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Car Ratings

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.

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    12/23/2001 3:44:50 PM

    2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - C32 AMG Sedan

    Pros: Combination of extreme performance and luxury sedan amenities

    Cons: Nothing, that I could see

    Advice: If you are looking for a performance sedan, drive this one first

    To start, I must confess that I do not yet own one of these. It will take me a few months to raise the price of admission, and then I will own one. But, I certainly have test driven one. With 349 hp up high on the tach and 331 lbs/ft of torque down low, this is a performer, plus. The best and quickest way to describe it is as follows: A friend just bought a new Corvette automatic. I drove his car and was really impressed by the 'pull', but thought it not quite a true sports car by my definition. I said that I wished someone would make a car that performs like that, only in a more refined four door sedan. Well, someone has, and that car is the C32 AMG. Refinement is excellent, and makes the BMW M3 feel like driving a tractor! MB managed to put great performance suspension on the C32 without inducing harsh ride or road noise compared with its lesser relatives, the C320 and C240. With a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds and a 1/4 mile at about 106, it can give some of the senior Porches something to worry about. But it sacrifices nothing a good sedan should be. Very roomy and comfortable inside, compact outside. In my opinion, this is the undiscovered gem of the year. The only downside is the $50,000 to $55,000 price of admission. But considering that it is a true luxury car that just happens to wipe out Porches, that may actually be a bargain.

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    12/23/2001 4:49:45 AM

    2002 Volkswagen Passat - GLS (M5) FWD Sedan

    Pros: Very quiet cabin

    Cons: Body roll

    Advice: Buy it in base model and put some 16 or 17 inch perfromance wheels on it.

    The interior is awesome. Not cheap at all, very Audi looking. The violet dash lights enchant me everytime I use the car at night. Plenty of room in the car. The brakes require very little effort and the abs stops straight. The automatic shift is a little sluggish. I prefer the tiptronic mode, to get the extra power quickly. The Monsoon stereo is awesome. The gas mileage is very good considering it uses premium fuel. The suspension needs some stiffing. It leans alittle to much. This might be from the soft sidewall Michelins, 195-65-15.

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    12/22/2001 7:17:48 PM

    2002 Nissan Altima - 2.5 SL (M5)

    Pros: The powerful Bose stereo system.

    Cons: The fact that the controls on the steering wheel are not at all visible at night.

    Advice: Don't step on the gas too hard when at a standstill as the tires are not grippy and you tend to burn some rubber before finally taking off.

    Prior to owning this car I owned a 2001 Lexus LS430 (I sold due to possibility of layoff). The Altima I chose was a 2.5SL black on black. Although the Altima and the Lexus are in two totally different classes, I must say that I was pleasantly surprise with the ride and quality of a car in this price range ($22k). Also, to be quite honest, I thought the Bose stereo system outperformed the Mark Levison stereo system in the Lexus. Furthermore, this car is a great everyday car which definately proves its worth in terms of fuel efficiency and appearance. One disappointment was that the add-ons (leather, floormats, alloy wheels, etc.) were way too expensive compared to the quality of materials used. However, the quick pickup (180+ torque) more than made up for that. Unfortunately, the engine was a bit noisy (spoiled from the Lexus I think) when revved above the 3000rpm mark. Some sound damping in the cabin interior wouldn't hurt and would only help this car edge out the best selling Accord and Camry. Finally, though I have every intention to purchasing a Lexus once again, I would no doubt purchase another Altima to use as a secondary car in the years to come.

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    12/22/2001 1:04:42 PM

    2002 Infiniti I35 - Base

    Pros: The performance of the 255 HP V-6 engine.

    Cons: The relatively poor gas mileage (plus premium fuel is recomended).

    Advice: Note the legroom if you're taller than average.

    The I35 felt powerful yet tight and nimble. The interior was fairly quiet and luxurious. All controls were well placed and easy to use. The addition of the side sills and rear mud guards give the car a sportier look. Although my wife fit comfortably in the driver's seat, I was a bit cramped at 6'5'. It is an overall awesome car at a great value!

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    12/21/2001 10:44:51 AM

    2002 Acura CL - Type S

    Pros: Sound of the engine

    Cons: Wheel spokes stick out and are easily scratched

    Advice: Drive everything else first!

    While it may not be the tops in its class in any one category, this car does everything so well that the entire package adds up to more than the sum of it's parts. Performance is excellent yet it's a very comfortable car. The gas mileage is good for a 260hp car and there's room for four adults.

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    12/21/2001 5:07:11 AM

    2002 Chrysler Town and Country - EX FWD

    Pros: Power hatches/doors

    Cons: Minivan looks (though it is best of all choices)

    Advice: Haggle--never pay MSRP, even for 'out the door' cost!

    The fit & finish of this vehicle is excellent, and ride & sound quality are first-rate. Lots of content for the price--no one comes close. As for reliability, we will see. But with free 7 year/100,000 mile warranty, at least it won't come out of my pocket!

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    12/20/2001 11:00:01 AM

    2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee - Limited 4x4

    Pros: Performance: Turning ratio and low road noise

    Cons: Rear view

    Advice: Shop priceand finance

    The SUV is quiet, low amount of road noise. I had a 4Runner and it had wind and drive train noise that had me cranking up the radio. The Grand Cherokee's Steering wheel controls are slick. Plenty of grocery room aft without knocking down the rear seats. I have only one negative and that is rear view. The rear window is blocked out somewhat by the headrests. I will get used to the limited rear view, I have less in my Caddy, Northstar. By the way I compared this and test drove the Caddy, Escalade. The Grand Cherokee wins hands down, Caddy is too big and still a GMC truck, nothing 'sporty'. This exceeded my expectations in options, I have it loaded, even the 17' wheels. No buyers remorse, it is fun to drive. I can also flat tow it behind my Safari Motor Home