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.
Pros: The celica engine (VVTL-i)
Cons: The large blind spot. (can be alleviated with larger rear inside mirror)
Advice: Definantly go with the XRS. It is well worth it.The manual 6 speed was excellent and the handling was great... Remember the XRS borrow its engine from the sporty car Celica. The cargo space is awesome and the price is awesome. Remember, toyota is only making 75,000 of these this year. Better get your hand on one or else just wait till next year. The elec outlet is totally unprecedent and I love it with my laptop. I didn't go for the navigation cuz I can just use my laptop as a navigation system. HEHEHE! Definantly go test drive and see this car at the dealer even if you are not looking into buying this car.
Pros: smooth VR6 engine
Cons: all the rest
Advice: buy a previous generation- they had less quality issuesEngine is fabulous except in the first year spent in the dealership more time than on the road because of every possible electrical problem.All the window motors burnt without chance of replacing for lack of spares in the US; ECU was eventually replaced; all anti-corrosion wax melted and ended down on the road; leather seats have no side-bolstering; seat memory never worked; passenger side mirror has a mind of its own; rear view mirror does not automatically dim( I miss a normal mirror).Car is going thru its 3rd battery, for its original capacity is too low for a car with a million of power features.Engine heats up very fast on hot days running AC. Requires Premium gas for normal ride.Original air filter must be thrown away after signing purchase papers-it sufficates the engine from 2500 rpm( replace it with a K&N unit).1st gear engages very ruffly in any situation. Cupholders over the CD tray-Duh!!! Autoclimate controls are too small and too close to a shiftstick, eventually they start sticking to each other. Wood trim though of good quality- was an afterthought by fitment.Outside mirrors should be %10 larger for this size of a car.
Pros: Accelleration and Gas Milage
Advice: My sales person was excellent but watchout for con artists...BE PREPARED!I am have been a loyal Nissan consumer for almost a decade. My first car was a '86 200sx. My parents bought it for my my 16th b-day. At 156,000+ miles, it is a workhorse. I just bought a '02 Sentra GXE two weeks ago. I am very pleased. For an entry level car it has out performs most of the cars in its class. I would advise anyone who is just starting out like me to strongly consider the Sentra.
Pros: The driver controls and instrumentation
Cons: I honestly haven't found a feature I dislike...sorry!
Advice: DriveIt is fun to drive my new 2003 Vibe. Once you're behind the wheel, the experience begins to unfold as you close the door(quality sound) and gaze at the interior design and spaciousness. The Vibe's fit and finish is very good. The driving experience is comfortable, quiet, responsive and secure. For $19,000 this is a well equipped vehicle that is very versatile in it's ability to carry passengers and parcels. A road test is a must to experience this new design, the new age 'station-wagon' of efficiency.
Pros: Six speed manual
Cons: Constant road noise
Advice: Drive the German competition before you buyDrove the Type-S. The transmission may be the best I've ever experienced; very short throw with a satisfying click every time its engaged. Clutch pedal feel is excellent. Braking power is good. The car handles amazingly well for a vehicle with such tall skinny tires and a MacPherson strut set up in front. Took it around intersection corners at 40-45 mph with no tire break free or oversteer. The engine is amazinly willing to spool to ungodly rpm ranges, however, it produces a suprisingly small amount of torque even at its peak. It was an impressively vibration free package though, even at 7,000 rpm. Fit and finish were excellent. In my opinion the GTI 1.8t was a more pleasing driving experience at a similar price. Not to mention the 205 hp VR6 GTI with the new 6 spd gearbox, 17in rims etc which is a much better car. All in all though, its a good car for the teenage boy, its apparent intended audience.
Pros: Economy, Performance, Information center, Quietness
Cons: Rear wiper would have been nice in Minnesota; Low availability
Advice: The factory warranty is good but this car is intricate. Extend the warranty.This cars manages to achieve everything I hoped for in an economy car. It costs more up front than an average economy car but there is tremendous satisfaction owning and driving this car. SULEV, 50 MPG, fun gadgets and good performance go along way toward justifying the higher sticker. There are no feelings of compromise. Mine came overloaded with 6-Disc CD, front and side airbags, GPS Navigation system, alarm, keyless entry, cruise control, power windows, locks and mirrors. It was the only one I could get without having to special order. I heard lately that the Prius will soon be available on the lot. Seating is basic but I am 6'3' and have plenty of room. If you are taller with large legs you may have difficulty sqeezing your left leg between the door and the steering wheel. Rear seating and trunk space is adequate. I love driving my Durango R/T but I also love driving the Prius. Now I drive the Durango only when necessary. Road trips are cheaper than a movie. The Honda Insight is also very good if space for more than two people is not required. My brother is a big 6'5' and finds it comfortable and fun to drive. Ford is also coming out with a Hybrid Escape SUV.
Advice: Negotiate vigorously when considering options/features!The 2002 Nissan Altima took my breath away! I tested the 2.5SL model and was amazed that a 4-cylinder could drive so powerfully. The acceleration is fantastic but be careful, it can really get away from you. This year's model is completely redesigned and is more attractive than its higher-priced big brother, the Maxima. The interior cabin is spacious and gorgeous, with soft comfortable leather. Large trunk, fold-down back seats. The new design is as stylish as some of the higher-end foreign cars such as the Audi A4 or VW Passat. I'm impressed to say the least.