonged periods of time though.

I know it is kind of asking for a biased opinion from you guys since you are Nissan fans, but I hope at least some of you can give me an honest, UNBIASED opinion on what you genuinely think would be better in this situation, my mother is good with her cars but she does not go as all out with the maintenance as I do (described above) so for either of these cars I would do everything I did above to them upon getting ownership.

I guess I should also throw it out there that the Ford was a primarily Northern car and the Nissan was a Southern only car (Non-Florida), she recently moved down there a few years ago and picked up the Nissan as a spare car for her boyfriend, but now their both buying brand new Toyota Tundras so their pretty much keeping one car as a spare, and giving one to me.

What are common issues for the 02 Sentras? Anything I should know about or specifically look at when I go to choose one of the vehicles? Also, I apologize if this is not the correct location to ask this or if this kind of "tire kicking" content is not allowed on the forums, please tell me and I will delete it if prompted.. But just know I'm not just gonna turn and burn after this, if I choose the Sentra I will become a fully fledged member of the forums and post updates on what I do with the car + maintenance things and the like. I'm a Disabled Veteran of the Navy so I have nothing but free time and would love a community of like-minded individuals to join.

Please ask me for any more information if you need it, I want the opinion of people who know more about Nissans than myself since I want to ensure I get a quality vehicle, when I go to pick it up I will be taking my OBD II reader and will scan both vehicles too, so that may play a role in what I decide to take..
 

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The way I see it, a timing belt is easier to change than a timing chain, though a timing chain lasts longer. Did a quick google search, apparently the qg18de can last a long time if cooling system is kept in good condition and headgasket doesn't go. Seems to be more bulletproof than our lovely QR25DEs in our SERs and Specs. Not sure what engine is in the 2011 focus, but if it lasted 197k with no issues it must be atleast decent.

How much engine are theses engines burning? If neither of these cars have obvious reliability faults, I'd go with the one burning less oil.
 

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Not really any that I know of, my mother never says she has to add oil to either of them between oil changes.
 

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I'm going to take down my little OBD II reader and a toolkit with me to check the compression/sparkplug color along with other little things like the coolant level/color and air filter, I'll update you guys when I get a chance!
 
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