New 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.
2002 Saturn S-Series - SL2 (M5) Sedan
Pros: Unstoppable control on ice & water (but buy good tires).
Cons: Cheezy interior fabric - like those 1970s velour shirts...
Advice: Upgrade the interior to a sturdier cloth interior or use seat covers. The original interior damages too easily.We actually didn't even test drive it until after we decided to buy it! We didn't have as great an experience at the dealership as some have written about (it was OK) but that was the last reason we chose to buy the car. We bought this vehicle after it was returned by the original owner within the first 30 days of ownership (military restationed out of the country & couldn't take the vehicle with them). The tape deck malfunctioned after about 9 months and they replaced it for free while doing our normal warranty work - they didn't even ask! We've driven this thing through more than 3' of snow, 2' of standing water & slush, mud, rain, you name it, we've been through it. We commute 60+ miles each way 5 days/week and have more than 110,000 miles on the car now. We live in Southcentral Alaska and in the 6 years we've had our SL2, we managed to get it stuck ONCE when we high-centered it at the mailbox. We use good tires w/ studs in the winter, but no other vehicle we've owned compares (including the Honda Accord). The only major complaints we have are the cheesy interior, lack of comfort on long drives (we both have long legs & even the front is uncomfy after about 4 hours or so), the wimpy door seals whose glue couldn't stand up to our cold temperatures, and the expense involved in replacing body panels. We had 1 accident 2 weeks after we bought it and the flex panels were so cold (-10F) that they shattered upon impact at less than 20MPH. The other guy's pocketbook was pretty sore - $1800 worth of damage because he hit 3 panels & shattered chunks out of all of them. Ouch. We love our Saturn dealership as they are always willing to go the extra mile. Our alternator quit 5,000 miles after the extended warranty expired (by miles not by time) and because it was so close, they split the replacement cost with us. Overall, the best thing about this car is the amazing control for turning, stopping, and general maneuvering on ice. It has great power and a very low center of gravity. We've never found ourselves ditch-diving with it. DEFINITELY buy the Lifetime Oil Change wherein you get free oil changes (except cost of filter) every 90 days or 3000 miles for $189 up front. Of course, don't buy this if you plan to sell the vehicle or move before this service pays for itself, it's only good for one owner of the car at one dealership. We have our oil changed about once a month because we drive so much and they do our warranty service at the same time. I would like this car more if they offered a better quality & more ergonomic interior.
2002 Nissan Sentra - SE-R Spec V (M6)
Cons: seats could be softer
Advice: not a family car, otherwise buy it! Affordable.It's almost pertect. The sport tires and custom wheels blow the field away in style. The power, WOW! The accelleration is unbelievable! Other vehicles in it's class feel sluggish after an exhilerating spin in the SPEC V. Mash the gas pedal after shifting into second and feel the G's. Handles beautifully. Interior? Unique and very attractive. Body style impressive, people notice you. Seats could be more cushy.
2002 Hyundai Accent - L (M5) Hatchback
Cons: feels cheap and possibly less safe as some others in its class.
Advice: Just getting to and from places at a low cost buy the car.98 thousand miles not a single problem except for a master slave clutch cylender covered under warrenty. I've abused this car and it has not sought retrobution. I've only change dthe oil 5 times and replaced the front brak pads once. The car still seems to be going strong. For the price it cant be beat. Going up hills it passes the Hondas and other subcompacts. It may be the fuel injection. It revs out with noise at about 80mph but can go to 90 or 95 without a problm for short periods. For the price and reliability and function of getting from point a to b its a great car.
2002 Ford Focus - ZTW (420A) Wagon
Cons: Could use a bit more power going up hills here in Atlanta
Advice: Test drive in both traffic and open road conditions.Just took delivery and have less than 1500 miles. Atlanta traffic was killing my 99 Grand Marquis and went to a more practical car. Best move I have made. Very nimble, quick in and out of traffic. Brakes very solid.
2002 Mitsubishi Lancer - LS
Pros: She drives like a big go cart. Lotsa fun!!
Cons: The center consule is both too low and not long enough. Can't rest right arm on the console and touch the steering wheel. I am trying to find an aftermarket something? to set on top of it to make this more comfy on longer drives.
Advice: I heard next year a bit larger engine is in store. Get a better price.This car handles quite well around the twisty roads in my areas. 40 mph curves be had at 65. Road noise is average. Verry roomy! Pretty good CD sterio. The engine doesn't really kick in till 3000 rpm. Then its fair. It's loaded up pretty nice. I did think it is a bit pricy. I paid $15,897. I would have been happier at about $1000 less, but still it's a well built car and if it's pretty much trouble free to 100,000 miles I'll be more than happy with the price.
2002 Nissan Sentra - GXE (M5)
Pros: Feeling of comfort
Cons: Actual passenger space and cargo space
Advice: Go for itAfter having test driven 2 different Sentras I was hooked. The seating could be more comfortable and there could be more leg room, but I get an overpowering sense of comfort. It was well equiped on the GXE models without adding anything, and this I really liked.
2002 Ford Focus - SE (400A) Wagon
Pros: safety record
Cons: size of the rear seat
Advice: It claims to get 32 freeway miles per gallon. It's realy about 25.The focus wagon handles well however it is very light and has trouble in the wind. Also it only seats five if the ones in the back seat are very, very, small.