Used Wagons 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.
2003 Saturn L-Series - LW300 Wagon
Pros: New styling for 2003 is great - finally a Saturn that's beautiful.
Cons: Cruise control problems. Revs from 2500 to 4000 RPM when traversing uphill.
Advice: Skip the Premium Option Package. OnStar is worthless without Driving Directions option (not included with First Year Free deal).Handles like a sports sedan. Plenty of power in the passing lane. Surprisingly upscale look to new L models. Two problemns - when using cruise control transmission does not shift smoothly. Whenever we climbed moderate hills the transmission abruptly shifted to a higher gear (RPM revved from 2500 to 4000). Also, while this is minor, it is annoying: the change in db's from one notch on the radio's volume control to the next is too wide. One click down in volume, not loud enough. A click back up, too loud. Overall, if you've wanted to buy a Saturn because of their great service reputation but didn't like the pedestrian styling of previous models, the 2003 L Series is for you.
2003 Pontiac Vibe - AWD
Pros: Comfort, visibility of the road, and cargo utility
Cons: Needs a slightly more powerful engine
Advice: Overall, an excellent buy. Successful Toyota-Pontiac collaborationAn excellent alternative to gas guzzling SUV's. The Vibe rides like a bigger car, seats 5 comfortably, and has tons of cargo space. For the price, you can't beat it. Air conditioning, and am/fm CD is standard. Very good quality of workmanship for a new model. Although gas mileage is very good, a slightly stronger engine would be a plus. I'm spoiled however in this area since I also have a 1998 Pontiac Grand Am GT with a V6, and have always driven either a V6 or a V8.
2003 Subaru Legacy - GT (M5) Sedan
Pros: Subarus excellent AWD system
Cons: Headroom could be better
Advice: Sporty alternative to SUV, inc. options=excellent valueI was seriously considering a 1999 Audi A6 until I came across the newly designed Subaru Legacy GT 2.5 Sedan. Low and behold, I ended up with a sporty, brand new AWD sedan for less than I would have paid for an almost 4 year old Audi. The Audi is a lovely car with a superb interior,(best around in my opinion) but the absolute worst designed cupholders imaginable (tiny, pop out plastic things located OVER the radio!) and a poor reliability record for the '99 model I could afford. The Legacy model in previous years has boasted an excellent reliability rating as well as safety rating and should continue to do so in this model. Fun to drive,excellent visibility, good handling, terrific braking and a fabulous array of standard features sealed the deal for me. My Legacy GT has a nice leather interior w/ 8 way power drivers seat, dual front & side airbags, ABS, heated front seats, power moonroof, nice radio w/ 6 disc in dash CD player & weatherband (nifty feature!), heated side mirrors and much, much more. The dealer gave me an excellent price, I paid just over $24,000 for this loaded AWD sedan-the Audi was more $ with 40,000+ miles!I even ended up with the color I wanted-a beautiful metallic silver with a dark grey leather interior. All in all a LOT of car for the money in an attractive package that is truly fun to drive,with very responsive handling and braking. It could have better pick up when accelerating but it is more than adequate-a 6 cylinder would be terrific, though. My husband at 6'1' found the interior height a bit cramped. There is a surprising amount of room in the back seat, I have 12 & 14 year old boys and they are comfortable back there. Gas mileage is good as well-around 21/27-much better than most larger SUV types. If you are in the market for an AWD vehicle and want value for your dollar in a sporty package the Subaru Legacy GT 2.5 is definitely worth a look.
2003 Volkswagen Passat - GLS (M5) FWD Sedan
Cons: At 6K miles, car has been towed to service twice for faulty coils that had to be replaced. Car was missing badly both times.
Advice: Check policy on loaner while car is in service especially if your dealer is more than 20 mi from where you live.Love the way the car feels and handles. Love the small turn radius. Love the body design and color, blue silver is a head turner. Tiptronic gives the thrill of manual transmission.
2003 Pontiac Vibe - GT FWD
Pros: My favorite feature is the capability to fold down the front passenger seat along with the back seats..it provides so much room to carry things. I wish I had this car when I drove my daughter to college!!!
Cons: There is nothing I don't like about this car.
Advice: Buy and enjoy!!!!!!!!!I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! This is such a comfortable vehicle. I love it's looks, I love the sound system, I love the moonroof!!!!!!!!! It drives so nicely!!! There is so much room in this car...I call it my little big car.
2003 Volkswagen Passat - GLS V6 (M5) FWD Sedan
Pros: The powerful engine
Cons: A segment of the front grille keeps popping out
Advice: Go for it! You are getting the same engine as the Audi A6, but much cheaper!This is a great car. My previous car was a 1996 Honda Accord LX. I am really happy with the switch. The V6 engine is surprisingly powerful and is a pleasure to drive on the highways. The looks of this car are guaranteed to turn heads. The dealership people (McKenna VW in Norwalk, CA) are very helpful.
2003 Audi A4 - T (A5) quattro Sedan
Pros: Heated Seats
Cons: Rear winodw
Advice: Get an internet price quote!! I saved over $2000 dollars that way!Very fun to drive! The A4 has a nice quiet, smooth ride. The steering is very responsive: I can take turns much faster than I usually do. The car also has great acceleration. Love the standard 6-disk CD changer, and the stereo has decent sound, even without the BOSE upgrade. My wife vowed never to leave the passenger seat once she turned on the heated seats. That's fine with me! I get to drive! I do have some reservations about this car though. When the car is in the 'D' position, it likes to downshift a lot, especially when changing speeds on the highway. However, the acceleration is much smoother when I use the 'S' position for driving. The downside is that I don't get optimum gas mileage when I do that. The 1.8T as of now does not come with power seats, which is kind of annoying since my wife and I have to re-adjust the seats mirror, etc. every time we switch drivers. I think I heard power driver seat will be included in a package later in the year though. Another thing that bothers me about the A4 is the fact that the rear window is very small, and there are blind spots generated by the wide pillars flanking the rear window. It makes it very hard to parallel park, although I'll probably get used to it over time. Overall, I believe this car was a great buy. Compared to any other luxury car, you get a lot more of both fun and elegance per buck. Looking to buy your first 'nice' car? Consider the Audi A4: It's worth it!