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I know this is an old thread but wanted to add my 2 cents.
I have also an 03, with the 2.0, and AWD. (not the sport, just an L).
I consider it to have more than adequate power, almost bordering on quick-ish. Never had any problem even when it has been totally full with either people, or stuff. One time I took out the seats and hauled a set of 4 wheels and tires, size 33" (just barely fit inside). Probably a good 350 lbs, with no problem at all on the highway (plus driver and passenger).
My son, who has a 2008 Malibu, even comments it is zippier than his car, when he drives it.