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: Corners like a champ
Cons: C'mon Mazda...how about a decent stereo? Sound stinks.
Advice: Upgrade the stereoThis is a fun car to drive, no doubt about it. I gave my 99 VW Jetta to my son for college and needed something at least as much fun to drive, but less expensive than 2002 Jettas. That led me to consider Protege5, Civic, Sentra and Elantra GT. The Elantra GT was just as much fun to drive, but...well, it's a Hyundai, no matter how far they supposedly have come since 'the bad days.' The Sentra (I've owned 2, the most recent 10 years ago) continues to disappoint. Nissan doesn't get it anymore...you shouldn't have to spend $19,000 to get a subcompact with a moonroof and ABS. The Honda...well, I think Honda hasn't had decent styling since the '80s. The Protege 5 isn't as good overall as the VW Jetta...but it's darn close, and better in some ways. First, the negative: The stereo truly stinks. I'm already checking out crutchfield.com and Good Guys catalog. There are only 4 speakers (most cars now have 6-7 even in this size). There also is quite a bit of wind noise from the open moonroof, particularly because of the roof rack bar immediately above it, I presume. But I got the 5-speed standard tranmission and that's definitely the way to go. This car corners better than anything I've ever driven and has plenty of pep in the standard tran. The interior is nicely done and the seats are the most comfortable I've seen in a subcompact. The styling both inside and out far surpasses Honda's offerings in the Civic or Accord. This car is a winner...but I still have a fond spot for my Jetta. At least it's in good hands (I hope) and my son is thrilled. It's a great car, too.
Pros: moonroof,sound system
Cons: cruise control
Advice: the best car you'll get for your moneyI was impressed with how much car you could get for the money. This car comes with gas struts on the hood and trunk, you will not crush things in the trunk when closing, like in other cars. I decided on the LS model since it had all the extras for just $800 more than the GLS, and it was the only way to get the power seat. For that $800 you get power seat,moon roof and the leather seats. It also has the best warranty around, speciallly since I keep my cars for a long time. The only thing I really dislike is the placement of the cruise control 'on' swith, it must have been designed by dumb and dumber. I also drove the 2002 Camry which had the smoother 6 cyl.engine I have ever come across, but by the time you added all the other 'extras' its price was up in the 20s. You could also see that it was a car you could get 'bore' with pretty soon. There was nothing boring about the Sonata LS.
Pros: COMFORT +STYLING+RIDE
Cons: AT NIGHT U CANT SEE THE CONTROLS ON THE STEERING WHEEL
Advice: RESAERCH SEVERAL DEALER TO GET THE BEST PRICE!!HAD A 2000 NEON THUOGHT IT WAS A GOOD CAR.....BOY WAS I WRONG ! I BOUGHT THIS CAR CAUSE MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE LOOK, BUT I SOON FOUND OUT THE COMFORT AND HANDELING IS UNBELIEVABLE ,AND THE CAR HAS BALLS FOR A 4 CYLINDER!THE BOSE STEREO WILL BLOW YOUR EARS OUT .NICE CAR A LITTLE EXPENSIVE..... BUT ISN'T EVERYTHING THATS WORTH HAVING
Pros: Performance, styling, features - GLS is a near-luxo car for low-luxo price
Cons: More lateral support on driver-seat would be an easy, low-cost fix for GM - (unless Olds is simply counting on all their buyers being under 175 pounds); engine noise when cold can be distracting.
Advice: If you want an extremely attractive, well-built, refined car (albeit with a not-as-refined engine), that's fun to drive and has Lexus-looks and a lot-less-than-Toyota price tag (and on top of that, a luxo-car 5-year/60K warranty), consider the Alero GLS.The Alero has great acceleration and the 4-speed auto trans is smooth and responsive, but the 3.4 V6 engine isn't as quiet and refined as the competition. Alero has an extrememly well-appointed interior, and - when equipped with the GLS model's leather - places in the near-luxury car market. Guages and controls are all well placed, and the interior styling is extremely attractive. GLS sound-system is first rate. Other nice touches include standard traction control, ample storage, and warning lights for low-oil level, oil change need, and low tire air-pressure. Driver seat could use more lateral boasting for us 190#, 6-footers who ocassionally take 2-hour drives (though one can correct this by carefully inserting thick-guage foam rubber square into the back of the seat bottom). Cupholders are somewhat useless as cupholders - though that's a small gripe. Exterior styling is a head-turner and compliment-attractor. Ride is good and handling above-average. However, road and engine noise rate only as acceptable. Overall, Alero is a gorgeously-styled car on the higher-par of larger compacts, creaping up toward the near-luxury segment - and one cause for that egg drying up on the face of GM: for ordering the execution of Oldsmobile - arguably their critical best line of cars.
Pros: lumbar - climate control - keyless entry -
Cons: cup holders - poorly placed cruise control switch
Advice: compare features & price with other midsizeON THE PLUS SIDE - Excellent adjustments on driver's seat, interior & exterior styling are improved, dealer financing was at an excellent rate, good standard audio system, ergonomics are very good for most items, keyless door & trunk opener are standard, heated power mirrors are standard, 60/40 split fold down back seat is very useful, standard Michelin tires , sport/auto trans works well, most comparable ares $3000 - $6,000 more. ON THE MINUS SIDE - Cruise control switch is inaccessible, front cup holders hard to access, ABS should be standard on top models, vanity mirror lights don't work unless power is on, no dome light for rear seats, more powerful V6 desirable, larger moon roof possible, leather seats are comfortable but leather is not top quality.
Pros: engine, ride, material quality inside and out
Cons: deprecitation, back seat room for tall guys
Advice: relatively unknown which leaves room for barginingclassic styling, great quality leather, great engine but mileage is so so, the base model's engine leaves it feeling like it is towing a boat(but it is smooth}, tight back seats, excellent interior material quality and perfect paint, awesome fit and finish, smooth and well controled ride but does have a tendancy to dive and squat slightly during accel/braking, all around I am very impressed with Mazda's 'unknown' luxury car.
Pros: quiet, smooth, solid handling
Cons: only the payments
Advice: upgrade to the ls modeljust like the tv ad, after driving the impala ls about three feet, i had to have one!