2002 Oldsmobile Alero Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Sleek styling, brisk performance and handling, ergonomically intelligent interior, well-equipped standard model.
  • Hint of cheapness to interior bits, numb steering, resale value may suffer.
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$1,198 - $2,961

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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. For 2002, both a sedan and a coupe are available, with your choice of four 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.

GX and GL1 models now feature an all-aluminum 2.2-liter DOHC four-cylinder that generates 140 horsepower. With twin balance shafts to smooth out vibrations and offering much improved fuel economy, this engine is a welcome improvement over the previous powerplant. A four-speed automatic is standard on all models with a five-speed manual optional on models equipped with the new four-cylinder. Optional on GL and standard on GLS is a 3.4-liter V6 that makes 170 horsepower but is offered only with the automatic. Both engines now meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards.

Like big-brother Intrigue, the Alero is entertaining to drive. It employs what Oldsmobile calls an Active Response System (ARS). ARS is a combination of 16 desirable attributes, such as a stiff body structure, a four-wheel independent suspension, all-speed traction control and four-wheel disc brakes intended to deliver a safer, more enjoyable driving experience. If that's not enough, the Alero can be ordered in GL2 trim that includes a sport suspension, high-performance 16-inch tires, fog lamps, decklid spoiler and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. New for this year is a Sport package for the base GX model that specifies the five-speed manual transmission, 15-inch alloy wheel, a decklid spoiler and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

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. A revised center console with more storage and a cupholder have been added this year, but unfortunately side air bags are still not available. We're still not fans of the cloth upholstery , 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, zooms confidently along when the road turns twisty and won't break the bank when it's time to make the monthly payments.

2002 Highlights

The biggest news for the 2002 Alero is an all-new four-cylinder engine on GX and GL1 models. Redesigned 15-inch wheels, a revamped interior console and two new exterior colors round out this year's changes.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Oldsmobile Alero.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

runs great even after 155,000 miles if you take care of it
superstar1213,07/19/2014
I have 175,XXX miles on my Alero and it is running great!! For those of you who are talking crap about this car is obviously not taking care of it very well. If you take care of a car and maintain it, it will last a long time. I know a man who has a 1989 gmc safari van with almost 500,000 miles on it and still drives it to work every day! Take car of your vehicles and they will run forever!
A good first car, does have some known issues.
n8ech,09/18/2011
We have two Alero's in our family. Our daughter drives an 01, and I just pickes up an 02 for our son. The Alero is a decent sized comfortable car with quite a few amenties for the money. We paid $4800 for the 01 with 74k 1 owner, and $3700 for the 02 with 55k one owner as well I should add the 02 has some hail damage and needed the lower intake gasket replaced. Both have leather and a power driver seat. Given a choice, the 3.4L V6 is the better engine even considering the gasket issue. I am getting 30 mpg highway
rides great.. WHEN ITS NOT NEEDING REPAIRS.
laura t,06/22/2017
GL2 4dr Sedan (3.4L 6cyl 4A)
BEWARE!! There are SO many issues with car that just about every one ever made seems to have. Warning indicator Lights on dash are always ON - Electric Windows always breaking & costly to repair. Rear Exhaust manifold gasket will go before 60K miles (& more than once from what ive been told).. I have only 55K miles on mine and am currently saving for this $700 repair now.. Also car having a starting problem again.. 110th time.. have replaced battery, alternator, starter, and still wont start. ALSO beware the "pass-lock" system.. shuts your entire car down for 10 min at a time and actually SHUTS YOUR vehicle down from stating for exactly 10 min,,. and you never know when it will happen..GM SHOULD HAVE RECALLED THIS ENTIRE LINE BACK IN 2002-2004 WHEN IT SETTLED IN COURT A CLASS ACTION SUIT BUT DID NOT ISSUE RECALLS ON ANYTHING EXCEPT THE IGNITION SWITCH!
WORST OF THE WORST OF THE WORST
amrshalaby,06/27/2013
WORST CAR EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. Let's see where to start. I will start when the car was bought. AC Fan Resistor. Intake Gasket Manifold. Oil Pressure Sensor. Front Right Spring broke! Front Shocks and Front Springs! Front Wheel bearings went bad. Calibers seized. New brake calibers, new brake lines, and new rotors & pads, and the brakes still seized! AC Clutch bad, needs AC compressor. Cheap interior. dashboard cover is peeling and rolling backwards. New water pump. Then intake gasket only lasted 2 years, needed an engine. This car is an ongoing fire pitt for your money. WORST CAR EVER MADE.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2002 Oldsmobile Alero features & specs

Safety

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 2002 Oldsmobile Alero

Used 2002 Oldsmobile Alero Overview

The Used 2002 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 (3.4L 6cyl 4A), GX 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A), GLS 2dr Coupe (3.4L 6cyl 4A), GL2 2dr Coupe (3.4L 6cyl 4A), GL1 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A), GX 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 4A), and GL1 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Oldsmobile Alero?

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Which used 2002 Oldsmobile Aleros are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 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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