Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,500 – $4,400*


2000 Oldsmobile Alero 2-door coupe


2001 Oldsmobile Alero 2-door coupe


2000 Oldsmobile Alero GLS 4-door sedan


2001 Oldsmobile Alero 4-door sedan


2001 Oldsmobile Alero 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Control layout
  • Quietness
Cons:
  • Engine noise (4-cylinder)
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (coupe)
  • Rear visibility (coupe)

Satisfying in ordinary use, the Alero behaves admirably on twisting roads and feels more mature than its Pontiac Grand Am cousin. Acceleration with the V6 is another “plus,” but Aleros cannot match import-brand rivals in refinement. Value is enhanced by its long list of standard features.

Overview

Oldsmobile launched the front-drive compact Alero coupe and 4-door sedan for 1999, to replace the slow-selling Achieva. Basic design was shared with the Pontiac Grand Am. Both body styles came in base GX, better-equipped GL, and top-line GLS trim levels. GX and GL models used a dual-camshaft 4-cylinder engine. A V6 was optional for the GL but standard on GLS models. Only a 4-speed automatic transmission was available initially. All-disc antilock braking and traction control were standard. A tire-pressure monitor was standard on GL and GLS Aleros, and GLS coupes could have an optional performance suspension.

Yearly Updates

2000 Alero
A 5-speed manual transmission supplied by Getrag was available for 2000. “GL” models came in three levels: 1, 2, and 3, the latter equipped with the V6 engine. Manual shift was standard on GX and GL1 versions, with automatic an option. Three child-seat anchors on the rear parcel shelf were new this year. A new Sport package for GLs included the firmer performance suspension, previously reserved only for the GLS, including 16-inch alloy wheels and wider tires.
2001 Alero
Alero’s V6 engine was more widely available this year, newly optional for the GL and GL2, and additional standard equipment was installed. The GL3 edition was dropped. GX models gained power windows, cruise control and a standard CD player. The GL1 added keyless remote entry, while the GL2 gained a sport suspension and rear spoiler.
In December 2001, General Motors announced that the Oldsmobile brand would begin a phaseout, but Aleros continued into the 2002 model year.
2002 Alero
GX and GL1 models got a 140-hp 2.2-liter 4-cyl engine. It replaced the 150-hp 2.4, which had lower EPA fuel-economy ratings.
2003 Alero
Available XM satellite radio and deletion of standard antilock brakes on lower-line models were the only significant changes for 2003.
2004 Alero
Alero remains unchanged for 2004.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine, rated at 150 horsepower, went into the GX and GL editions. Either a 5-speed manual (starting in 2000) or 4-speed automatic transmission could be installed. Standard in the GLS and optional in the GL was a 3.4-liter V6, producing 170 horsepower and offered only with an automatic transmission. 2002 GX and GL1 models got a 140-hp 2.2-liter 4-cyl engine in place of the 150-hp 2.4.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/33
24/32
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/31
22/30
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/32

21.6

Road Test

Although the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers plenty of power, it lacks refinement, vibrating at idle and getting loud in hard acceleration. A brief test drive indicated that the 2.2-liter 4 cyl trades a little power for slightly smoother, quieter operation, but it should be strong enough for most driving situations. The V6 adds some welcome low-speed muscle and runs a lot smoother and quieter than the 2.4-liter. It’s strong from a standing start and responds quickly for passing. Torque steer (pulling to the side under hard acceleration) came as a penalty for the zesty V6 engine, however. Aleros with the V6 averaged 21.6 to 23.7 mpg. Alero’s automatic transmission is about as slick-operating as any, offering smooth, prompt downshifts with little tendency to “hunt” between gears. Manual shift adds a dash of sportiness, but does not shift as smoothly as the gearboxes in a Honda or Toyota.

Capable road manners combine with comfort, as a result of the Alero’s rigid structure and supple suspension. Still, despite good grip in steady cornering, an Alero cannot match import-brand sport sedans. Though it feels athletic in curves, Oldsmobile’s compact is less nimble than, say, a Ford Contour SE. Steering feels artificially heavy and the car can feel unsure in quick transitions, though directional stability is great otherwise. Neither suspension rides harshly over bumps, but compliance and control don’t really stand out. Wind noise is low, but tires thrum on all but the smoothest surfaces.

Large, legible gauges and well-placed controls ease the driving experience. Front bucket seats are a bit narrow, with insubstantial padding and without much lateral support, but are comfortable anyway. Front head and leg room are good. Rear-seat space in sedans rivals some midsized cars, but entry/exit isn’t so easy with the coupe. Visibility is good in sedans, but thick roof pillars impede over-the-shoulder views in coupes. A small opening and high liftover impairs trunk loading.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Oldsmobile Alero GL1

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 49

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.0 186.7 70.1 54.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.6 14.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.0 42.2 35.5
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.0 186.7 70.1 54.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.6 15.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.0 42.2 35.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Alero 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 1
20%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 106
Injury 75
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: Pulsation felt in the steering wheel and brake pedal is caused by faulty brake pads and discs. Revised parts are available. (1999-2000)
Radiator
Description: The heater hose may pop off of the heater inlet nipple because the original equipment hose clamp fails. (1999-2000)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks under the door and onto the floor due to a bad door gasket. A countermeasure gasket is being installed under warranty. (1999-2000)
Cupholders
Description: The console cup holder is too small and a revised console is being replaced under warranty. (2000)
Paint/body
Description: The rear spoiler gets distorted in the hot sun. Also, water gets inside requiring drain holes to be drilled. (1999)

Recall History

1999-00
Description: Console cover may not stay closed in a crash.
2001
Description: When the vehicle is shifted from 5th gear into reverse, a shift inhibitor causes the transmission to be in 4th gear even though the lever indicates reverse gear.
2001
Description: Owner’s manual doesn’t adequately explain child-restraint anchorage system. Dealers will send vehicle owners a supplement to their manual.
2003
Description: In hot ambient conditions, accelerator pedal arm may not return to idle position when gas pedal is released.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.