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 Saturn S-Series - SL2 (M5) Sedan
Pros: Its known reliability and good value for its price range.
Cons: Wide turning circle and several little things are just not thought out.
Advice: I Like it, but perhaps wait to see the redesigned 2003 S-Series.It is a good car for the money. I thought the SL2 was a better value than the SL1 when you upgrade the SL1 to Auto, A/C, and Option Pkg. My car had two sample defects. One broken air vent fascia and a rattle that went away (probably a broken piece from the vent fascia). The car is comfortable, handles well, and has enough power when you step on the gas. Dealer handled transaction quickly and I was able to switch cars four times and walk around unattended -- during the sale -- all I needed. The car if reasonably well designed, though my very old Honda Civic still had a lot of usability/design features that were better thought out. Like why does the lower part of the trunk latch have to stick up? I tear stuff on it all the time. Why not recessed? And the tire jack and tire are a pain to get out, use, and put back. I was amazed, though, that Saturn stands by their 30 money-back guarantee. People regularly come up and ask about my Saturn and tell me of either their, or someone they know, experience of what a good, reliable car it is.
2002 Acura RSX - Type S (M6)
Pros: The power and quickness. It purrs like a kitten and growls like a lion when you want it to!!
Cons: No arm rest for for long trips.
Advice: Buy it. Great value and you will have fun with it.Awesome! The Type S has great short throw shift gear. Let me just say I've raced this car hard on the freeway and backroads and it is amazing. The car will hug hairpin turns with great stability. The bucket seats help you stay in place with any hard sharp cornering.
2002 Ford Explorer - Eddie Bauer 4x2
Pros: New Styling
Cons: No 3rd seat option for XLS model
Advice: If your looking for low cost SUV, look at Explorer XLS modelLooked at numerous year end SUV offers. 2002 Ford Explorer 4x4 was by far the best choice. Awesome new styling. Quiet ride. Great room compared to other vehcles (Santa FE, Escape, CRV, etc.) in this price range ($24,500). Great Ford financing! 4.9 60 months, 3.9 36 months, 3.9 24 months....
2002 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 - 4x2
Pros: Functionality - Hands down
Cons: Rather hard to park
Advice: Get the running boards...it sets rather high off the groundI first heard about the new Avalanche in the office where it was refered to as a 'what the Sport Trac wants to be'. That about sums it up. It drives like a luxury car (albeit a large one) but has the versitility and function of a truck. What could be better. I get stares and looks wherever I drive it. Really a well thought out and well developed vehicle.
2002 Ford Escape - XLT Choice (400A) 4x4
Pros: Mid-sized truck and power
Cons: Sickening drivetrain quality
Advice: Dodge the Dodge! Don't buy it!Initially, the truck was great. It's a mid-sized truck which means it's a narrow version of a full-sized truck. This is good in city conditions. Power is great, which was also a deciding factor. The rear differential had to be rebuilt (under warranty) at about 8,000 miles. The transferred case had to be rebuilt (not under warranty) at about 36,000 miles. The transmission gave out at 53,000. One might think that the drive train fell apart under abuse, but I've had GM vehicles go 200,000 to 300,000 miles with only expected maintenance. Unfortunately, Dodge has all the modern quality assurance practices of 1935. I will never again buy another Chrysler product!
2002 Jeep Liberty - Sport 4x2
Pros: Power/acceleration, and the raised view.
Cons: Not being able to find the options I want in my area.
Advice: If you want rugged, w/power and comfort, this is it.Although everything on the Internet says that both engines are available in the 5-speed manual, the dealer (just north of Philadelphia) said that they won't be avaliable until the end of the year. Having driven sticks for the last eight years, I was leery of what kind of power and acceleration differences the automatic transmission would have. Now that I've test-driven 3.7L V6, I'm not worried at all. The acceleration from standing-still and the passing power were the same as my current car (3.1L V6 5-speed manual Chevy Cavalier), if not better. And the ride was nice and smooth, especially over all the potholes in my area. The only negatives - the view out of the rear-view mirror is tiny (get used to looking over your shoulder), and, if you're used to anti-lock brakes, you definitely want to get them as an option with the Liberty. Other than that, it's a GREAT vehicle.
2002 Jeep Liberty - Sport 4x2
Pros: I like the good view of the road and the cup holders in the back doors.
Cons: The tire in the center of the back door.
Advice: Test drive other vehicles and you'll appreciate the Liberty design.I really like the way the Liberty looks and feels. It is a sporty vehicle. CUDOS to the Jeep designers.