2003 Oldsmobile Alero

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(3.9) 7 reviews
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Key Specs

of the 2003 Oldsmobile Alero. Base trim shown.

2003 Oldsmobile Alero Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Oldsmobile’s most popular model has been the compact front-wheel-drive Alero coupe and sedan. Both are offered with a four-cylinder or 3.4-liter V-6 engine and either a manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. The Alero’s engines and basic design are shared with the Pontiac Grand Am, but each model has considerably different styling.

Three new body colors and the addition of an XM Satellite Radio are the only significant changes for the 2003 model year. The Alero was introduced for the 1999 model year. According to GM, the Alero is expected to remain in production until sometime in 2004, even though the Oldsmobile brand is being phased out.

Four Alero models are available: GX, GL1, GL2 and GLS. Its rivals include the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and the two-door Toyota Camry Solara.

Exterior
The Alero’s styling has been one of the main points used by Oldsmobile to differentiate it from Japanese-brand automobiles. Both the coupe and sedan share some design themes with Oldsmobile’s full-size Aurora. The Alero has more rounded fenders and quarter panels, as well as a low-nose/high rear-deck profile.

Both body styles ride a 107-inch wheelbase, measure 186.7 inches long overall, stretch 70.1 inches wide and stand 54.5 inches tall. They are available with 15- or 16-inch tires. The coupe models sport a rear spoiler.

Interior
Each body style has a five-passenger capacity and features front bucket seats. Because the coupe’...
Vehicle Overview
Oldsmobile’s most popular model has been the compact front-wheel-drive Alero coupe and sedan. Both are offered with a four-cylinder or 3.4-liter V-6 engine and either a manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. The Alero’s engines and basic design are shared with the Pontiac Grand Am, but each model has considerably different styling.

Three new body colors and the addition of an XM Satellite Radio are the only significant changes for the 2003 model year. The Alero was introduced for the 1999 model year. According to GM, the Alero is expected to remain in production until sometime in 2004, even though the Oldsmobile brand is being phased out.

Four Alero models are available: GX, GL1, GL2 and GLS. Its rivals include the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and the two-door Toyota Camry Solara.

Exterior
The Alero’s styling has been one of the main points used by Oldsmobile to differentiate it from Japanese-brand automobiles. Both the coupe and sedan share some design themes with Oldsmobile’s full-size Aurora. The Alero has more rounded fenders and quarter panels, as well as a low-nose/high rear-deck profile.

Both body styles ride a 107-inch wheelbase, measure 186.7 inches long overall, stretch 70.1 inches wide and stand 54.5 inches tall. They are available with 15- or 16-inch tires. The coupe models sport a rear spoiler.

Interior
Each body style has a five-passenger capacity and features front bucket seats. Because the coupe’s rear seat is narrower than the sedan’s, three people in the backseat is a tight squeeze. Trunk volume is 14.6 cubic feet, but the rear seatback folds to expand cargo capacity.

A CD player, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning and power door locks are standard in the base GX. The GL1 and GL2 add fog lamps, remote keyless entry and power windows. Topping the line is the GLS, which gets GM’s OnStar communication system, CD and cassette players, power mirrors and leather seating surfaces.

Under the Hood
A 140-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in GX and GL1 models and optional in the GL2, which is the performance-oriented Alero. This engine teams with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. Only the automatic transmission is available with the 170-hp, 3.4-liter V-6 power plant, which is standard in the GL2 and GLS and optional in the GL1.

Safety
Traction control and daytime running lights are standard. Antilock brakes are standard only on GL2 and GLS models.

Driving Impressions
The Alero is light on its feet and very easy to steer, but handling talents are closer to average. Calling the Alero “average” is a good way to describe this car — it’s a cut above in some areas but nothing special in others.

The four-cylinder engine delivers rather snappy performance, especially with the manual transmission. The Alero’s ride quality actually beats that of many cars on the road. Even the performance suspension in the GL2 model absorbs its fair share of bumps.

Space is ample in the coupe, and the slide-forward passenger seat helps pave the way to the rear, which has more room than many two-door models on the market. The four-cylinder engine growls a little, but not enough to be annoying.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide
Posted on 2/10/03

Latest 2003 Alero Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(3.6)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.1)
Reliability
(3.9)
Value For The Money
(3.9)

What Drivers Are Saying

(3.0)

Not a very reliable car

by Tweety from Baltimore on April 2, 2017

Hello I've had my 2003 oldsmobile Alero and I've had a lot of problems with the rack and pinion. Thus last go round I was told that the bolt where the rack mount to the frame has rusted and caused the ... Read full review

(4.0)

Wife wrecked her Alero

by The Happy Hubby from Dallastown, Pa on March 22, 2013

In June 2007 my wife and I puchased for her a 2002 Silver Olds Alero and she absolutly loved the car. But in the winter of 2013 she hit some black ice while on her way to work one morning, she spun ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2003 Oldsmobile Alero currently has 3 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Oldsmobile Alero has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Alero received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker