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 Toyota Tacoma - (M5) 4x4 Xtracab
Pros: TRD package
Cons: price price price
Advice: if you want a true off road truck this is iti have a 4x4 xcab 4banger toy with the TRD package with the locking dif. Let me tell you that this 4banger truck goes places most Z71's and other full size trucks could only dream. It's so refined and smooth yet it can play in the rough stuff too. It's truely a swiss army knife. It's priced high but i belive you get what you pay for as I owned a GMC and it was a hunk of junk.
2002 Mitsubishi Diamante - LS (A4)
Pros: Power, ride and handling.
Cons: Cup holders.
Advice: Don't write the Diamante off without driving it.Over all, I am very pleased with the Diamante. The engine has plenty of power to make driving this 'family car' exciting. I find the ride and handling to be exceptional, even on icy roads, and the heated seats (part of the winter driving package) make those early morning commutes bearable. The interior of the car is well designed. Visibility is good with no real blind spots, and the sound system is more than adequate. Four “good sized” (I am over 6 foot and weigh 260 lbs.) adults fit comfortably inside. The leather seats, moon roof and programmable remote system (for garage doors and gates) are also very nice additions that come standard with the LS. While I have not owned my Diamante long enough to comment on reliability, a colleague of mine has had one for 5 years and it is still going strong (having survived two teenage drivers) with over 138,000 miles. He liked his so well, he bought one for his wife. My only complaints are minor. The cup holders stink. Anything larger than a small cup of coffee does not fit securely anywhere. Also, the remote controls for the stereo are not very convenient to use. I find it easier to use the knobs on the radio. Finally, while the Diamante is very sleek looking, I personally like the curb appeal of the Audi and Lexus better(however, not enough to justify the extra cost). I looked at the Lexus ES 300, Audi A6, Toyota Camry and the Mercedes M class. While you cannot go wrong with any of these cars, in my opinion, you get the most bang for your buck with the Diamante. In reaching this conclusion, I did take into consideration the fact that the resale on the Diamante will, in all likelihood, not be as good as it would be for the other models. However, I tend to own my cars for many years and to drive them into the ground. As a result, resale value was not as important to me. Also, the zero percent financing offered by Mitsubishi was hard to beat. If your ego can handle having to repeatedly respond to “Diamante, who makes that?,” a question rarely asked if you buy any of the other cars I considered, the Diamante is well worth a look.
2002 Ford Escape - XLT Choice (400A) 4x4
Pros: It has very good handling in traffic and on country roads
Cons: Placement of the gear shift lever is awkward
Advice: If you are looking for a 4 1/2 passenger smaller SUV with a lot of good features and good power and handling, this is a good choice.It has good handling on many different road surfaces and in traffic and on freeways as well as country roads. It has better window and mirror than on the other SUV's I sat in. I like its rugged looks, its versatility and its ample room as a small SUV.
2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer - LT 4x4
Pros: There are so many. If I had to pick one, I would say the automatic lights.
Cons: The only negative I found is the Gas Mileage
Advice: This is a great vehicale. You will love it.I was amazed to see how much it felt like driving a car. I basically do not like driving but this vehicle is absolutely FUN to drive.
2002 Buick Rendezvous - FWD
Pros: Fold down and removable seats plus flat floor providing much cargo space
Cons: The engine lacks power
Advice: Get the versatrak optionThe quality of ride is excellent for a vehicle of its size and capacity; the appearance is good as well. For an active person who wants to transport bikes or skis or trees for that matter, it's great. The one negative is the lack of power when accelerating from a dead stop. The vehicle needs more horsepower at its weight.
2002 Volkswagen Jetta - GLS 2.8L (EOP Week 40) (M5) Sedan
Pros: the V6 engine
Cons: the gas milage
Advice: Beware of the gas milage claimsThis is a truely comfortable car to drive. I've owned the 4 cylinder also and the V6 is much smoother and quieter and plenty powerful. The fit and finish are excellent, although I have had some problems that are a little concerning to me such as the passenger window falling into the door, and the springs under both seats falling out. Minor, but irritating. The biggest surprise has been that the car does no better than 278 miles on a tank of gas, far short of what was claimed. I drive 148 miles each way to work, and have not gotten 300 miles from a tank yet.
2002 Jeep Liberty - Sport 4x4
Pros: The reinforced steel cage.
Cons: The door opening width.
Advice: Its a great nimble 'small' suv with lots of interior room.The Jeep Liberty accelerates quickly and manuveurs like a sports car. I am getting close to 20 mpg on the 3.7l v-6 engine. It has more leg and head room than the Grand Cherokee, which is a plus since I am 6'3'.