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 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 defectsThis 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...
2003 Pontiac Vibe - GT FWD
Pros: handling and comfort
Cons: I haven't found anything yet.
Advice: test drive and enjoyThe 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.
2002 Nissan Altima - 2.5 S (M5)
Pros: The style of the car
Cons: The trunk hinges
Advice: Skip the Accord, Camary, and all the others. Nissan scored big with this car.This car is the quickest four cylinder that I have ever had the privilege of driving. The car handles great, and is comfortable. I would recommend that you keep your money and get the 2.5 S with the convince package or the 2.5 SL. Skip the basic Altima, because the extras give it class.
2002 Nissan Maxima - SE (M6)
Cons: Questionable rear end styling
Advice: Price compare at the dealerships. I had 3 bidding for me.I love this car. I've had it about 6 months and it's great. It is the second Maxima SE I've owned. The first being a '92. Before the '02 came out I had my heart set on a Acura TL Type S. With the new refinements to the Maxima SE I think it's a better car. More room, equal power and a lower price. I'm 6'6' and I have plenty of room. It's a great car.
2002 Audi A4 - 3.0 (M6) quattro Sedan
Pros: Standard 6 disk in dash CD player & power folding mirrors
Cons: Wheel selection
Advice: A6 3.0 is a better deal than a fully loaded A4 3.0 Go for the A6!!My wife drives a 96 A4 and we loved the way it drives, however the back seat is way too small. The A6 3.0 Q is a great bargian for a sport/luxury car and Audi is the best at all wheel drive. The lighter engine gives the A6 excellent acceleration and with the tipronic it is a fun car to drive. Some question the The non-linear steering but I like it. This is an awesome automoblie for the price.
2002 Nissan Maxima - GXE (A4)
Pros: Powerful engine/smooth transmission/HID headlights
Cons: Rear 'multi-link' beam suspension
Advice: Be persistent when bargain! Dealers will likely sell the car at invoice or even lower cost since the new 03'-Maxima is due soon later this year.The car has a lot of pickup, though torque steer can be scary at times. The HID headlights are a very nice feature! It sure make the car feel luxurious when luminated at night. Handling is up to par comparable to many good & expensive european and other japanese automobiles. It's a quiet performer too but wind noise can be improved. The unique appearance of the car will grown on you with time.
2002 Ford Crown Victoria - LX (200A)
Pros: Rear-wheel drive
Cons: gas mileage
Advice: Buy the Sport -- handling vastly better than std or LXThis model is the LX Sport with increased power and upgraded wheels, tires and suspension. Surprisingly good on back roads (though not a TR-3) and plenty of passing power on the Interstate. Smooth, quiet and extremely well outfitted interior. Very comfortable. Mileage is what you would expect of a 2-ton V8 -- about 19 mpg.