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Coupes and Compact Cars 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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Coupes and Compact Cars
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    3/29/2002 7:59:57 PM

    2002 Pontiac Grand Am - GT1 Sedan

    Pros: ram air and appearance especially the chrome tech torqued wheels

    Cons: leather seats not heated and not enough support from the side bolsters

    Advice: get the gt1 model or at least the gt model as they look much better than the se model and they also have the ram air v6

    fun car to drive and it looks great the upgrade to the gt1 and solid value package with leather seats,moonroof,and chrome tech torqued wheels is worth the extra money the 4 door model makes it easier to put a car seat in the back and for adults to get in and out of the back seat the car is a great value when compared to other cars in its class especially when taking advantage of the $2002 rebate being offered by GM

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    3/28/2002 11:47:07 AM

    2002 Ford Focus - ZTS (500A) Sedan

    Pros: The Stability/Traction control

    Cons: The cheap plastics and seat fabrics

    Advice: Like most American cars this is one to lease not buy

    The rental car interior and horrible styling ruin what are excellent driving dynamics. The shifter, shift linkage, and clutch simply aren't up to par with the meaty steering. Ford needs to copy the quality of the materials in the competeing VW Jetta/Golf, and they would make the best small car in the world. If Mazda's engineers were allowed this platform for the next generation Protege they would be well on the way to a great car. For now the Focus is hobbled by corporate cost cutting and a cartoon-like styling. The great stength of the car is safety. However, I had to order mine, because Ford Dealers won't order their cars with side airbags and without that stupid rear spoiler. Hasn't anyone told them that excessive rear downforce is not good on a front-drive car.

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    3/27/2002 9:18:01 PM

    2002 Nissan Altima - 2.5 S (M5)

    Pros: Exterior looks

    Cons: Defects, cheap interior feel

    Advice: Wait a couple of years before buying, inspect CAREFULLY when buying for defects

    This will be the car you love to hate, and hate to love. Good power, good handling, great looks. But lookout for the defects: radio static from ignition coil, thumping sound from gas tank, and the engine makes a fairly loud vibration sound in gear between 2500-3500RPM when cold. These problems have been only partially addressed by Nissan. Interior is comfortable, but plain and has a slightly 'cheap' feel. I would wait a couple of years to buy this model...

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    3/27/2002 7:07:04 PM

    2002 Kia Spectra - Base (M5) Sedan

    Pros: mileage

    Cons: music system

    Advice: check consumer reports if you really want the skinny. This car is rated as good as a Honda

    I am saddened by the reviews I've read already on this car; I have a 2001 Sephia that I've NEVER had any troubles with!! I've driven this thing into the dirt, too! less than one year old, and already 31,000 miles on it! No maintenance except for basics like oil change. I don't understand why these other people had troubles. Not a one from this beauty. Definitely would recommend it to a friend

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    3/27/2002 9:26:45 AM

    2003 Hyundai Tiburon - GT V6 (M5)

    Pros: The looks

    Cons: No ABS without a sunroof on the automatic

    Advice: Make sure you don't need room for more than one adult or teenager. Back seats are for small packages and pets only.

    Sharp looks! I get lots of second looks and every kid in a tuner wants to race me, it seems. I haven't given in to the urge to compete....yet. But this car will surprise many people. It is fun to drive and very responsive. I keep reading where testers think the car is slow or underpowered. I beg to differ. It is a bit heavy for it's size, (over 3000 lbs curb weight), but compare it's low end torque and sophisticated engine to any American sports car and you'll be pleasantly surprised. No,it won't blow the doors off a Mustang or Camaro V8, but it will certainly hold it's own against stock Celicas, Probes, Civics, Eclipses and Acura RSX types. I like the spartan interior. It reminds me of German styling and I find it refreshingly simple. It doesn't flaunt it'as style like so many similar car interiors, which I find overdone and plastic. The one professional review here complains about the hatch being hard to close. If he'd looked closer, there's a recessed grip at the lower right of the inside panel, that makes grabbing the spoiler unnecessary. This car's handling is very tight, although it does exhibit a fair amount of understeer (easily compensated for once you get a feel for it) due to the heavier V6. Torque steer is also evident at lower speeds in lower gears, but is manageable. Overall, I love to drive this car. Plenty of punch in it's stock form, above average handling, and the stare factor is very cool!

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    3/25/2002 5:14:52 PM

    2003 Pontiac Vibe - GT FWD

    Pros: handling and comfort

    Cons: I haven't found anything yet.

    Advice: test drive and enjoy

    The moment I sat behind the wheel I knew this was the car for me. It's very comfortable and handles great. The sound system and roominess make it a pleasure to drive. I've owned my Vibe for a month now, and did have a scare. About three weeks after purchasing my Vibe it wouldn't idle. I took it to the dealership and there was a small glitch in the computer system that had to be reset. Since then it has run fine. I was expecting maybe something like that would happen in a brand new model. I would still reccommend this car to anyone. It's a great ride.

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    3/25/2002 9:00:16 AM

    2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse - GT

    Pros: Good performance, tight steering, soft suspension.

    Cons: Occupied cup holders hinder operation of standard shifting.

    Advice: Check into the zero, zero, zero specials Mitsubishi is having. You can finance for a year with no payments / interest then re-finance at a decent interest rate saving a lot of money.

    The Mitsubishi Eclipse is a very well built entry-level sports car. Don't expect to take off like a rocket, but do expect a comfortable amount of power and looks at a very reasonable price. There are a few considerations you might want to make before purchasing this vehicle though. First, the cup holders will hinder the operation of the standard stick shift. Mitsubishi put them directly behind the shifter. So when you go to Taco Bell you may want to go with the medium drink. Second, it is covered with nooks and crannies that can hold water. This means that after a long day washing the car you'll still get water streaks after you take it on the road. Third, you will want to make sure you have at least three lanes to make a u-turn. The turning radius leaves quite a bit to be desired. With this cars low profile you'll want to make sure you keep away from those curbs. All in all this is a great car. I love mine and intend to keep it for quite a while.