Overview & Reviews
Following a string of truly forgettable small-car efforts in the 1980s and '90s, Oldsmobile celebrated its centennial anniversary by introducing the all-new Alero to compete with the popular and well-established import competition of the day. While it failed to truly capture the hearts and minds of consumers or chalk up many conquest sales, Olds' small car story ended on an upbeat note with a stylish and decently designed effort.
Available as a sedan or coupe, the Oldsmobile Alero was considered by most to be a sporty-looking car thanks to its bulging wheelwells, sleek greenhouse, fluted side panels and large jewellike taillights. The front-drive Alero was also relatively entertaining to drive. Buyers could choose four-cylinder or V6 power. Initially, the Alero came with an automatic transmission only, but a five-speed manual eventually made an appearance.
Handling was nicely balanced and braking was strong. Inside, an artfully designed two-tone dash faced comfortable front seats that were firm and supportive. All controls were easy to see and use, with large knobs and buttons. Unfortunately, all-around refinement didn't match that of the leading imports.
The phase-out of the Oldsmobile brand spelled the end for the Alero. For a shopper interested in an affordable used coupe or sedan from the early 2000s, the Oldsmobile Alero should do nicely as long as one is aware of the car's faults and lame-duck heritage. Service can be handled at select GM dealerships -- you might want to focus on Pontiac, as the Alero was mechanically similar to the Grand Am.
Most Recent Oldsmobile Alero
The Oldsmobile Alero debuted in 1999 as a replacement for the slow-selling Achieva. Coupe and sedan body styles were offered, as were three main trim levels: entry-level GX, midgrade GL and top-line GLS. GX and GL models came standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that made 150 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. Optional on GL and standard on GLS was a 3.4-liter V6 that made 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission choice at the time was a four-speed automatic.
Incremental improvements saw it through the next several years. A year after the car's debut, Olds offered a sport-tuned suspension package for the GL. For 2001, an optional five-speed manual transmission became available on four-cylinder models, and the car's antilock braking system was updated. If you're looking at four-cylinder Aleros, take note that for 2002 Oldsmobile replaced the 2.4-liter engine with a quieter and more fuel-efficient 2.2-liter engine. It made 140 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque.
Inside, we found the Oldsmobile Alero offered a user-friendly control layout and seats that were generally comfortable -- though materials quality throughout was a step or two behind that of competing imports; even the leather in the GLS looked and felt too much like vinyl. For those with lots to carry, though, both the coupe and sedan offered a generous 14.6 cubic feet of trunk capacity.
Although neither engine was particularly quiet, the four-cylinder provided adequate power in most situations while the V6 delivered spirited performance. The Alero's suspension tuning was firm and allowed some fun around twists and turns, yet ride quality remained smooth enough to make the Olds suitable for weekday commuting. The steering offered little in the way of road feel, however, and the brakes were strong but could be difficult to modulate due to an overly stiff pedal.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 536.00
Do not buy this car! - 2000 Oldsmobile Alero
By Caseyc - December 29 - 2:00 am
This car is mediocre at best. I have had numberous problems with this car. In the 3 years I have owned this car, I have replaced the brakes 5 times, the cruise quit working, the middle overhead light pops out and falls out on occasion, the upholstry on the dash has begun to pull up, both of the electric front windows have broke twice, the right front sun visor clip broke and my blinkers quit working. I definitely would not recommend purchasing this vehicle.
2002 Oldsmobile Alero 2.2l 225,000 ! - 2002 Oldsmobile Alero
By zyborg - December 26 - 5:53 am
I bought the car new in 2002, retailed for $17,450 came with the new ecotec 2.2 L with manual transmission, standard ABS, 4 wheel disk brakes, 4 wheel independent suspension, AC, CD Radio. After rebates and previous olds rebate purchased for $11,400. After 225,000 the 4 cyl engine still runs like new. I beat the crap out of the suspension with my daily commute gravel roads, potholes, high and low speed driving, bent a couple of rims. I love cornering in the car. I leave trucks and others behind. The car is well balanced with the 4 cyl 5 speed manual handles like a European car. Thats because it was designed for the European market.
junk - 2002 Oldsmobile Alero
By teresa - December 24 - 4:56 pm
I have had nothing but problems with my alero.I have had it for 3 years and now it is nothing but a big problem. I have replaced brakes constantly. Had the fuel pump replaced and the timing chain broke which cost me to end up having the motor replaced.These cars to me are junk but needless to say I still have this junk car because I still owe on it.
Pretty Bad Car option - 2004 Oldsmobile Alero
By markcan - December 24 - 10:00 am
One of the worst cars I have ever purchased as a sales rep on the road.
RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!!!! - 1999 Oldsmobile Alero
By chocokitty - December 15 - 2:00 am
I bought my '99 gl3 9/29/2002. 1st in shop 10/02/2002. In 3 mon. I've had it they've replaced: fuel pump&filter,#2coils,battery,+ cable,plug wires,reprogrammed pcm,replaced all window trim,cowl&door vapor shield,dome light,seat belt retractor,window reg.,rear door handle,driver mirror.Car still has problems! Sometimes wont start. Been in shop at least 10 times for that alone. They say they're in Dark about it. Warranty runs out TODAY! Found out today that before I bought car previous owner had problems too. Car not starting, battery no good,engine leaking oil from front of it,lower intake gasket leaking,rotor problem,etc.Too much to list!
Good Car - 2004 Oldsmobile Alero
By tntrocker513 - November 30 - 12:20 pm
The car runs great, and moves when I tell it to. Good first car if you ask me. The body is an eye catcher and my friends like the ride of it. And the gas I save is great. The only problem I see right now is noise I get when I slow down. Its not bad but it is annoying. All it is the brakes need to be cleaned. All and all its a great car.
Alero - 2000 Oldsmobile Alero
By Konrad Romero - November 28 - 10:00 am
I have owned the car for almost 3 years and I have to commute 100 miles a day. The car has been great. I do all of my service to the vehicle. The performance and reliability is all there. I have to count on this car daily. I have not had any major mechanical flaws. The only problem was the passengers window regulator went out on the vehicle about 60,000 miles. Currently I have 87,000 miles on the car. I highly recommend changing the fuel filter frequently about every 20,000 miles. The car is close to being stock; I have a K&N air filter and Bosch 4 prong platinum plugs which made a difference in performance and fuel economy. I am very pleased with this car.
GM fooled me once but never again! - 2000 Oldsmobile Alero
By ihateGM! - November 26 - 10:00 am
This was my first new car buy ever. Peeling dashboard at 36K miles, rack & pinion and tie rods needed replaced at 38K miles. And I'll spare you all the other repairs under $500. Yes, I'm still driving it after 10 years, but when your car has $0 trade-in value at year 4, what choice does one have? (The dealer says to replace the dashboard is over $2000 to repair). My father was UAW and I never thought I'd say this but my next car won't be an American brand. GM, shame on you! The government bailout money will be the last penny of mine you'll ever get from me.
Not a bad second car - 2003 Oldsmobile Alero
By D. Ahart - November 25 - 6:36 am
Bought this car with about 21,000 on the odometer. Now has 53,000 mi. and so far it's still running well. The front tires seemed to wear down evenly, but quickly. Make sure you do tire rotations regularly. Love the way the Alero handles on dry road...even wet not too bad, but less than stellar in the snow.
Sleeper Olds - 1999 Oldsmobile Alero
By cybernco - November 2 - 2:00 am
The V-6 has plenty of torque and just begs to be wound out to the redline. But, the 170 HP peaks at 4800 RPM. The same engine in a Chevy Ventura Van is 185 HP at 5200 RPM. It's too bad it doesn't come in a 5-speed transmission though. The wide tires give the car a very firm feel. But the car has very soft suspension and a lot of sway in the corners. I'm sure this keeps the less experianced drivers from loosing it in the corners. The brakes are extremely inadequate. Performance brake pads are a manditory minimum upgrade. Overall this is a very fun car to drive though. It's almost a great sports car.