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Pontiac Bonneville

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  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    I hear you guys in saying that there would be no love lost with Pontiac when it comes time to trade in your Bonnevilles. I am very much hoping that whatever Pontiac does do in the future will re-kindle some sort of excitement, even if the Bonneville and it's heritage will cease to exist as we know it (in their new products). I've said before that the Bonneville is a niche vehicle and I believe that part of the reason for it's (presumed) demise is that it is not up to par with the so-called competition in terms of build quality especially (and in some respects the love-it-or-hate-it styling). It's got all the features (short of a navigation system) and is a good value for the package, and the performance and handling are good but not excellent, but it's got the stigma of being a Pontiac in a world where Lexus, BMW, Acura, etc. reign in popularity.

    The good thing I'm hearing (if I hear correctly) is that if you're looking at the Envoy you're still committed to GM products. I can't compare the Envoy with the Bonneville because they are completely different vehicles, but I must admit having some interest myself in the upcoming Envoy XUV with the retractable roof. As much as I love the full-size trucks, the XUV actually seems more appealing to me than the Avalanche because it looks like it will do most everything the Av does but in a smaller package. Still, it won't be a street racer! :-)
  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    as people seem ready to jump ship on the Titanic (bonneville). Yes, 240 H.P. is way out of line for these times. The build quality is suspect. It's ultimate demise is the effect of these shortcomings. Mine is in the shop (again) about the 10th time. I wouldn't dream of keeping this car without an extended warranty. As I waited for my loaner, I walked around the lot and showroom. They had about 10 Trans ams, about half of them rag tops. I sat in one and looked over the goodies. It then hit me, there are too many things I'd miss. The HUD, the climate control, heated seats, the outside temperature, auto dimming mirror, all the DIC features, and a degree of comfort that does not exist in a car of this ilk. Gtp's were aplenty, but I'd hate to get into one at the end of the platform run. I guess I'll wait and see what this GTO platform is like. Too bad they don't try a rear wheel drive SSEi with the 310 H.P. Ls1 engine. I think there are others on this board who might get behind me in line for one.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    As most of you know, I'm a creature of habit when it comes to my vehicles. Since 1980 I've had 3 Regals and 5 Bonnevilles. Before that I had a '64 Lesabre and a '75 Electra. I'm GM through and through; specifically sportier packaged Buicks and Pontiacs. With the popularity of the SUV and prodding from my wife, I've been considering that it's time for a change. I figured that the Envoy could be considered a "Bonneville SUV".
    My cousin just got a Honda Pilot and really likes it. I drove it and found myself thinking that it is plain doesn't have "that GM feeling". Those of us who are loyal to GM know just what that means.
    It seems that when you buy an American made product, you get more of the creature comforts ezrapon mentioned, and give up some build quality in comparison to imports in the same price range. I've been willing to make that choice in my vehicles, however, my wife has had four Japanese cars in the twenty years we've been married. She doesn't care about things like HUD and DIC. She wants quality and the secure feeling that comes with the Toyota Sienna van she has now. My Pontiac dealer offered her a loaded Montana for less money than the Sienna. She could of had a Ford Windstar or one of the Chrysler van siblings which also would have been less money and much more luxurious with more "toys". She was not interested and I don't blame her. She'll probably keep this van ten years and with routine maintenance, will never have a major problem; and it will be worth more money when it's time to trade.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    My trip to Maine was relatively uneventful save for almost buying the farm in New Hampshire on the way out. The roads were somewhat damp and this being the first road trip since I changed the pulley, I wasn't used to the extra power. I pulled out to pass and broke traction at full throttle. The car jerked rather violently until I quickly lifted off the throttle. Needless to say, I was wide awake the rest of the trip.
    While there, there was a cosmic coincidence of what may have been all of the new generation SSEis in Maine. I rarely ever see a Bonneville of any sort out there except in the high rent area where Ken lives. I was in town at a store and parked next to a silver SSEi. She wound up going out the same road I did when I left town and when I turned off, there was a white SSEi coming the opposite way and all three of us converged on the same intersection at the same time. Those may have been the only 3 new generation SSEis in all of Maine.
    Finally, my pristine 2000 without a door ding of any sort and only one small rock chip on the hood now has a series of scratches on the driver's door, compliments of a friend in Maine's mutt. My friend came over to visit and tied the mangy hound to a tree by my car. I could see from the cabin that the dog was close to the car and told my friend that I hated to sound paranoid about my car but I was uncomfortable with the dog so close. He said that there wasn't a problem, that he had tied the dog far enough away. Turns out he was wrong and the dog jumped on the door. I'm hoping the scratches didn't go through the clear and can be buffed out. I'm the type that parks clear away from anyone and here I get done in like that.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Stephen,

    I'm one of these guys who pushes and pulls at whatever I can on the dashboard to see if it's flimsy or it'll creak under stress. I've always figured that if it'll creak or give too much when new, it's not likely to get better. The Bonneville passed that test with flying colours. The GP did not but it was such a deal, is a leaser and is for my wife anyway (she doesn't have the same obsessions) that it wasn't a deal killer.

    I tried the same thing on the Envoy and was disappointed in the centre console - particularly the piece of lateral dash trim that horizontally divides the console panel. In the Bonneville, it's rock solid; in the Grand Prix and Envoy (and Century, and Regal, and...), it had a flimsy feel. IMHO, creaks will be inevitable.

    Only wish I had thought of doing the same test on the Bonnie's doors... >:(
    (although in fairness, I've managed to resolve those creaks and the car is, after 30k miles, free of rattles and creaks).

    Would I consider another Bonneville? Absolutely. But with all the decent competition out there today, it'd have to win the price war pretty clearly to earn my dollar.

    Of course, my BIL just bought a Chev-Cadillac dealership so...

    Dan
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    I'll check out the Envoy very thoroughly before making the commitment to a new three year lease. I'll pay particular attention to the points you mentioned. Thank you for the input.
    It sounds like a CTS could be in your future :>)
    Stephen
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    For that matter, I was very well impressed by the CTS' interior quality. As it was at NAIAS, I could compare it with the German brands, and the only to beat it was Mercedes in fit and finish.

    It's too bad it's such a small car, especially width-wise.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,044
    DexCool has many facets to the discussion points. In some cars the DexCool allegedly gives a sludge-like material. Supposely it can cause some clogging just like not changing other coolant could. The factor with early Ford products was air in the radiator. IF the air was not completely purged from the system by a complete fill, the air mixing with the hot, circulating DexCool formed a precipitate or sludge that needed to be flushed. Leaving it in a long time added to the problem.

    Like all coolants the additives in DexCool can deteriorate with useage and time. Checking with a test strip or a voltmeter for electrolysis detects deterioration of the additives. Replacing every two years seems to be a recommendation by many real mechanics and I take that. Since I do my own drain, rinse, add and th DexCool costs only about $10 for a gallon compared to $7 for green stuff, I change--it's cheap.

    Some thought the DexCool deteriorated gaskets on the plastic intake manifolds and added to leaks. Different intakes on different GM engines had different problems. So there's a mix of discussion here as if they're all the same. I had the intake changes on mine due to seepage starting. Maybe water pump and some signs of leak around the gasket near the air induction system where water circulates up through the air flow to warm it in winter.

    The same plastic manifold on the 3800 had an egr tube of plastic around a hot metal pipe sticking up into it that deteriorated from the heat. Poor design or molding or materials. Apparently replacement intakes were redesigned. Gasket material also was changed.

    I'll stick with DexCool because the mechanics I hear say it's less of a problem than the green stuff with it silicates over time. I'll change it myself to avoid the 'bloom' corrosion that forms on radiator tubes that restricts the flow over time.

    If you chanaged to DexCool, was the green stuff thoroughly flushed out with rinses before DexCool went it. They don't mix well.
  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    Looks like i'll be back to a one Bonneville owner again-(98 SSE) just came back from the Saturn Dealership,
    We'll be taking advantage of the latest GM roll-up,
    returning the 2000 SE 5 months early- lease due up in March, 2003- getting the NEW Saturn L200 Sedan- getting a $500.00 Credit from GM (loyalty)Etc. The price was right- only i tried to talk the Mrs into the L-300 (6 cyl)- no good- she wants to down-size and wants better gas mileage.
    I was surprised by the interior rear room of the Saturn- had both front seats all the way back- and still had plenty of leg room to spare.
    I also liked the folding 60/40 rear seats- and the trunk is also a nice size for a smaller car.
    We opted for the Automatic Trans- Optional on the 200L- standard on the 300L, leather appointments(which you must then take both the Comfort Package and the Convenience package)ABS with Traction Control. The color is Medium Blue.
    By passed the Sports package and their Premium Package.
    all told we'll be cutting our costs down over $100.00+ a month and getting extra features not on the 2000 SE
    Leather seats, Heated front seats, auto climate control, heated outside mirrors, traction control and CD player.

    Granted neither the 4 or 6 cyl is a 3800 Series II, but both had very nice pick-ups.
    All in all, if anyone is looking for a smaller car and still wants to remain in the GM Family, test drive the new L Series Saturn.

    Chuck
    *(STILL LOVE MY 98 SSE!!!!!!!)*Thinking of getting a few dinks out of her and having her re-painted BLACK* -presently dark cherry.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Always good to poke and prod at the dash - probably the greatest number of independently assembled components in a modern car and therefore a good indicator of build quality. IMHO.

    Don't get me wrong - the Envoy is a superb vehicle. Especially where it counts: under the hood and on the asphalt. My only knowledge of a direct competitor is the Highlander and I think it's a toss-up between perceived quality and features. It's always also useful to check out recommended maintenance schedules and to try to estimate how much that's going to cost.

    As for a CTS: love the concept, learning to like the execution, and could live with the size. That's not enough to put me in one though. If they changed to asthetics, I might be tempted - perhaps as a replacement to the GP when its lease expires (in early '05!!!).

    Still love the Bonnie though. At 30k miles and trying to decide between holding on or trading sometime next year. The GXP would definitely be a consideration - but my dealer hasn't heard anything about it coming from HQ (it is possible that Canada wouldn't get any if it's a limited production).

    In the meantime, am shopping around for tires - gotta replace them before the snow hits (there's still decent tread there but not enough for an Ottawa winter). The 235/55-17 size is a real limitation isn't it? I've narrowed it down to: Dunlop SP Sport A2Michelin Energy MXV4 PlusMichelin Pilot Sport a/s (the most expensive of the lot by far!).

    Anybody else find a decent replacement all-season for this size that they could recommend? So far, I'm tossed up between these three.

    Dan
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Congrats on the Saturn Chuck.

    Any thoughts about the extended warranty? The GM one is only good for 24k miles (40k kms.) beyond the factory 36k. For me, this represents 16 months of driving. Cost to me will be about $US 700, maybe a bit more. So, I'm looking at about $50/mo. for a little peace of mind. Not worried about the powertrain but there are a lot of electricals on these Bonnies and it doesn't take much.

    I've tended to be a risk taker in the past and, over my life, it's paid off to be self-insured. I'm leaning towards NOT extending the warranty.

    Your views would be appreciated.

    Dan

    (hey, this topic has some life again - now, if only Pontiac would give us some news we could chew on...)
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    Having theiceman back as a regular participant certainly picks up the pace on this board. We missed you Dan!

    Chuck - Sounds like you are very happy with your move to the Saturn. Best of luck with it. My lease isn't up until May. I'm hoping the GM rollup will be extended past the March lease expiration deadline in another couple months. With the incentives, I might be able to get in to an Envoy at no additional monthly cost.

    I got the 100,000 extended GM warranty built in to my current lease. The peace of mind has been worth it. I now have over 70,000 miles and just had to replace the passenger rear window motor. I've had other items covered like the driver's heated seat. I don't know if the expenses would have been more than the cost of the plan, but who ever wants to get the value back on an insurance policy. Hindsight is always 20/20.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    I'm not sure that a 100k mile GM warranty is even available up here. I know that I can get a 60k mile warranty and that's what's causing me to hesitate. In my experience, cars don't "age" much between 36k and 60k miles - unless they've already shown a "problematic temperment" in the first few years. OTOH, quite a lot can happen as one passes the 60k mile mark and moves up to the 100k mark - particularly with an auto tranny and some sophisticated electricals.

    I'll do some more investigation but I suspect I'm looking at aftermarket firms - and then I'm not so sure.

    BTW, saw my first '03 Grand Am the other day. A big improvement to the exterior. Still don't like the dashboard treatment but I've got to give Pontiac some +ve points.

    Dan
  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    I have had 4. 3 paid for themselves, one was not used. My wife's park ave had the alt and water pump replaced under the ext. war., and because the repair was made at a Buick dealer, the repair is covered for life... can't beat that. My ssei was just in the shop, seat heater, tie rod end and cradle bolts. I've heard, that the CTS will have significant motor upgrades (300 HP+) in the near future...and a rag top, might want to wait that out. While my car was in the shop I had a L series Saturn loaner. Trunk and rear seat were outstanding, but the ride (rolling noise, buzzy motor) made me REALLY appreciate the Pontiac. The dash set up was a bit weird for me too, but I guess I would get use to it. It was fun to be able to pull directly into my rear entery garage without making the 2 back up manuvers required with the hog-like ssei. As for pontiac, I went to the movies yesterday and Pontiac had a long impressive commercial before the previews. The ssei was not left out. Fuel for excitement, it was called. The trans am was conspicious by its absence. There was a dark shadowy car flying down the salt flats... could have been the new gto...didn't look like the ssei race car.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    It's nice to see some of the old participants back regularly on this board (ezrapon).

    Where's tpken?

    The 100,000 mile warranty I got was back in early 2000. I can only assume it is still available. I hope I don't have to make the decision whether to eliminate it or not in order to keep my next lease payment relatively close to my current one. If I go for the Envoy, I could consider the regular length vs. the XL. I'd have to go for the SLT version in either case to keep the interior and equipment at the level of my SSEi; Leather, DIC, air compressor, etc. My ideal of course is the XL SLT.

    Who else is seriously considering an Envoy?
  • In the Northeast, Saturns are not eligable for the loyalty bonus. Be careful, and double/triple check with the dealer.
  • Hello everybody it has been a long time since I have posted here. I guess during midwest summer months we find ourselves outside and tied up more so than in the off season. Any way, Stephen I see a few post ago you mentioned that you had fixed the creaks coming from your door panels. My wifes SSEi was a creak that comes from the passenger door arm rest that I can not get rid of. If I simply place my finger, with just the smallest amount of pressure, on the arm rest it will stop, but once there is no pressure on the panel it returns. I have tried inserting thin cardboard (business cards) under the arm rest to prevent it only to no avail. How exactly did you correct this?

    As for your interest in the Envoy, I have been driving an 02 SLT for about 4 months now. It is a very capable and well refined vehicle in every aspect. The only problem I have with it is the comfort of the front seats. There is a horizontal seam where the ribbed leather meets the smooth leather that pertrudes into my back and is quiet uncomfortable after 20 - 30 miles of driving. I'm sure most people would not have a problem with this, especially if you prefer lumbar support, but I find it very uncomfortable. Fortunantley this is my company car and I will be out of it soon. Other than that one minor complaint the Envoy has been a treat to drive, and it gets quiet a few compliments.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    My Stratus came with these from Chrysler, were gone by 25000mls and was happy to replace them with BFG Radial T/A, which added very good wet traction and less noise going both straight and around curves. 35000mls later, the Stratus still wears them and they seem to have some 15000mls more.

    BTW, the BFG Touring T/A are very good too, which my remarkable Alero wore.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I've noticed quite a few people leasing their cars in this forum. I've done that once and now prefer buying, even though the transition is hard when the lease goes and there's no trade-in.

    But I'm curious to know why some prefer leasing over buying.

    To me, it makes more financial sense buying, for I keep my cars for at least 5 years, usually a couple more.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    I still get periodic creaks from my door panels; sometimes worse than others. I believe it was theiceman that was able to eliminate his.

    Thanks thill381 for the Envoy comments. I'll definitely borrow one from my dealer before making any long term commitments. I frequently take extended trips and require seat comfort. I once had a Dodge Intrepid loaner that was very comfortable until I hit about one hour of drive time. At that point my legs would cramp. I've never had that problem in my Bonnevilles.

    I lease my cars due to the following reasons:
    1)I can drive a more costly vehicle for a lesser monthly payment.
    2)I like to drive a new one after three years.
    3)No trade-in or selling hassles.
    4)I put on relatively high mileage so the end value would not be that good on a trade.
    I realize that buying makes more sense; similar to renting a home vs. buying. But for me and many others, leasing has its advantages.
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