Getting firsthand information from an actual car owner is one sure way to get an idea of car performance once it leaves the lot. Autobytel features real consumer reviews that give the unbiased experience of a car.
2002 Mercury Mountaineer - AWD
Pros: the third row seat and how easy it is to get into and how much room there is
Cons: the seat belts sometime don't recoil and stick out the door
Advice: If you are going to tow a heavy trailer get the V-8 otherwise get the 6 cylAs a Previous owner of a 1997 Mountaineer and moving up to a 2002 with now a little over 10,000 miles on it I'm impressed with the mileage my 1997 AWD V-8 5.0 got 10 mile's around town yet the 2000 with the six cylinder gets over 16 and over 20 on the highway. Not bad for a AWD . I also tow a pontoon 20' 8'6' wide. I towed it with and had no problems except once the ball didn't lock correctly and the coupler came undone and the trailer hit the back tail gate and put a dent in it. I have towed for more than 30 years and never had that happen before my fought and the wife let me hear about it, however the truck was able to keep it under control at 45 MPH to A stop. The dealer when I was thinking of buying the six cylinder assured me it would tow the pontoon and sure enough it does and does a better job than the 1997. The V6 has more HP than my older 1997 V8 and you would be hard pressed not to know it wasn't a v8 under the hood. I have to take the /suv into the shop to correct a tirm piece that fell off the seat for lumbar support. and the brakes which stop you very well seem to stick or the transmission doesn't engage right away after a hard stop and when you step on the gas pedal the car doesn't move right away and jerks this again is only after a hard stop. The automatic climate control with dual temp is impressive as well as the indash 6 changer CD. And at 70 MPH Their is a little noise from the window area.
2002 Oldsmobile Alero - GLS Sedan
Pros: Performance, styling, features - GLS is a near-luxo car for low-luxo price
Cons: More lateral support on driver-seat would be an easy, low-cost fix for GM - (unless Olds is simply counting on all their buyers being under 175 pounds); engine noise when cold can be distracting.
Advice: If you want an extremely attractive, well-built, refined car (albeit with a not-as-refined engine), that's fun to drive and has Lexus-looks and a lot-less-than-Toyota price tag (and on top of that, a luxo-car 5-year/60K warranty), consider the Alero GLS.The Alero has great acceleration and the 4-speed auto trans is smooth and responsive, but the 3.4 V6 engine isn't as quiet and refined as the competition. Alero has an extrememly well-appointed interior, and - when equipped with the GLS model's leather - places in the near-luxury car market. Guages and controls are all well placed, and the interior styling is extremely attractive. GLS sound-system is first rate. Other nice touches include standard traction control, ample storage, and warning lights for low-oil level, oil change need, and low tire air-pressure. Driver seat could use more lateral boasting for us 190#, 6-footers who ocassionally take 2-hour drives (though one can correct this by carefully inserting thick-guage foam rubber square into the back of the seat bottom). Cupholders are somewhat useless as cupholders - though that's a small gripe. Exterior styling is a head-turner and compliment-attractor. Ride is good and handling above-average. However, road and engine noise rate only as acceptable. Overall, Alero is a gorgeously-styled car on the higher-par of larger compacts, creaping up toward the near-luxury segment - and one cause for that egg drying up on the face of GM: for ordering the execution of Oldsmobile - arguably their critical best line of cars.
2002 Subaru Impreza - WRX (M5) Sedan
Cons: Cargo space, pass trough needs to be bigger, or split rear seats would be appreciated
Advice: Make sure you get the wagon if you need cargo space. Other than that, the car is greatThis car is great, accelaration is excellent. Handling is great too, although I wouldn't mind it a little bit stiffer. Fuel ecomony is about what I expected, between 20 and 30 mpg mostly near 20 around town, but I drive a little heavy footed. Build quality is good, the only rattle I noticed in 10000miles was the spare tire squeaking on the metal bed in the trunk on my bumpy gravel driveway. I got some 17in wheels, OZ Prodrive P1's for those in the know that really add character and a few extra mph in corners. The stock tires are nothing special but I'm going to use them in winter...
2002 Hyundai Sonata - LX (M5)
Pros: lumbar - climate control - keyless entry -
Cons: cup holders - poorly placed cruise control switch
Advice: compare features & price with other midsizeON THE PLUS SIDE - Excellent adjustments on driver's seat, interior & exterior styling are improved, dealer financing was at an excellent rate, good standard audio system, ergonomics are very good for most items, keyless door & trunk opener are standard, heated power mirrors are standard, 60/40 split fold down back seat is very useful, standard Michelin tires , sport/auto trans works well, most comparable ares $3000 - $6,000 more. ON THE MINUS SIDE - Cruise control switch is inaccessible, front cup holders hard to access, ABS should be standard on top models, vanity mirror lights don't work unless power is on, no dome light for rear seats, more powerful V6 desirable, larger moon roof possible, leather seats are comfortable but leather is not top quality.
2002 Acura CL - Type S
Cons: Navigation system
Advice: drive it!Accelaration and handling are amazing!
2002 Toyota Corolla - S (M5)
Pros: Good Sound, but too pricey CD player.
Cons: No Seat covers like the Echo
Advice: Remember, ~$1500-2000 less is invoice price.Good all-round, cute Spoiler. If you're in a hot area, remember interior color is important. Black=HOT! :) Pickup acceptable for vehicle (4 cyl) good gas, and control good. No ABS though :(
2002 Mazda Millenia - SS
Pros: engine, ride, material quality inside and out
Cons: deprecitation, back seat room for tall guys
Advice: relatively unknown which leaves room for barginingclassic styling, great quality leather, great engine but mileage is so so, the base model's engine leaves it feeling like it is towing a boat(but it is smooth}, tight back seats, excellent interior material quality and perfect paint, awesome fit and finish, smooth and well controled ride but does have a tendancy to dive and squat slightly during accel/braking, all around I am very impressed with Mazda's 'unknown' luxury car.