2001 Oldsmobile Alero Review


Pros & Cons

  • Sleek styling, brisk performance and handling, ergonomically designed interior, well-equipped standard model.
  • Hint of cheapness to interior bits, unrefined engine noise intrudes into passenger compartment, numb steering.
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$1,115 - $2,784

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The Alero combines attractive styling, potent engines and extensive standard equipment in a crisp-handling package.

Vehicle overview

Introduced to the public at the 1998 North American International Auto Show, the Oldsmobile Alero was an instant hit with the automotive press and consumers alike. Both a sedan and a coupe are available, with your choice of three trim levels and two engines. While the Alero is technically a replacement for the Achieva, this stylish compact is light years ahead of previous attempts by the division to build and market a small car.

Like big-brother Intrigue, the Alero is entertaining to drive. GX and GL models come with a 2.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam, four-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower. A four-speed automatic is standard with a five-speed manual optional for those who prefer to row gears. Optional on GL and standard on GLS is a 3.4-liter V6 that makes 170 horsepower mated only to the automatic. Both engines now meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards.

While neither engine is particularly quiet during operation, they both deliver spirited performance. Alero employs what Olds engineers call an Active Response System (ARS) to increase driver enjoyment. ARS is simply a combination of 16 desirable attributes, such as a stiff body structure, four-wheel independent suspension, all-speed traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with improved-for-2001ABS. As part of an optional sport package for the GL or GLS Sedan, the firmer-riding suspension rolls on upsized, V-rated, 16-inch performance rubber.

Inside, the Alero is a four-fifths version of the Intrigue. Well laid-out with seating for five, this car has features such as air conditioning, power locks, rear window defogger and split/folding rear seats all standard. But side airbags, offered by some under-$20,000 competitors from Toyota and Chevrolet, aren't available or planned. On the minus side, the cloth upholstery isn't very attractive, and the leather looks and feels too much like vinyl for our tastes.

Overall, the Alero is a stylish, powerful, sporting car that is willing to play if you are. It can serve family duty when necessary, won't embarrass the owner when pulling up to a swanky restaurant, zooms confidently along when the road turns twisty, and won't break the bank when the payment book arrives in the mail. However appealing, it will need continuous refinement and a reputation for durability to avoid the destiny met by previous small Oldsmobiles.

2001 Highlights

A five-speed manual transmission is now available with the four-cylinder engine; an eight-speaker premium sound system is now standard on the GLS (optional on GL); and a refined ABS system and 16-inch wheels are now standard on the GLS.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Oldsmobile Alero.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Not horrible, but personally would suggest one
I have had one of these cars for 7 months now. Got it at 75K miles ran pretty good, now at 86K miles and well..it's not going to well. The engine burns oil already, the transmission shifts hard and slow(Checked the fluid, it's fine) The ride in this car is well..bad. You can feel every bump, it's loud, especially on the highway, expect to have to turn the radio up. The engine is very loud, and I have the 2.4L 4 cylinder engine and it's also very slow, it literally sounds and accelerates as if it had a big diesel engine in it. It averages 19 City, 25 Highway which is pretty bad for a car..especially considering it has a 4 cylinder engine...It's also not very comfortable...
College Car
I bought my Alero brand new (7 miles) and I've had a great experience with it. I haven't had any major mechanical problems with it and it's still running strong. It has adequate power along with good gas mileage. I'd recommend this car to anyone looking for a reliable car.
Would not pick this one over again.
I have owned this car for almost 2 years now. I bought it with around 80,000 miles on it. It now has 110,000 miles. And I would not do it again. About a month after I bought it the front wheel bearings went out. I have also had problems with the drivers side window - had to replace the motor. The head gaskets have had to be replaced and the brakes react terrible if it rains or snows. Needless to say this has not been anything like what I thought. None of the repairs have been anything close to cheap or acceptable. I would not recommend it to anyone, especially for young driver. Alero's are very questionable cars, its a 50/50 chance - you either get a good one or a very rotten lemon.
A definite NO!
Julian Perez,07/12/2015
GLS 4dr Sedan (3.4L 6cyl 4A)
I bought this car at 160K miles and right after I bought it and drove it home, problems started to arise. The check engine light went on right as I drove it home, I didn't think much of it because everything seemed fine. A week later, I went to O'reilly's and got the codes pulled from the computer. Some sort of emissions trouble code and a piston spark plug fire miss code came up. Not a big deal at all, but just troubling since it started on my first drive in it. After that, the A/C compressor bearing went out and it made a loud pinging noise. Since the A/C compressor was such a pain in the butt to get to, I never bothered to get it fixed and just lived without A/C. Next, the stud on the trailing arm in the passenger's rear cracked off which rendered it useless. It wasn't too much of a pain to replace that, but a new trailing arm is quite expensive. After that, the power steering lines rusted through and I had to replace those which was VERY difficult and pretty pricey. Next, the alternator went out and I had to replace that which wasn't too difficult but pricey. Finally, the head gasket blew and it was EXTREMELY difficult to tear apart the engine and replace all the gaskets. Altogether, I got a discount on the materials required which cost around $180 but it took about 3 days to get it all fixed. Took it for a test drive after that and learned that I needed new spark plugs and spark plug wires. I took it around the block twice just to be sure everything was working properly. The next day, the car caught on fire and was totaled. A tiny bit of gas turned out to be leaking out of the return rail and the rusted spark plug wires arced to the motor and sparked the fire which soon became very large and melted a good portion of the wire harness. Overall, I took great care of the car. I frequently checked my fluids and got my oil changed every 3K miles. I definitely got a nightmare car though, note that I only had the car between 160K miles and 168K miles which was only for about 10 months. This is my bad experience with this car, take it or leave it.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2001 Oldsmobile Alero features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver1 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2001 Oldsmobile Alero

Used 2001 Oldsmobile Alero Overview

The Used 2001 Oldsmobile Alero is offered in the following submodels: Alero Sedan, Alero Coupe. Available styles include GLS 4dr Sedan (3.4L 6cyl 4A), GL2 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GL2 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GLS 2dr Coupe (3.4L 6cyl 4A), GL1 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GL4 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GL4 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GX 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and GL1 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 4A).

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Which used 2001 Oldsmobile Aleros are available in my area?

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Find a used Oldsmobile Alero for sale - 6 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $7,783.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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