Oldsmobile Alero
Production 1999-2004
Class Compact
Body Style 2-Door Coupe
4-Door Sedan
Length 186.3"
Width 70.6"
Height 54.5"
Wheelbase 107.1"
Weight 3000-3300 lbs
Transmission 5-Speed Manual, FWD
4-Speed Automatic, FWD
Engine 2.2L (138 cid) I4 (2002-2004)
2.4L (146 cid) I4 (1999-2001)
3.4L (207 cid) V6 (1999-2004)
Power 140-175 hp
Similar Pontiac Grand Am
Platform N

Oldsmobile introduced the Alero in 1999 as an all-new replacement for the discontinued Achieva. The Alero was Oldsmobile's new corporate twin to the stunningly popular N-body Pontiac Grand Am, but although they shared the same chassis and engine choices, they shared no body panels. Oldsmobile fancied the Alero as a refined upscale alternative to the Grand Am - if you liked the Grand Am but didn't want the loud attention-getting body-cladding ground effects and other such things, the Alero was your alternative. Despite this, however, the Alero wasn't nearly as good a seller as the Grand Am, and the fact that shortly after the Alero's introduction it was announced that Oldsmobile itself was slated to be on the GM's corporate chopping-block certainly wasn't any help either. The Alero soldiered on through the 2004 model year with little change.

Here's a quick rundown:


The Alero was introduced in March, 1998 as an early 1999 model simultaneously along with the all-new Pontiac Grand Am. The Alero took a few obvious styling cues from its larger Aurora brother. A 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan are available, and the Alero, like the Grand Am, became one of the very few cars left in the U.S. that were still available as a 2-door coupe. Trim levels were the base GX model, mid-line GL and top-of-the-line GLS. A 150 hp 2.4L (146 cid) I4 was standard on the GX and GL, a 3.4L (207 cid) V6 was optional in the GL and standard on the GLS. Initially only a 4-speed automatic transmission would be available, and all-disc antilock braking and traction control were standard.

A 5-speed manual became available with the I4 engine in 2000, and GL models now came in 3 levels: GL1, GL2 and GL3. Three child-seat anchors on the rear parcel shelf were new this year. The GL and GLS could have a Sport package that included a firmer suspension, 16" alloy wheels and wider tires, and could have either the I4 or V6 engine. In 2001, the GL3 package was dropped, and the base GX models gained power windows, cruise control and a standard CD player. For 2002, the 2.4 I4 engine was replaced with a smaller 140 hp 2.2L (138 cid) I4 engine. The 3.4 V6 remained optional and standard in the GLS. Available XM satellite radio and deletion of standard antilock brakes on GX models were the only significant changes for 2003. 2004 Aleros were virtually unchanged for their final model year, as the car (and Oldsmobile itself) were phased out at the end of the model year.

The Alero has the distinction as being the last Oldsmobile model built (27 August, 2004), as the existing Aurora, Bravada and Silhouette were phased out shortly after the beginning of the 2004 model year.

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John Beltz

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