Yes it is worth it to buy the GS. You can definately feel the 13hp difference. You also get better seats, white face gauges stock with a tach, tweeters in the door, cd player, cloth inserts on the doors, and a few other things I can't think of right now. I paid $11,200 for my 2K1 GS. That was with EVERY option available last year.
I have a 2002 GSi. No reason to bother buying the GS model. Especially if you get an Auto. The Auto GS is a sloth, at least the 1.6 has some pep with the Auto. I got the 5-spd which I highly reccomend if you want any sort of driving fun. The wheels are nice as well as the CD player, Sunroof, Seats and the Wiper on the back is useful and looks good.
The handling of the GSi is very firm but not so much so that your teeth are going to fall out. I would reccomend test driving both and you WILL notice the difference. I did and wouldn`t touch a GS model after I did!
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