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 Subaru Impreza - WRX (M5) Sedan
Pros: Mix of power and handling
Cons: sound of the trunk
Advice: keep an eye on your speedometer!My first experience of the WRX was on a drive from Santa Fe to Taos, NM. Traffic was crawling up the twisty Rio Grande Gorge at around 50mph with little chance to overtake. Finally as a clear straight came up I chopped down a couple of gears and the turbo kicked in like a swift kick in the pants. Before I knew it the car accelerated to 90 and I was back in my lane safe and sound. I was sold!!! The chassis is great, providing sure-footed handling. The seats are very comfortable and the Momo steering wheel is sweet. Sure, there are a couple of quibbles - the doors and trunk are pretty tinny and the body is an acquired taste (which did grow on me) but overall I cannot think of any car that offers as much fun for the buck as the WRX on the American market. How about a Mitsi Evolution, Nissan Godzilla or Lotus Elise for the U.S. market to see what the rest of the world gets?!?
2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer - LS 4x4
Pros: RIDE AND HANDLING
Advice: CHECK IT OUTREAL NICE VEHICLE
2002 Acura RSX - Type S (M6)
Pros: New engine.
Cons: blind spots.
Advice: Be prepared to be blown away!An excellent replacement for the Integra, upping the ante in the process. I bought a 1999 Integra GS-R two years ago and have loved it. But 15 minutes in this car and I'm seriously considering trading the 'old' girl in. I love the changes, from the nasty new growl and very quick rise to the 8000 RPM redline of the i-VTEC to the improved stiffness and reduced body roll of the MacPherson struts during cornering. Nice low end torque now. Where I had to give the Integra a fair amount of gas to get going from a standing start to keep it from stalling, the RSX almost leaps off the line in comparison. The car feels weightier and more glued to the road without sacrificing agility. This car feels much more like a luxury sports car should feel. I love the racecar inspired ammenities (small diameter steering wheel, racestyle bucket seats, racecar style gauges, etc.) They also finally have some decent cup holders in this car. There are a couple of blind spots, but the larger side mirrors can be adjusted to compensate adequately. The new transmission is a little tricky to get used to but shifting is smooth as glass. I wish they had put lower profile 17 inchers on it instead of the 16's. Also, heated seats (hey, it is a luxury coupe right?) would be a nice touch on a cold winter day. These are minor quibbles though. All around a great. Test drive it, you won't be disappointed!
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.