Buyer's Guide: 2002 Autos

Affordable luxury: Now's your chance to own that status car you've always wanted.

October 1, 2001

Jaguar’s new X-Type sedan is aimed at motorists with champagne tastes and beer budgets. The so-called “Baby Jag” is the British marquis’ first car under $30,000.

Though it’s one of the 2002 model-year’s most eagerly awaited arrivals, the X-Type isn’t the only new model to offer such high value for the money. Indeed, one of the hottest trends in the market goes by the name “affordable luxury.” What qualifies? A variety of new vehicles from such top-line brands as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus, all with starting prices between $27,000 and $35,000. These luxury cars have ample leg room in the back for carting around your buyer clients, and plenty of capacity for hauling for-sale signs.

Cars in this class constitute the fastest-growing niche in the entire American auto industry. Overall, sales have doubled in the last three years, and despite the current economic uncertainties, there are no signs that the trend is cooling off.

The emergence of the affordable luxury segment is just one reason for optimism. With sales on the slide, car shoppers are enjoying more lavish incentives than ever, and inflation-adjusted prices for the new 2002 models that are lower than they’ve been in nearly 20 years. For an especially good bargain, take advantage of NAR’s partnership with Daimler Chrysler’s Jeep®‚ and Chrysler divisions (see page 30).

Savings is only half the story. In the increasingly bitter battle for market share, manufacturers are loading their vehicles up with a wide range of standard features that used to be available only as options—if they were offered at all. It’s hard to find a car today—even entry-level models—without air conditioning, power windows, and a decent sound system.

While affordability is an important factor, automakers know that it’s only one way to win the customer’s heart, mind, and pocketbook. To stand out in a crowd, manufacturers need to offer products that carefully target their buyers’ needs, often by side-stepping traditional product categories.

So, crossover vehicles are going to be hot this model year. The Chevrolet Avalanche, for example, blends the best attributes of a sport-utility vehicle and a pickup truck. Can’t fit all those for-sale signs in Avalanche’s shortened bed? No problem. Fold down the rear seats and open up the innovative midgate. Toyota is back with its second-generation, car-based SUV, the RAV4. And Buick’s new Rendezvous is designed to give you the looks and versatility of an SUV, the roominess of a minivan, and the comfort and handling of a sedan.

Of course, there are still plenty of strong, traditional products for the masses, including the new-for-’02 Toyota Camry, and Nissan’s all-new Altima.

The bottom line: We’re in the best possible example of a buyer’s market. If you’re shopping for a new car this year, you’ll find more choices, more features, improved quality, and best of all, unexpectedly affordable prices.

MODERATELY PRICED SEDANS

MANUFACTURER/
MODEL/MSRP*
POWERTRAIN COMFORT FEATURES SAFETY FEATURES WHY BUY?
Toyota Camry
www.toyota.com
$18,970 (LE-4-cylinder)
$25,405 (XLE-V6)
2.4-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing, 157 hp; four-cam 3.0-liter V6, 192 hp Electronic AC with air filtration, AM/FM/cassette/CD audio with six speakers, cruise control, tilt steering, rear window defogger, outside temperature display, trunk capacity = 16.7 cu. ft. Daytime running lights, dual front airbags, 3-point front seatbelts with adjustable shoulder anchors, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters, rear door child locks Solid, dependable, quiet and comfortable. Those are the attributes that have helped transform this midsize Toyota into the nation’s top-selling passenger car. Toyota promises even more features for ’02, and hopes the updated styling will inspire some passion.
Nissan Altima
www.nissandriven.com
$16,349
2.5-liter four-cylinder, 175 hp; 3.5-liter V-6, 240 hp Height adjustable center console lid with armrest; remote trunk, hood, and fuel door release; tilt/telescoping steering column; rear defroster; trunk capacity = 15.6 cu. ft. Dual-stage air bags, seat belts with pretensions and load limiters, steel side-door guard beams, energy absorbing steering column, and inside trunk release Long the import also-ran in the important mid-size segment, Nissan has an all-new entry for 2002. The redesigned Altima is roomier, more powerful and decidedly more stylish than the old model. It could generate a real buzz.

For more information from any manufacturer, visit the company’s web site. These lists aren’t comprehensive; NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in company information.

*MSRP = Manufacturer’s suggested retail price excluding destination charge. All prices listed are base prices. These figures can vary substantially, depending on upgraded model lines, option packages, and other accessories. Where noted, 2002 prices were not finalized at press time.

AFFORDABLE AND MID-LUXURY SEDANS

MANUFACTURER/
MODEL/MSRP*
POWERTRAIN COMFORT FEATURES SAFETY FEATURES WHY BUY?
Jaguar X-Type
www.jaguar.com
$29,950 (2.5-liter V-6)
$39,950 (3.0-liter V-6)
2.5-liter V-6, 194 hp; 3.0-liter V-6, 231 hp Automatic climate control with pollen filter, AM/FM/cassette with optional six-CD changer, xenon headlamps, leather seats, eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, trunk capacity = 16.0 cu. ft. Anti-lock brakes, dual-stage front and side airbags, head curtains for front and rear, optional stability control system The “Baby Jag” is sporty, sophisticated, and surprisingly roomy It’s also the first Jaguar to offer all-wheel-drive. That’s a definite advantage in the Snowbelt, but it translates into enhanced performance and handling on dry pavement, too.
Audi A4
www.audi.com
final price TBA;
2001 price was $25,640
1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 170 hp; 3.0-liter V-6, 220 hp Cruise control, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with in-dash six-CD changer and 10 speakers, trip computer (both models), dual power front seats, trunk capacity = 13.4 cu. ft. Dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist Audi’s redesigned entry-lux sedan is both roomier and more sporty than the vehicle it replaces. Audi has earned a justifiable reputation for its elegant interiors, but added with the optional Quattro package, it proves a nimble and sporty performer.
Lexus ES300
www.lexus.com
final price TBA;
expect less than $30,000
3.0-liter V-6 with variable valve timing, 210 hp Dual-zone climate control AC with filtration system, cruise control, keyless remote entry, auto-dimming mirrors, power steering and mirrors, trunk capacity = 14.5 cu. ft. Dual-stage front airbags, side curtain airbags front and rear, Brake Assist and traction control, anti-lock brakes The latest update of Lexus’ mid-line sedan is likely to take many buyers by surprise. It’s incredibly quiet, lavishly detailed and equipped with an unexpectedly high degree of luxury features. Indeed, it’s likely to offer a challenge to the top-line LS400.
Cadillac CTS
www.cadillac.com
final price TBA;
expect low to mid $30,000s
3.2-liter dual overhead cam, 4-value V-6, 220 hp Tilt steering, dual-zone climate control, Bose stereo system, power leather seats, Onstar,
heated seats, trunk capacity = estimated 16 to 17 cu. ft.
Traction control, 4-channel anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak chassis control, front side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, driver and passenger front airbags Cadillac reborn? That’s the message Caddy intends to deliver with its new, compact sedan. The all-new CTS is slightly larger and a bit more expensive than other entry-lux vehicles, and its edgy “Arty & Science” design is an eye-catcher.

For more information from any manufacturer, visit the company’s web site. These lists aren’t comprehensive; NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in company information.

*MSRP = Manufacturer’s suggested retail price excluding destination charge. All prices listed are base prices. These figures can vary substantially, depending on upgraded model lines, option packages, and other accessories. Where noted, 2002 prices were not finalized at press time.

SUVs AND CROSSOVERS

MANUFACTURER/
MODEL/MSRP*
POWERTRAIN COMFORT FEATURES SAFETY FEATURES CARGO CAPACITY WHY BUY?
Ford Explorer XLS
www.fordvehicles.com
$24,800
4.0-liter, 210 hp Luggage rack, rear wiper, rear defroster and washer, power mirrors Side-impact curtain air bags, traction control, electronic stability control, front dual-stage air bags, ControlSlip rear driveshaft, and SecuriLockTM passive anti-theft system 46.6 cu. ft. behind second seat/88.0 cu. ft. (five passenger) 81.3 cu. ft. (seven passenger) behind front seats The world’s best-selling SUV is completely redesigned for 2002. It’s sleeker and decidedly more sophisticated, with a unique, independent rear suspension design that maintains off-road capabilities while improving highway handling.
Chevrolet Trailblazer
www.chevrolet.com
$25,755 (LS 2WD)
$34,330 (LTZ 4WD)
4.2-liter in-line six, 270 hp ABS brakes, dual-zone climate control, five-link rear suspension, in-line six-cylinder engine Dual-stage front passenger airbag, side-impact thorax airbags, five-mph bumpers, traction control (optional on 2WD), three-point seatbelts 41.0 cu. ft. with rear seat upright/ 80.1 cu. ft. with rear seat folded New for ’02 is this midsize Chevy SUV. Roomy, surprisingly well-appointed, the Trailblazer is a solid performer, both on-road and off. It features one of the segment’s most powerful engines and is available in both two and four wheel drive.
Buick Rendezvous
www.buick.com
$24,924 (FWD)
$27,452 (AWD)
3.4-liter V-6, 185 hp Cruise control, power mirrors, AM/FM/CD stereo, fog lamps Front and front-side airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control (FWD only), daytime running lights, tire inflation monitor 18.1 cu. ft. behind third seat/54.5 cu. ft. behind second seat/ with second-row seats removed, third-row folded 108.9 cu. ft. What happens when you color outside the lines? You get a vehicle like the Rendezvous, which offers the flexibility of an SUV, the roominess of a minivan, and the comfort and road handling of
a sedan.

For more information from any manufacturer, visit the company’s web site. These lists aren’t comprehensive; NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in company information.

*MSRP = Manufacturer’s suggested retail price excluding destination charge. All prices listed are base prices. These figures can vary substantially, depending on upgraded model lines, option packages, and other accessories. Where noted, 2002 prices were not finalized at press time.

MEMBER DISCOUNTS FROM CHRYSLER AND JEEP®

NAR has partnered with Daimler Chrysler’s Jeep® and Chrysler divisions to put REALTORS® behind the wheel of the official vehicle of the NAR with a $500 allowance on the purchase or lease of a new 2001 or 2002 model.

After negotiating your best price, let the dealer know that you’re a member of NAR. Following the verification of your membership, the $500 allowance will be put toward your purchase or lease. The allowance may be used in addition to any local, regional, state or national incentives, increasing the benefit of this partnership.

Learn more about the $500 allowance: For Chrysler vehicles, visit NAR.Chrysler.com or dial 800/CHRYSLER (247-9753), and for Jeep® vehicles visit jeepunpaved.com or dial 800/925-JEEP (5337). Tell the operator you’re with NAR and calling about the NAR-Chrysler/Jeep® deal.

MODEL SPECIAL FEATURES MSRP*
Sebring Sedan LXi
All the sport in the 2.7-liter DOHC 24-valve 200 horsepower V6, without sacrificing the luxury of available leather interior, an eight-way power driver’s seat, lumbar support and room for five.
Traveler’s display, CD player, remote keyless entry, fog lamps, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors. $20,280
Sebring Coupe LXi
The 3.0-liter SOHC V6 engine delivers 200 horsepower at 5,500 rpm to bring the power to move to this sporty coupe. 17-inch cast aluminum wheels and performance tires are standard.
Four-disc in-radio CD player with seven-speaker Infinity® sound system. $21,710
Sebring Convertible LXi
The specially insulated convertible top is designed to minimize wind noise and features a scratch-resistant rear window with integrated defroster. Raise or lower with the touch of a button. Includes the standard features of the sedan.
150-watt Infinity® sound system with AM/FM radio and a CD player available. $26,160
300M
Sport meets luxury. 3.5-liter high output 24-valve V6, automatic four-speed transaxle with AutoStick®, fully independent touring-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and low-speed traction control. Leather trim, automatic temperature control, nine-speaker sound system.
Overhead console with trip computer, compass and outside temperature readings. $28,340
Concorde LXi
Where the finest in automotive luxury comes together. 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6 engine, leather-trimmed eight-way power driver’s seat; 16-inch cast aluminum wheels; low-speed traction control, anti-lock brakes and security system.
Automatic temperature control; AM/FM stereo radio with cassette, CD, and graphic equalizer. $24,975
Town & Country Limited
All of the standards of the LXi minivan plus leather-trimmed seating, power lift-gate, 16-inch chrome aluminum wheels, low-speed traction control, and supplemental front seat side air bags. Fits the whole team!
Automatic day-and-night rear view mirror, eight-way adjustable drivers seat, heated driver and passenger seats, and overhead information console. $35,535
Voyager LX
The LX adds key comfort and convenience features to the base Voyager minivan with the 3.3-liter V6 engine and power front disc/rear drum antilock brakes.
Electronic speed control; power windows, locks and mirrors; tilt steering column. $23,420
Liberty Limited Edition
Off-road mastery with on-road precision. In addition to the standard features of the 2WD model, two trail-proven systems (part time Command-Trac® and full time Selec-Trac®) are available.
Power sunroof, leather-trimmed seats and rear-mounted six-disc CD changer. $22,720
Grand Cherokee Limited
Increased seating space plus the Quadra-Drive, Jeep®’s most advanced four-wheel drive system ever, includes the Quadra-Trac II on-demand 4WD; and Selec-Trac® full time 4WD.
Four wheel anti-lock brakes, infrared dual zone climate control, remote keyless entry, and overhead information console with programmable features. $32,700

Note: Excluded from the agreement are Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, Town & Country EX, and Prowler and Jeep®’s Wrangler models.

*All prices are exclusive of destination charges, tax, title and license fees. Prices are accurate at the time of printing.


This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the products in this category. NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in product info. Prices are the vendors’ suggested retail prices and are subject to change.

Paul A. Eisenstein is publisher of The Detroit Bureau. He has more than 30 years of experience covering the auto industry for a broad range of print, broadcast, and electronic media.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.

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