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Pontiac Grand Prix - 2000-2005



  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    I'm going to try and answer the questions regarding the Maxima SL vs. GTP in one reply, since I'm sure you'll all pretty tired by now of hearing me praise the Maxima. As far as seating comfort - definitely the Maxima has the edge. It has full (8-way?) power driver seat, including adjustable rear recline, which the GP doesn't (it's a manual lever only). What that meant was I had a space behind my head in the GP that was uncomfortable while driving since I couldn't set the angle exactly. I purchased a neck pillow to put just below the head restraint, for better comfort. The GP head restraint will NOT tilt forward, so you're out of luck. It has a square hole in the center, like a doughnut, which I didn't care for either. Maxima head restraint goes up and down AND tilts - as well as total power adjustment on seat back. Some nice feature on Max, not available on GP - power tilt/telescope wheel and seats with memory. When you take out key from ignition, wheel tilts up and away and seat moves back automatically making for easier exit. Opposite happens on ignition start. Also has 2 memory positions for 2 different drivers - GP has no memory seat feature and wheel tilts manually but not telescoping. As far as seat comfort, it's pretty close, but the GTP has side bolsters which I guess are good for keeping you in the seat when you're taking tight corners, but otherwise, make it uncomfortable just for routine driving (if you're at all overweight and 'chunky' in the rear - you won't like this). One feature I am not crazy about in Maxima is narrow rear window, but GP has same problem, although not as bad, due to sharp coupe-like drop off of rear window. Another nice touch in Maxima - lighted ignition key hole so you can easily find ignition switch at night. In GP - it's not lit. Plus for the GP - audio buttons on steering wheel are back lit at night. Not so in Maxima.

    Regarding handling - I honestly must give it to the Maxima. I had a GTP (w/o Comp G pkg, as I didn't want the sport suspension and the shift paddles are a gimmick, IMO. Had one in another car and never used 'em), and had a problem with rear end slipping out when doing tight corners (have a tight hair pin turn on my daily commute and I really notice the difference). Guess the Michelin tires on the GP don't 'stick' as well as the Conti-Touring on the Maxima? IN any event, no slippage with the Maxima at all - feels more like my 4WD SUV rounding corners. Regarding torque steer - didn't notice a big problem with either, although I'm not doing a lot of twisty driving, where I guess you see more of that. Although since both are rather high HP engines w/front wheel drive, I would expect to have some torque steer. I hear the new Acura TL w/270 hp has a big problem with torque steer, but I wasn't troubled by it in the GP or the Maxima. One more thing - suspension. It's a lot tighter in the GTP. I felt bumps a lot harder than in the Maxima. AGain, I have the SL with 17" wheels. THe Max SE has 18" wheels and I think has a firmer suspension. I prefer not feeling all the nasty potholes bumps on the lousy roads here in NJ, so I never go for the sport suspension models. If you live in FLorida or Arizona where all the roads are nice and smooth - this will be less of an issue. Again, personal preference.

    Overall impression - my GTP drove like a big, heavy car, with decent HP under the hood, but moaning and groaning when you would accelerate hard. The steering feel was numb - something a lot of pro reviewers have commented on. The Maxima is a different animal - feels lighter, with better feel to steering, and acceleration is very smooth and quick. You really don't feel like you're in a vehicle with 260 hp, until you put the pedal down, and then it just takes off, with minimal growl, etc. So for me, it's a lot more fun to drive than the Pontiac. If you like the feel and sound of a 'Vette or souped up Mustang accelerating - the Max is just the opposite. In the GP - you could hear the exhaust rumble fairly loudly on acceleration and it felt like the engine was working hard. Once at speed, however, noise was not objectionable. But again, if you're looking for that sports car feel (I've owned Z cars and Supras and the GTP is no Z car or Supra!).

    So there you have it - for those trying to decide between a GP and a Maxima, I would recommend doing extended test drives, especially on twisty roads, as well as on straightaways to test acceleration. For me, the Maxima is a more enjoyable ride, and better fit. For others, it may be the opposite. The GP does have some bells/whistles, like OnStar and Heads Up Display, that you can't get in the Maxima, if those are important to you (they're options, except OnStar is standard in GTP). I chose the GP without test driving too many other models, which was my mistake, but I hope this comparo will help others in making the right choice. (One more thing that might be a factor - mileage/fuel. the 3.8L Series III S/C engine in GTP is rated at 18 mpg city, capable of using regular fuel, but premium required to get full 260 hp, according to manual. The 3.5 L V6 (NA) Nissan engine is rated at 20 mpg city, with premium fuel recommended for best performance. I do notice the Maxima being a bit better on fuel consumption but engine hasn't gone thru break in yet, so won't make any definite comparison statements).
    Good luck.
  • cigsmhcigsmh Posts: 16
    Hi All,

    I have recently changed my oil on my Grand Prix GT and 3 weeks later the warning light
    “Change Oil Soon” came up. Is this a mechanical feature that should be reset or this is an indication for some problem?
    If it can be reset, please tell me how. On my Montana I just need to pump gas pedal three times with ignition on, and this message disappears. On Grand Prix I have tried it many times, but nothing happens.
    I have bought this car (model 2001) 6 month ago with 40K miles. I like it so far.


  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    On my dad's '98 Grand Prix GT, the process is the same as your Montana; turn the key on and pump the gas pedal 3 times, then the light blinks indicating that it's reset. Did your car come with the owners manual? I've noticed that a lot of used cars now don't have the owners manual in them. The previous owners or leasers have taken them out and probably put them on ebay. Check your owners manual if you've got one. I wouldn't expect the '01 to be any different from the '98, but who knows. Good luck.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I think you a little biased at this point against the Grand Prix. The numbers I have read point to the GP being a faster and better handling car. Like you say, it's a preference thing also. So long as you are happy.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    Thanks for sharing your impressions. Please, keep us posted about your owning experience.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    The GTP Comp beat the Maxima in 5 categories, Composite Road Course Lap Time, 1/4 mile time, Braking 60-0mph, lateral G's 100' skid pad and Transition 600' Slalom Speed. Independent testing done at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.

    In fact the GTP Comp beat the Audi A6 3.0 in all 5 categories as well, pretty impressive.

    Remember the tires have a lot to do with it. IMHO Stock tires usually stink. I know from personal experience on my 1997 and 2002 GTP coupes, the stock Goodyear RSA tires were garbage in any kind of semi hard cornering. Squealed like a pig. 1st thing I did was get rid of the stock tires and upgrade. P245 50 16 makes a positive dif. in handling over stock P225 60 16 size.

    Not sure for the redesigned 2004 Max, but the 2002-2003 Max and I35 with the 255hp engine had the WORST torque steer I have ever felt. You didn't want to floor the car because it was so annoying and intrusive. I get I35 & now G35x loaners when my I30t is in the shop.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469

    After buying my 2001 I30t, I might NEVER buy a japanese car again. They are NOT as good as people claim them to be after my experiences. I bought it because everybody was telling me how superior the japanese cars are etc. My I30t has been so-so or ok, but not what I expected. Same or Worse reliability then my GTP. No better then an American Car

    Not all the products out of detroit in the 80's were that bad. The old school RWD V8 cars were pretty reliable in my experience. Esp. the mid-sized and full sized ones. The FWD ones were sometimes another story, LOL!
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    No rear seat cupholders, the '97-'03 had them in the back.

    No back door child saftey door switches, '97-'02 had it. Seems to be a problem with almost ALL new GM cars.

    They made the 2004 1 inch taller, yet there is a LOSS of 1/2" headroom in the backseat! LOL! The Front gains 1/2"

    No digital Climate Control, the '97-'01 had it.

    Driver Info Center is noticeably smaller Harder to use in 2004. I liked '97-'03 center better even though it showed less.

    Why no horspower bump or increase on the base 3800? Still the same 200hp as the 1997-2003 model. GM obviously bumped the GTP up 20hp, 240 to 260hp.

    The 2004 GT1 & GT2 offer NO performance or gas mileage gains over the 1997-2003 GT & SE with 3800 engine.

    The 1997-2003 was slightly faster 0-60mph & 1/4 then new 2004. Because they were 50-100 lbs lighter with same 200hp.

    2004 GTP Comp not really any faster then 1997-2003. 6.5 seconds vs 6.8, about the same. At least it's faster.

    2004 is the same sized car as '97-'03, where as Maxima & Altima made their cars slightly bigger-roomier in 2002 and 2004.

    Gas gauge doesn't say E, 1/2 or F anymore, just annoying pictograms. Same with the driver info center, not labeled, just pictograms. 97-03 better in this respect, at least they are labeled!

    UGLY rear end. 1997-2003 Rear end was better looking IMHO. Front end is nice though.

    Coupe like styling for 2004, Guess what? It is NOT a coupe, still a 4 door last time I checked. No MORE 2 door coupe, 2002 was the last year. Tha prevents me from buying it in 2007.

    Leather seats look improved as well as some of the interior over 97-03 but NOT enough.

    2004 has more blindspots IMHO then 1997-2003 sedan did.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    There are pluses on the 2004.

    140mph speedo instead of what some people called a wimpy 110 mph speedo '97-'03.

    Better-higher quality looking gauges then 1997-2003

    Front end of 2004 is nicer looking then '97'03, IMHO

    Rear end of 2004 is NASTY. Best combo would be 2004 front and 1997 rear.

    Leather seats are of better quality and not the PLEATHER-Vinyl look of 1997-2003

    Full backseat pass through, not just a small center one.

    Interior is slightly improved in some aspects, but still not as good as other cars in class.

    Increased handling-braking over 1997-2003. "97-'03 was pretty good.

    Heated seat for the PASSENGER, about time.

    17 inch wheels, plus or minus, 17" more $$ then 16" for tires
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    Why no more 2 door coupe? I know this has been debated before, but they still sell a Sunfire & Grand Am coupe?? I know coupe sales declined from 30% in 1997 down to 20% in 2002. 20% still seems like a pretty good number to me.

    GM refers us to the Monte Carlo SS Supercharged which is the same car but IMHO is UGLY or the GTO which is more $$ and NOT as roomy.

    BTW....2004 GP Sales were NOT as good as 1997 sales. Back in 1997 the Grand Prix sales increased 50% + over 1996. 2004 wasn't even close to the '97 increase.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Have not heard from you in a while.

    New freshened Monte Carlo on the way. It looks much better in my opinion. A 2 door G6 is coming also, mite be an option for ya down the road.
  • tateostateos Posts: 36
    I haven't visited this board in a while, but I see there have been a lot of posts about bad AC. For what it's worth, our 2004 GTP blows really ice cold almost instantly, and we live in the Phoenix area where it is frequently 110+ at drive home time during the summer.

    Also, we have had our GTP since December, have about 5,500 miles on it and haven't had a lick of trouble yet, not that I would expect anything so soon.

    Richard Moore
  • vacekvacek Posts: 1
    I'm looking at buying an 04 GTP utilizing my supplier discount. Is anyone familiar with how this works? The general feeling I get is that it is expected that you not haggle on price, but especially with the 05's on their way out that means that the price since the it came out has only gone down by the rebates gm is putting out(since supp disc is same from day 1 - consequently 05 is only 2000 more than comparable 04). Also, does the supplier discount come from the dealer or from GM's end?
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    If you qualify for the GM Supplier program it is a preset price that is on every vehicle invoice. So yes there is no price haggle required or expected. For the near term it is also recommended by GM to dealers that they do not charge any doc fees above what may be legally required in thier state.

    The rebate is potentialy lager between the years. There is a $655 allowance if the GTP has the leather interior, only on the 2004s. Also an additional $1,000 rebate if the buyer goes through GMAC.

    As far as who's end it comes from, the dealer is the one selling the car. And it is can be less then they would normally sell for. And they don't get their usual doc fees. But they do save the time spent in the traditional sale proccess, so it could be a wash. And GM gets another car sold, so they are ahead. And the buyer gets a decent price and a simplified buying proccess, so they are ahead.

    As far as your underlying question fo which year. There are product changes for 2005 that you may find important (MP3, Nav, Remote Start, Auto A/C) enough to go that route. Also depends on if the dealer can find a 2004 they way you want. And if you were not planning on going GMAC, the price difference may not be more then $655.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I would go 05 just for an MP3 player alone!

  • I just passed my first year and 19,000 miles on the GP. For the most part it has been a good experience. The only real problem I'm having is wind noise in the rear driver's side door, vibration of the interior doorhandle on the rear passenger-side door, and a popping sound coming from the sunroof due to expansion/contraction of plastic around it.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I have no sunroof so I have no problem with it.


    I had some loose trim fixed up, aside from that my 04 has been trouble free and the A/C is cold. I have about 23000 kms on it now.
  • I opted for the 04 gtp w/o the competition pkg, but was curious if anyone knows how much the 3.29 axle ratio would help over the standard in 0-60 times and what it might cost to change to the 3.29
    and if there are any other changes that have to be made. thanks, logger
  • I believe the CompG only improves the 0-60 time by 0.10 second. But I think it also helps with handling.
  • Just got back to Ontario from a 3500km trip to the US on a 2004 GT1 with 30,000kms on the odometer.
    Some observations:

    -gas mileage- average 13.5km per litre highway at 100-120km per hour. Car was fully loaded with 4 people - 37 miles per imperial gallon. Got 800kms in the first tank before the low fuel light came on.
    -air conditioning was not a problem.
    -lots of power to accelerate evem from 120km/hr.
    -seats are a little stiff front and back. Hard to take a nap in the back seats because of the steep rake of the rear windows.
    -no rattles as of yet inside the car.

    would be interested in other observations on long trips.
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