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 Mazda Protege5 - (M5)
Pros: Corners like a champ
Cons: C'mon Mazda...how about a decent stereo? Sound stinks.
Advice: Upgrade the stereoThis is a fun car to drive, no doubt about it. I gave my 99 VW Jetta to my son for college and needed something at least as much fun to drive, but less expensive than 2002 Jettas. That led me to consider Protege5, Civic, Sentra and Elantra GT. The Elantra GT was just as much fun to drive, but...well, it's a Hyundai, no matter how far they supposedly have come since 'the bad days.' The Sentra (I've owned 2, the most recent 10 years ago) continues to disappoint. Nissan doesn't get it anymore...you shouldn't have to spend $19,000 to get a subcompact with a moonroof and ABS. The Honda...well, I think Honda hasn't had decent styling since the '80s. The Protege 5 isn't as good overall as the VW Jetta...but it's darn close, and better in some ways. First, the negative: The stereo truly stinks. I'm already checking out crutchfield.com and Good Guys catalog. There are only 4 speakers (most cars now have 6-7 even in this size). There also is quite a bit of wind noise from the open moonroof, particularly because of the roof rack bar immediately above it, I presume. But I got the 5-speed standard tranmission and that's definitely the way to go. This car corners better than anything I've ever driven and has plenty of pep in the standard tran. The interior is nicely done and the seats are the most comfortable I've seen in a subcompact. The styling both inside and out far surpasses Honda's offerings in the Civic or Accord. This car is a winner...but I still have a fond spot for my Jetta. At least it's in good hands (I hope) and my son is thrilled. It's a great car, too.
2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport - LTD 4x4
Pros: I like the heated seats and the sun roof
Cons: The shape of the side views and the lights do not turn themselves off after I open the door - I think automatic lights should be standard now
Advice: Don't buy it retail, the dealership will come down like $1500 off MSRP at least - get the 3.5L engine if you need the torqueI am really enjoying my new Mitsu Montero Sport Limited. It's a sharp looking import SUV with out the price tag, although it's a bit pricey, the value of the equipment and every option, the Mitsubishi name and of course the syling make it worth the price. I've always owned japanese vehicles and this is my first mitsu, I have nothing to complain about other than some silly engineering quirks. My opinions though.. The engine is powerful enough to tow 5000lbs and the on-the-fly 4-wheel drive is great and I can't wait for it to snow. I'll be back with an updated review later.
2002 Buick Rendezvous - FWD
Pros: The ride and handling is one of the best features ...
Cons: I guess the worst feature would be the Firstone tires ... all the other packages have the upgrade.
Advice: Get the versatility package. ... this is a cross between a Suv and the utility of a Van.I just purchased a Buick Rendezvous ... compared to other vehicles ... It does most things better ... it's roomier ... has a better ride ... it's all galvanized ... stainless exhaust and it also gets much better gas milage ... 26mpg ... is very good for a vehicle that weighs over 4,000lbs ... and 4,000lbs means safety ... there is no substitute for safety. I'm over 6ft tall and I fit ... my knees do not hit the dashboard and my hair doesn't hit the ceiling like most small SUV's that cost more than the Rendezvous. It handles very good and rides a lot more quiet than a mini van ... the 3.4V6 has 185HP which is more than most ... It should be just as reliable as my Montana which I've had for 3 years ... which means it is as reliable as any vehicle on the road ...
2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer - LTZ 4x4
Pros: Heated leather seats
Cons: Gas mileage
Advice: None - it's a fabulous vehicleThe Trailblazer is absolutely AMAZING! Not only is it a sharp looking SUV, but it's powerful yet comfortable. It handles like a car...smooth, quiet, and refined. It also has a great turning radius. The interior is spacious with lots of leg room. With a 270-hp engine, getting around the mountains and towing a boat has been a breeze. Highly recommend this vehicle!!
2002 Hyundai Sonata - LX (M5)
Pros: moonroof,sound system
Cons: cruise control
Advice: the best car you'll get for your moneyI was impressed with how much car you could get for the money. This car comes with gas struts on the hood and trunk, you will not crush things in the trunk when closing, like in other cars. I decided on the LS model since it had all the extras for just $800 more than the GLS, and it was the only way to get the power seat. For that $800 you get power seat,moon roof and the leather seats. It also has the best warranty around, speciallly since I keep my cars for a long time. The only thing I really dislike is the placement of the cruise control 'on' swith, it must have been designed by dumb and dumber. I also drove the 2002 Camry which had the smoother 6 cyl.engine I have ever come across, but by the time you added all the other 'extras' its price was up in the 20s. You could also see that it was a car you could get 'bore' with pretty soon. There was nothing boring about the Sonata LS.
2002 Nissan Altima - 2.5 SL (M5)
Pros: COMFORT +STYLING+RIDE
Cons: AT NIGHT U CANT SEE THE CONTROLS ON THE STEERING WHEEL
Advice: RESAERCH SEVERAL DEALER TO GET THE BEST PRICE!!HAD A 2000 NEON THUOGHT IT WAS A GOOD CAR.....BOY WAS I WRONG ! I BOUGHT THIS CAR CAUSE MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE LOOK, BUT I SOON FOUND OUT THE COMFORT AND HANDELING IS UNBELIEVABLE ,AND THE CAR HAS BALLS FOR A 4 CYLINDER!THE BOSE STEREO WILL BLOW YOUR EARS OUT .NICE CAR A LITTLE EXPENSIVE..... BUT ISN'T EVERYTHING THATS WORTH HAVING
2002 Lexus ES 300 - Base
Advice: the car will give trouble-free service--very solid power trainvery good veh--under rated in it class