2000 Alero New Car Test Drive
Introduced just last year, Oldsmobile's Alero offers practicality and an enjoyable driving experience. Good mid-range power, crisp shifting and quick steering combined with a roomy back seat, a handsome interior with a nice leather option and a big trunk provide an attractive alternative to the other cars in its class.
The Alero follows in the footsteps of its big brother, the Aurora. You may remember the Aurora. It's that swoopy performance sedan with sea-creature styling that debuted in 1994 and led GM's stagnant Oldsmobile brand into the rosy automotive future. That future includes vehicle platforms that are shared among many divisions yet offer definitive style that can compete in the global arena. (Aurora has been redesigned for 2001.)
It is with that spirit that the Alero integrates a host of lessons learned from the Japanese into a distinctive American car. By combining a reasonable level of refinement with a long list of features and comforts, the Alero sedan stands up as a worthy, high-value competitor to the Japanese and American cars in its class. This Alero is a vast improvement over its predecessor, the Achieva, and Oldsmobile expects to sell about 150,000 Aleros this year, making it the company's largest volume offering.
Aiming to grab a large slice of the small-car market, Alero has plenty of models to go around. It comes as two-door coupe and four-door sedan. Each is available in three trim levels: GX, GL and GLS. Prices for sedans and coupes are the same: GX ($15,675); GL ($17,650); GLS ($21,365).
A 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on GX and GL, while a 170-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 is optional on the GL (for $18,875) and standard on the top-of-the-line GLS. New for 2000 is a 5-speed manual transmission, standard on the base-model GX and optional on the GL and GLS.
Options include a Performance Suspension Package ($250 on GLS, $785 on GL) that includes Goodyear RS-A P225/50R-16 tires on silver alloy wheels.
The Alero Sedan competes with the Ford Contour, Chrysler Cirrus, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. The Alero Coupe competes with the Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring Coupe, Honda Accord Coupe and Toyota Solara.