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Oldsmobile Alero



  • hi board, I'm in the market for a car. I'm leaning towards a used one. God knows i can't afford a new one. me and my girlfriend are about to have a baby here in about 6 weeks. I know I have to get a sedan, because of a car seat issues. And I was thinking about getting an alero sedan for a car, but I have yet to hear some reviews. So can someone please help me in my decision for car hunting? and which trim is best for a family car. I'm thinking about am Alero because I can't get the sports car I want, so I was thinking maybe I can have the best of both worlds(Sedan/Sports car). So I was thinking that a GLS is the best package/trim to get. Can someone advise me which trim is best.

    Very Kindly,
    The World Iz Myn
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Congratulations! Any of the trim packs will do fine for the kids.

    But I would stay away from leather with kids. In fact the best interior for kids is the all vinyl with 1 piece plastic floor that is found on GM taxis. That way you can just hose out the car! Just kidding.

    But kids are rough with the irks, vomitting, explosive diareah. Then you will find lollipops, gum, cookies, chocolate, etc stuck to the seats. The worst is the red slushy poured on the seat (not just a little bit, the whole thing). I didn't mean to alarm you, all parents have gone through this. You will survive and so will the car. Best wishes.
  • jlc011jlc011 Posts: 2
    Hi, I've been looking at the Alero since the finance offers are so great. I found a 2001 GL4, I think, Sedan. It has more on it than I would want, but it is a 5 speed and those are pretty hard to find. It has the Special Edition Package, spoiler, and sunroof. The MSRP is $21045.

    Here is the kicker, it is a DEMO!! It has 5900 miles on it, which seems like alot. The dealer said he could let it go for invoice. He didn't say what invoice is, but Edmunds lists it at $19259.

    This seems a little pricey. gives a used 2001 a retail value of $16345. I know that technically this is a new car, but it is really used to me. So what would be a fair offer?

    I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know if there any dings or what-not. I'm going to try to test drive it tonight, since I haven't even driven one yet. Atleast then I'll know if I should keep looking.

    Any opinions, should I pass on this and keep trying to find 'new' 2001 5-sp? Or, just grab a 2002?

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I would go for a 02. The 2.2L is a better engine and I think it's still got the 0.0% financing anyway.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 330
    The only problem we've had that's on your list was what I described above, the plastic button breaking off the gear-shift handle. Our car is still under warranty, and so our local GM service center replaced the gear-shift handle today, at no cost to us. I can't believe your dealership just superglued your button back on. Did they not order a replacement part to replace your current gear-shift handle? Yours should be covered by the warranty just like ours was (and ours is a 2000 model).

    On another bulletin board, I did encounter someone who said that occasionally her transmission slips. The first time this happened, it was weird; as I recall, she said that while her car was in park, her speedometer climbed to 180 mph. She has a 1999 model, and apparently has had a lot of trouble with hers. She says the tape deck has never worked, and she's been having the same problem with her brakes that others have described here; when she touches the pedal, it starts throbbing, as if the ABS is constantly engaged. I have a feeling she's got the same faulty (warped) rotors that others have talked about, but it sounds like she's getting the runaround from her dealership. I suggested that she check this bulletin board and see what others were saying, and also to post about her experiences to see if anyone had any suggestions, but I don't know if she ever did.
  • In response to burdawg: I don't think it is just engine noise (you don't happen to work for the service department do you? that's what they told me too! ). It happens under 20mph, and at times when the car idles. When I stick my head under the hood, it is more of a metalic sound, like something is rattling, or loose.

    In response to evandro: Could you explain a little more about the noise you had? It sounds very much like mine.

    In response to cnew: I am really sorry about the lemon you got. And when dealerships "appear" to take a lazy attitude, it makes it worse. Could you also explain a little more about the noise you heard only when your A/C was turned on?

    It sounds like both evandro and cnew had similar problems, with similar solutions - the compressor. If you both don't mind, could you explain a little more about the noise. What did it sound like, etc.

  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    In my case, a rattling sound would come from the right side of the hood (where the serpentine belt is located) when the engine (3.4 V6) would rev down after being revved up, even if just a little. It was a knocking noise located in the low, bass range. It would rattle for just a few seconds and stop, but sometimes it would even without revving the engine up.

    At first, I thought it was an engine mount going bad, but it turned out to be the AC compressor, according to the dealer. Once it was replaced, the noise was gone and never came back again.

  • fclspatfclspat Posts: 61
    I think paying invoice for a used car is a ripoff. I got my 5spd for $120 over invoice and it had six miles on it! Considering its already October, I'd go for a 2002 (even though I love my 2001 5 spd).

    If you are in no rush, see if you can get a dealer to order a 5spd equipped exactly the way you want. E-mail the local dealers and see what deals you can strike up. I've got two dealers in CT that would likely give you a great deal...

  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I was surprised how easy and straight forward it was to buy a car using GM Buy Power! The Internet sales manager was very forthcoming from the beginning, saying up front that he'd close the deal at invoice price. I've heard the same experience else where, so I guess this is a policy.

    Give it a try and good luck!

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I agree with evandro. My wife used BuyPower to get email quotes from dealers for her Alero, and ended up getting a very good price. The GM dealers were very responsive - more so than I've seen with other makes. Of course, we live near Detroit, so maybe that makes a difference.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I live in Texas and in less than 24h got responses from about 6 dealers in a 50-ml radius through GM Buy Power. Amazing! The easiest and smoothest car purchase experience I've ever had. Even had room to negotiate a warranty extension... ;^)
  • jlc011jlc011 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice!

    I do have time to look. I currently have an Xterra with about 3 yrs left on the loan. The only reason I am looking at new cars is because of the great financing offers. The 2002 Alero looks good and 0.9% for 48mos. is pretty inviting. Then I saw that the 2001s had 0% for 60mos! Even better!!

    I found this car through the Buy Power website, so I was pretty disappointed when the dealer said it was a demo. I don't think they should list it as a new car, but they do. Anyway, I emailed him yesterday to see if he had any other 2001 5-spds or if he could find one. I haven't heard back yet, though.

    BTW, I am no stranger to buying a car on the web, that's how I got my X back in Jan '00. I got it through at less than invoice. They had to kick in about $1300 to the dealer. The week after I got mine, they raised the price about $2000! Easiest and best car buying experience I've ever had, too bad they are out of business now.

    I went to and they quoted invoice for 2002 GL2 with the options I want. $18622, I think.

    I might hold off for now and wait and see if they offer 0%/60mos on the 2002 after Jan. What do you think the odds are of that?
  • Is an alero a good car for a brand new family. Or are there better cars out there that are good for a brand new family? I'm gonna have a baby in about a month, and was wondering if an alero was a good reiable car to buy. I've asked for advise on this board before, but I need more feedback. Please if you are reading this and own an Alero GLS, give me some type of a review comments to help me in my search.
    Very Kindly,
    The World Iz Myn
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    theworldizmyn : My mom has an Alero and I think it makes a great family car. It's not huge, but it's big enough for a small family and the trunk is quite large for the size of car.

    jlc011 : Probably not much chance on the 0.0% for January. I'm sure rates will still be good then though. Economy is not getting any better yet.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I've had an Alero GL V6 for 3 years. It's reasonably roomy. It comes loaded with lots of features, some cannot be found in many other vehicles in its category even as an option. It's only given me 2 major problems: noisy AC compressor and broken steering pump, both replaced under warranty. But with the 5-year warranty promo, I think that the car is an even greater value.

    Good luck.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Other equal, I would rather prefer Malibu. For the only one reason: a lot of rear space and wider rear doors. Would be easier to put and remove the child carrier.

    Otherwise, Alero (with V-6) is a better car. More fun to drive. Especially on highway.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I thought about the question you asked esp. since I just recently went through the car buying process (July 2001). we didn't want to spend too much money but wanted a good,
    reliable car that could hold 2 car seats.

    Our eyes were set on the Alero. Mainly because of the 5yr/60 mi warranty, Olds rebate and special financing. We test drove the Alero GL 1 which has a ton of features, nice interior, etc. Actually we test drove it 3 times and it was the 3rd time that made me realize some of it's shortcomings.

    This is when we re-visited why a new car (see above). We put our daughter in the back seat in her car seat and she was literally looking up at the roof of the car. The back seat of the Alero slopes downward towards the trunk. We would have never noticed that without putting the car seat in the back. this is something you won't notice not unless someone sits in the back while you are test driving. Also the 4 cylinder engine, while strong and easy on the gas, is quite noisy. They are replacing this engine with the Saturn 2.2 for 2002. I hear the 2.2 is quieter and just as strong. The crash ratings for the Alero are not very good esp. the side impact. This is something Olds will have to address even if they do plan to kill the Alero in 2004.

    After we test drove the Alero, we test drove the Malibu LS (it was parked the next aisle over). Same price, bigger interior, better rear seats, V6 engine, better site lines out of the rear window, etc. The Malibu has better highway ride but the Alero is more fun to drive. But with one child and the 2nd on the way, fun takes a back seat to practical.

    I'm not trying to get you to buy a Malibu. You have to purchase what is best for you and your family and the Alero is a nice car. Reliability with the Alero and Malibu are about the same. Most American cars in this class have about the same reliability, average. You may have trouble with warped rotors, a bad seal on the window, a rattle here and there, etc. Or you may have Nothing go wrong at all. We have 6000 miles on our Malibu an it has been completely trouble free. And you will find similar stories with the Alero.

    The hit or miss reliability of the American cars is why the Accord and Camry have done so well. This segment is there bread and butter so they are mindful of the little things that the American cars let slide by. The American car makers rather spend their money on the high profit trucks and SUVs. If Chrylser spent half of the advertising money on Sebring as they do the Ram truck, they would have a monster seller on their hands. Same with the Olds and Saturn division for GM. But instead you have these beautiful cars is sitting on dealers lots by the thousands.

    In a concise answer to your question about the Alero, yes it is a good family car but when you do the test drive, do a complete test drive. If you plan to travel with 2 or 3 people in the car, take them along for the test drive to see how it feels loaded. The last thing you want to do is get the car home and find the car doesn't fit your needs. Because the dealer will not give you your money back.

    good luck car shopping. let me know if you have any questions.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    ... is among the best in its class, as everybody can see here.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I agree with much of your Alero vs Malibu post. Alero is a better car for a driver, Malibu is better if you need more room. Don't agree with your quality notes though. I have seen some sloppy stuff on Nissans, Toyotas and Hondas too. American manufacturers have made great strides and will continue to close the gap to the top. Yes U.S. manufacturers have spent too much time with the high margin trucks. I think in the years to come and as gas prices rise, you will see better cars and more marketing of cars also. It's too bad we won't see a next generation Alero though.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Didn't like it. Yes the rear seat is bigger but it drives horribly.

    The engine is buzzy at revs and you will need to keep your foot in it to keep it moving. The car rolled so much on the ramps that I looked underneath to see if there were anti-roll bars. There were but they might as well have not been there. Then the tires. Firestone Affinity, 60 series? They handled worse than 80 series tires back in the 1980s.

    The interior was down right bland. No character at all, except 'economy'. The plus is that you can get them for $15G.
  • (in case you don't know what I'm talking about, I was asking about the Alero, if it was a good family car or not)
    I'm pretty much leaning towards the Alero either '99 or '00 Alero GLS. I want the v6, because I'll feel more secure when I need to get out of a tight situation while my child is in the backseat and my fiance sitting next to me. I want to ability to move QUICKLY!!
    On the other hand, about 25% of my choice is to go for a Malibu. Just because of more space, apparently. I'll have to look into it more.
    Anyways, I've heard that the Malibu is roomier and has a better highway ride. On the other hand, I've heard the same for the Alero, and that the Alero has a more fun ride on the highway then the Malibu. I've also heard that the Malibu has a bland interior, as opposed to the Alero. I don't want to start any fights, but I want to know what's-what with these two cars.
    Very Kindly,
    The World Is Myn
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I drove a Malibu rental and I thought the V6 was very smooth. In fact, I thought it was smoother and more quiet than the 3.4L in the Alero. I had a 3.1L in my old Cavalier and it was bulletproof for 8 years. Don't agree with the "buzzy" comment at all.
  • I looked at the Malibu last summer when I was buying a new car, and I stepped in and stepped right out. For starters, I could barely see over the steering wheel. (Granted, I'm short---Mr. The World is Myn: has your wife done a test drive? ) Then I thought the interior was really cheap looking. The Alero is just a nicer car, IMHO. I've got the V6 and it drives very well---smooth and quiet.

    I admit I know nothing about the child seat issue, except that I remembered reading other comments about the shortcomings of the Alero in this area.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Could have been the particular rental I had. It also was a green engine.

    Bottom line: test drive any vehicle under consideration before deciding.
  • Honestly, I think you're at the point of needing (wanting? :-) to take an Alero V6 and a Malibu V6 for a test drive. When it comes to these subjective points, the only truly important opinions are those of the people who will be driving your car: namely you fiancee and yourself.

    Personally, we rented and test-drove a Grand-Am, and I drove a Malibu and an Alero before deciding on a car. All were V-6 BTW. In the end, we did decide on the Alero - firm, comfortable front seats; direct steering; good handling and power and hwy fuel economoy; adequate rear seat and trunk room.

    Tell us about your test drives,
    Rick D.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Sorry if we confused you. Welcome to the World of car shopping!!!!! So many cars to choose from and so many things to consider. Your best bet is to test drive a V6 alero and a V6 Malibu, if they are your final choices, and see which one you liek better. My driving is primaily on the highway so I preferred the Malibu. The Alero may fit your driving habits better. Also i'm 6'4" tall and like the addtional room in the malibu. You may not need that room. Buy whichever is best for you and your family. But make sure you test the car under the conditions you will drive it most. make sure your family is in the car for the final test drive. This way you'll see if oyu can live with this car for the next 4 or 5 years.

    Good luck and keep us informed.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    The Malibu is definitely larger...trunk is 3 cubic feet larger. I was surprised at how sporty the Mailbu handled, and the engine is perfect! However, road noise is more intrusive than with the Alero. Plus, for the money, alero offers a better stereo, fold down rear seats, rear cupholders...little things like that. I agree with the person above about the interior. Malibu interior is very spartan..alero is nicer.

    If this car is to be your main family vehicle, I think I may pick the Malibu. I am going for the Alero, but I already have a truck and a van so space is not my main concern.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    My wife previously leased a Malibu V6 for 3 years, and now owns an Alero V6. Two times in the last six months of the lease, the Malibu broke down and left her stranded. I don't remember the details of what went wrong (we were just dating at the time), but it cost her abut $400 for each visit.

    IMHO, the Alero is quicker and handles better than the Malibu. It's almost 2 years old now with 28K miles, and other than oil changes it's only been into the dealer once to replace a door seal. I love this car now but maybe in a couple of years I'll be cursing it. I think dtownfb has it right that American cars are hit or miss.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Older Malibus had some quality problems. The newer ones seem fine from what I hear. My mom has a early 99 Alero which I advised her not to get. Fortunately I was wrong and it's been three years of trouble free driving.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Yeah, her Malibu was a '97.
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