Chevrolet is broadening its appeal in the popular midsize sedan market by equipping the 2400 cc four-cylinder Chevrolet Alero with five-speed manual transmission for 2000.
Detailed engine modifications have won the more powerful 3400 cc V6 Chevrolet Alero the German D3 standard emissions rating. Emissions were lowered and average fuel consumption cut by a full liter to 11.0 liters per 100 km. The 3400 cc V6 still achieves a maximum torque of 271 Nm at 4000 rpm and a top output of 130 kW/177 hp at 5200 rpm, reaching a top speed of 201 km/h and achieving 0 to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds. Thanks to a very rigid, single-cast block design with aluminum cylinder head, the V6 does its job smoothly and quietly.
A cultivated ride is similarly fused with good dynamics in the basic 2400 cc powertrain. The 104 kW/141 hp four-cylinder standard power unit with four-valve technology generates torque of up to 199 Nm at 4,200 rpm. That accelerates the Alero from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.6 seconds, and allows a maximum of 200 km/h. Two counterrotating balance shafts and five-point crankshaft mounting assure outstanding engine smoothness. The Alero’s sophisticated powertrain mounting system isolates the passenger compartment from residual vibrations.
Either Alero engine comes with an electronic four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive in the top gear, which conveys the power to the front wheels. Intelligent design has made the Hydramatic 4T40E (in the 2.4 16V) and the Hydramatic 4T45E (in the 3.4 V6) among the lightest drivetrains of their kind.
Alero’s excellent straight run and cornering capability are thanks to a MacPherson suspension with finely tuned stabilizers, front and rear. The wishbone control arm in the front is suspended on a stiff and yet light hydroformed subframe, which also carries the speed-sensitive, precision rack and pinion power steering. The car comes with standard wide 215/60×15 tires on sporty, six-spoke aluminum wheels. The good braking values are achieved by the use of disk brakes all around, vented in the front. The sensors for the standard ABS and traction control can detect a loss in tire pressure – in which case the driver is informed by visual and audible signals.
The car’s high passive safety starts with a highly rigid passenger cell and two fullsize airbags. The standard safety package includes steel reinforcements and foam buffers in the doors, reinforced door locks and hinges, height-adjustable shoulder-belt mounts in the front, and support ramps in the front seat frames.
The Alero package includes a long list of comfort features: PASSlock theft deterrent system, a high end audio system with CD player, rear windscreen antenna and six loudspeakers, climate control, and four-program, remote-control central locking. The steering wheel can be adjusted vertically and for angle, the driver’s seat allows for six-way adjustment, the rear seatbacks can be split asymmetrically and folded down flat. Tinted glass, reading lights front and rear, four variable cupholders, rear heating, four power windows, and a remote unlock for the trunk hatch complete the standard package. An Alero specialty is its automatic headlight activation at twilight or in fog.
Given such complete equipment, the only choice left for Alero customers is tasteful cloth or noble-leather trim for the interior (the latter includes power seating adjustment). A power sunroof and a overhead compartment are also available.
A fully galvanized body raises the Alero’s long-term value. The anti-corrosion guarantee runs for six years. Lubricants and coolants are changed only after very long intervals, whereas parts subject to wear cost relatively little to replace. Alero thus provides an excellent value for the price.