Pros: Sleek looks, nice features and thy're giving them away
Cons: Long term durability
After owning a 1999 Alero GLS for 61,000 miles (see review there) I decided at the end of my lease to try Oldsmobile again. Much to my surprise I found out there were no more lease packages available (Oldsmobile is being shut down by GM) but purchasing the car was now about the same price as the lease! Needless to say, I reupped with Olds.
The car a purchased was a Black, 2dr GLS, fully loaded with Neutral leather interior and Sport handling package. The car, equipment wise is identical to my 1999 lease(with the exception of the gold package). A few important changes have been made to the car since 1999.
First off, the rear view mirror is vastly improved, with a larger, oval shape that allows for better visibility and improved coverage of the rear window. The visibility in the 1999 always had problems. They still havent improved the goofy dangly wire that leads to it though, for the map lights. They HAVE, however, darkly masked the windshield so that it can't be seen from the outside. Big deal. This should have been fixed long ago, it looks cheesy from the inside.
The stereo had an interesting improvement as well. Better speakers and better controls, including an RDS feature that brings you traffic reports, storm warnings and station info over a seperate band. Nice feature here in AZ during monsoon season. The speakers are particularly improved in the rear area-- the 2002 doesn't get the nasty reverb you got in 1999 model when the bass was too high.
Controls are slightly improved with 2002 model as well. Knobs are much larger on the climate controls and easier to see, but work the same as the 1999 model. Other controls are the same. Seatbelt hooks are larger too to help eliminate seatbelt twist that is so common in GM cars, particularly in the rear seats. Fold down seats are offset too, as in the 1999 model. Also ,they put small baffles on the sides of the power seats to prevent small items from rolling under the drivers seat..nice touch, for slobs like me. The forward cupholder/ashtray is still as useless as ever, mounted in front of the gear selector the way it is. I had hoped they would have fixed this by now.
The wheels this use use a modular design that brings the look of the car up to date, and the rocker areas are enhanced with larger mouldings. They give the car a beefier look.
Operationally, it feels about the same as the 1999 model with little to no difference in the way the car performs. with the 3400 V^ it has good acceleration and the handling package with the 16 inch wheels and Eagle GT tires make for a very sticky car. Torque steer is still noticible though under hard acceleration, but this is unavoidable with front-wheel drive cars and almost 200 hp under the hood.
It should be noted that new Olds come with 5 year 60,000 mile bumper to bumper coverage. Fabulous for a GM car, this warranty along with the 2002 dollar rebate makes this car a 'best buy'