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 Maxima - SE (M6)
Pros: Handling and ride.
Cons: No mute button on the stereo.
Advice: Do your homework and be prepared to be surprised.The ride is wonderful. The acceleration is not to be believed. Went from a 2000 Malibu LS to this car and will keep this car until it falls apart. I got the SE for the firmer ride, but liked the comfort of the GLE also. Love the braking. Recently saved me from a bad accident, someone turned in front of me and at the speed I was going, if I had been driving the Malibu I would have destroyed both cars. Have had it 3 months and fall more in love with this car everytime I get in it.
2002 Nissan Altima - 3.5 SE (M5)
Cons: interior plastics
Advice: Buy it!!The car looks great! Drives like a luxury car. handles like a sports car. I love my Altima. If your in the market for a midsize sedan such as a camry or an accord. Test drive an alitma!!
2002 Audi A4 - T (M5) quattro Sedan
Cons: remote trunk release location
Advice: you must test drive this car before buying another makeThis is my 3rd Quattro in 11 years, and this is the best (plus 2 Beemers). The 1.8T engine is amazing, but a 6 speed would help to bring the rev's down on the freeway. The standard suspension (w/16in wheels/all season tires) is outstanding, and plenty firm enough - unless you want to autocross! I'm 6ft, and rear seat room is fine, if you need more buy an A6. In short this is one terrific sport sedan.
2002 Volkswagen Jetta - GL TDI (M5) Sedan
Pros: Warranty and winter package
Advice: Upgrade to the winter packageTest drove the 2001 TDI in Germany and found it had plenty of power to survive and even enjoy the Autobahns. Purchased same featured car in the USA and have no regrets. It isn't about how fast but how far you can go. 1st tank produced 49+mpg with the air conditioner on. Quite, torque, it just isn't a pocket rocket.
2002 Toyota Camry - SE V6 (A4)
Pros: The car feels 'solid'.
Cons: The grinding sound with wheels spinning on snowpacked roads.
Advice: Test drive this car on a rural road covered with snow and black ice.On dry pavement our Camry V6SE is great.Since it snowed here two days ago, driving is rated 'poor' because even with 'traction control',we can't get this car up the driveway. Perhaps I need to sand the driveway and put on snow tires. I didn't bargain on this kind of problem. I have another car, an '87 Dodge Colt. It got up the driveway with no problem. What gives?? Disappointed in Millbury,Mass.
2002 Mitsubishi Galant - LS
Pros: The looks. It is different from the usual Accord or Camry
Cons: 4C has little power, no 60/40 split rear seat, little leg room for rear passengers
Advice: Test drive both the 4C and V6 as well as the Accord or Camry. For a 4C the competition has more powerThoroughly impressed with the looks and the interior but the 4C leaves a lot to be desired. If you are looking for power this is not it. The car seems to hesitate when you pass on the highway and has little get up and go from a stop. The V6 would probably be your better option
2002 Volkswagen Jetta - GLS L (M5) Sedan
Pros: Egronomic controls
Cons: Monsoon radio and speakers cannot be simply updated or changed w/o modifications.
Advice: Listen for rattling noises in the doors (both driver and passenger side).Be sure and test drive all models. That way you can determine gas mileage versus pickup. My recommendation is to buy the 1.8 T since it is the best of both. You get pickup when needed as well as very good gas mileage (24 mpg city/30 mpg highway). I would also recommend if you get the 1.8 T get the sport handling package and the 17' wheels.