April 17, 2000
My white test model had natural leather throughout and was a great car to drive. It looked good, it drove just fine, and I was able to carry all the things I needed to, including a new long garden rake.
My test model had the 3.4-liter V-6 engine, which gave me more than adequate power for the drive. It came with the 4-speed automatic transmission, but a 5-speed manual is available.
This model came out in 1999 as a replacement for the Oldsmobile Achieva. It is available as a 2-door coupe or 4-door sedan in the GX, GL, and GLS models. The GX and GL models come with a dual camshaft 4-cylinder engine. The V-6 is optional on the GL and standard on the GLS.
The Performance Suspension on my test model provided a smooth and easy ride. This system includes Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance radials, a stiff front anti-roll bar, sport calibrations for front and rear suspension struts, increased front and rear spring rates, high durometer front strut mounts, and firm bushings in the rear wheel locating links.
All Aleros have standard air conditioning, automatic programmable power door locks, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, all-speed traction control, rear window defogger, and split-folding rear seats.
There is definite road noise and feel in the Alero. It is a solid car with heavy swinging doors. You feel like you are in control while driving, that you have heavy protection, and can maneuver in any situation. It has good visibility.
The inside cabin carries five passengers comfortably. The contour seats are roomy. The driver's seat has 6-way power controls. There is tinted glass throughout. On the dash, the gauges are large and easily read. The cruise control is located in the tiltable steering wheel. There is plug-in jack on the front dash for an auxilliary item.
The sound system includes an AM/FM stereo and 4-speakers, CD, and tape drive. The digital clock is located with the radio.
Initially, I found that my wide water bottle did not fit in the front or rear cupholders, however, I did find the removable soft rubber section in the front cupholder that would accomodate the size.
The remote keyless system locks and unlocks the door, opens the trunk, and includes a panic button which flashes the lights and sounds the horn when activated. I hit it a few times by accident and it definitely attracted attention.
The trunk is 14.6 cubic feet and has a low lift-over. There are pull-down bands in the trunk to release the split-folding rear seats which allowed me to carry long items.
The 100,000 mile tune-up and long-life (100,000 miles or more) for fluids is a definite plus. The Alero has a standard three year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a roadside assistance program.
This car is worth a test drive if you are in the market for a new car in the $22,000-plus price range.