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Pontiac Bonneville



  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Can't wait to see that Chrysler. The memories of unreliable electronics memories in Chryslers from years past have kept me away from buying a newer model. It's exciting to see the products that DC is bringing to the market. I drove a Durango Hemi a couple weeks ago and was very impressed. Looking forward to seeing this 300C. I won't be in the market for a car in that price range but it it'll be fun to see and drive - then maybe wait for the preowned deals to surface.

    Hammen2 - Thanks for the link. I found several shops in my area so I guess I'll give it a try. Printed out lots of info to read up on first.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    Pics of the 300C can be found here (Google is your friend):

    It's personally not my cup of tea.

    I think the price on the Bonneville GXP is too high, unless we see mega incentives. For that $$$ I'd look at a CTS or even a GTO (comparing apples to oranges here :-)

    Ken, I agree with you re: past Chrysler reliability. My dad was a Mopar man from the 30's through the 70's, but I had more problems with being stranded by Chrysler products (from a 1981 Omni I used to own when I was a poor starving college student, to a 1995 minivan I rented) that I don't know if I could seriously consider one without having my sanity questioned :-)

  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    BOB,I have to agree with you on this also.
    It looks more like a boxed off cheese grater- nothing left to the imagination (IMO)
    That said, I did a comparison on MSN between the 300C and the GXP-the GXP is more expensive and the 300C has more HP but to me two things come into play here- style and reliability.
    Obviously, if you had bad experiences owning a prior make your going to be inclined to purchase the opposite based on that.
    Unfortunately, I'm not in the market myself right now to purchase either car brand new and even if I were I'd probably lean toward what Ken suggested- go with a car 1 or 2 years old ETC.
    but if I could buy new, I'd go with a new Bonneville not the Chrysler.
    I come from a Chrysler car owning family also-
    Anyone who ever owned a Chrysler from the 60's,70's knows what I mean- that sickening WHINING SOUND from the starter as the car struggled to turn over because of the moisture,humidity etc. UGH!!!!
    We owned our share of GM cars also- but I would have to honestly say (again, in my opinion) that the GXP is the better looking vehicle- reliability between both cars is the unknown element right now.
    Reliability between GM vs Chrysler- GM wins.
  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    I dropped off this board awhile back when it got quiet and nobody was talking about the GXP. Glad to see folks talking about it again now that it is about to start showing up in showrooms. I can’t wait to see and drive one. Pontiac engineering, reliability, and style all push me toward the GXP. I’m a little biased because I have been a Pontiac owner for years, but I have stayed with Pontiac because all my Pontiacs have been reliable, fun to drive, and have served me well. I like fantascp’s characterization of the 300C as a boxed off cheese grater! It also looks like it has the roofline from a Checker Cab. And the squared off and flat instrument panel (as opposed to the rounded and “curved around the driver” panel of the Bonneville) turns me off. To each his own, but I guess I’m just not a fan of all the squared off and “angry”looks that many cars’ interiors and exteriors are gravitating toward. The Bonneville from 2000 on, and now especially the GXP, is especially graceful-looking to me, inside and out. There’s nothing “in-your-face” about it—just grace and elegance, now with some real performance goodies added. I hoped for a tad more horsepower than 275 in the GXP, but if that moves that 3,700 pound car 0-60 in 6.5 or 6.6 as advertised, that’s plenty fast for me. I imagine if I wanted to boost the horsepower of the Northstar, that wouldn’t be hard to do.

    I agree with the comments on the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. I had balancing problems on my ’98 Trans Am that several dealers and tire shops could not resolve until I found a shop with the Hunter balancer. That was the solution.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    For those who might remember, I had been an import buyer for 20+ years before I bought the '00 SLE. Coincidentally, it was a couple of bad import experiences plus the allure of a 300M that made me even consider domestics. I eventually passed on the Chrysler (spotty electricals and trannies) and circumstances led me to Pontiac. I've been happy for 3+ years

    But I have to admit that I've been happy despite a few things and some of these things - like the interior - Pontiac has not improved in the 4 years since they introduced the current Bonneville. So, while I will definitely consider the GXP next year, I will have an honest look at all the competition. Will one of those be the 300M? Maybe - but the large-mouth-bass-[non-permissible content removed]-subway-vent grille will have to grow on me first.

    But stranger things have been known to happen in Chateau Ice...
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    GXP is a decent car, but the dash needs fixing and the price needs to drop some. With cars like the TL out there a few grand cheaper, the GXP needs better pricing. Pontiac fixed the cladding and engine woes.

    Those who buy it are likely to be quite happy with it, however. Nice mill under the hood.
  • are you feeling all right???
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    That's kinda how I'd describe the current Bonnie as well, Reg: a decent - but not great - car. For what I paid, decent is fine. As you move up the entry price scale, decent won't cut it - particularly as there always seems to be a competitor out there who is upping the refinement ante.

    Guys, don't get me wrong on this: I still love my Bonnie and still rate it as the best 4 door sedan I have owned. It is certainly better than my '92 Mazda 929 but it should be: it's 8 years newer. But the Bonneville is, in many ways, less refined than that 8 year older car - more NVH and less well-designed interior (particularly the dash and the door panels).

    But the Bonnie is a more visceral experience - it has gobs of low-end torque courtesy the much-maligned 3.8 (keep in mind that mine is the non s/c version). Case in point: I have a stoplight reference point that I've been using for the past decade or so just to cut loose every once in a while. I occasionally let my cars rip from a standing stop and check my speed when I hit the next intersection (it's a country road and there's rarely any traffic so it's safe...). I don't know the distance because that's not the point - it's a consistent reference point and I just like to let it rip. The 195 hp 929 used to hit 105 km/h at that point - my '95 Camry V6 a little less (somewhere between 100 and 105 IIRC). The Bonnie? 120+ easy. And, what's more, it's easy to control the entire time. That little stunt with the Camry is how it earned the name "The Wanderer" in our household.

    But for all of the Bonnie's admirable traits, there are warts: to me, it's primarily that the central dash instrument stack is not up to par. The material used for the dash cover itself are fine but that centre stack! It's primarily those cheap grey plastic Sunfire knobs and radio controls but it's not just that - the stack just lacks a sculpted feel. And the those dash vents - sheesh! I know the car is supposed to be "luxury with attitude" and I don't want the attitude scrapped but I want GM to spend more time getting the "luxury" thing right: it's not just amenities (which the Pontiac has in gobs) and materials (which they have mostly right) but elegance of the design as well. And this is the Achilles heel.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I personally would prefer an "elegance with attitude" - that would be a balance that would keep me in a Bonnie. And the GXP is miles closer on that balance - just a little more $ on the interior (and maybe RWD?) and I'll be ordering an '05 GXP.

    The TL? Well, it impressed me 3 years ago - but lost out to the Bonnie's more visceral nature and more roomy interior. The '04 TL is a huge improvement and is definitely a competitor - but, while certainly more elegant and a strong performer, it lacks the attitude quotient. But frankly, attitude without cojones is simply delusional.

    Long post - my bad.

  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    Sounds like I'm the Lone Ranger here. I like the Bonneville cockpit style dash and orange lighting but maybe I'm biased because I'm ex-Air Force. My only complaint is that I have to peek around the steering wheel to see the DIC. And I like the FWD on my SSEi. It certainly has little torque steer on hard acceleration like some others I've driven, and I've owned a long string of RWD cars (TA's)in Kansas. While we don't get the snow and ice that some of you farther north and east get, we get enough that it was pointless to get out in it in the TA. My wife got real tired of me bumming rides to work with her (she has an '01 GTP). I realize the weight distribution is front-heavy with FWD, but that's what gives it the go in the snow, and I'm not into slalom driving and hard cornering anymore, so FWD with StabiliTrak works fine for me.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    You're not alone, I dig the Bonnie's dash too! I think that it's a matter of personal taste. Personally, I don't care for that Bauhaus styling that everybody and their dog ape from German cars. IMO, Germans never had any sense of style.

    But it always baffles me that no one in the press points out to the TL and TSX copying the Bonnie's front-end...
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    To each their own, I suppose. I too like the orange-red lighting, so that's not my issue. It really is a combination of things and if they hadn't used the cheap grey plastic knobs and had put the cruise controls on the steering wheel instead of the stalk, I probably wouldn't have noticed anything else. At night, I think the Bonnie's display is awesome - during the day it's just alright. I'm just saying that "alright" doesn't cut it in this price segment.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    TL's got an interior with attitude and 5.1 audio, 0-60 in 5.8 (with stick likely about 6.5 with auto) and Honda tightness.

    GXP had better be good.
  • just was wondering how is the sound quality of the stereo in the ssei? thanx Jason
  • scscarsscscars Posts: 92
    One of the reasons that I bought my '02 SLE was the dashboard, which has real gauges and orange backlighting rather than "idiot lights" and pale blue or green illumination. After having experienced a Sable and an Intrepid with nothing more than base instrumentation and lame lighting at night, the Bonnie's dash, orange glow, and the DIC truly improve the driving experience.

    Now about those materials... Iceman, I do agree with you about the gray plastic buttons and knobs (also called "chiclets"). While those are fine for Sunfires and Vibes, Pontiac really should get rid of the gray plastic and find materials that are more upscale to the eyes and to the touch for their cars that sticker for more than $25000. The chiclets truly cheapen the center stack and steering wheel of what is otherwise a comfortable and well-designed interior. For the knobs and buttons, Pontiac should look to Cadillac or Saab for inspiration.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Your post in meet the members suggest that you're looking for advice on whether to trade your current GP GTs for '01 or '02 SSEi. First of all, congrats on the baby...

    To answer your stereo question: the stereo in the Bonneville is better than the the GP's - but only marginally. IMHO, neither are industry leaders. Plus, I understand that's well nigh impossible to upgrade stereos in either and get the steering wheel controls to work.

    WRT should you trade: It depends if you're itching to get into something newer or different - or just want a s/c for the extra power or something to play with (a lot of guys here swap the s/c pulley to play with the boost and hike the ponies).

    To be honest, you're really not getting that much extra room with the Bonnie, so I wouldn't base a decision on this point. But, if you do want to trade, you'll get even more and better features and a more powerful and safer car: check out the NHTSA and IIHS rating - the Bonneville is one of the best on the road. PERIOD. And, for me, that counted for a lot as the Bonnie is our primary kid mover. WRT safety, the SSEi has stability control and its traction control is all-speed (vs. low-speed only in the GP). Finally, it is without question a far better fitted-out and more solid vehicle overall (my wife has an '01 GP GT and we definitely prefer the ride of our SLE).

    So, those are the good things. The question that only you can answer is if those things are compelling enough to pay a difference in a trade (and an upgrade to premium fuel after the switch), whether or not your current ride's reliability is strong, etc.

    FWIW, up here, you could probably engineer such a trade for the equivalent of about $US 7k - perhaps you can do better in your neck of the woods?
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Yeah, you've nailed my view on the dash - love the gauges, the dashboard itself, and the orange-red backlighting. Plus the fact that absolutely everything is illuminated at night but those cheap grey "chiclets" have got to go. To be honest with you, I'm okay with the centre stack but it just doesn't look as "unitized" as a few others I've seen - while much better than many other cars, it still has that GM "parts bin" look. But, to repeat, it's not a sore spot - it just doesn't bowl me over.

    I don't want to sound harsh here as most cars' centre stacks do little for me: for example, the new Acura TL's is dominated by these two, large goofy-looking stainless knobs that destroy an otherwise bland stack.


    Here's one I could live with:

    And another (the Mazda 6):

    The Maxima:

    Yes, I would prefer these in black (the stainless look seems way too trendy to me) but it's not the materials - it's how the controls are integrated into the stack. OTOH, I wonder how usable some of these things are when you're driving - having too many small buttons concentrated into too small a space doesn't exactly allow you to find things without taking your eyes off the road.

    Here's one (the Passat) where the switchgear is nice but the overlook is unimpressive (IMHO):


    Now, I've always liked how Volvo deals with it:


    But, in the end, I confess that I haven't found another that isn't without aesthetic or ergonomics that I can't pick at. I guess I'll just never be happy... ;-)
  • Hello.
    (Warning- Editorial follows)

    I rarely get time to participate in these discussions.

    I've been anxiously awaiting the 04 GXP to replace (maybe) my 00 SSEi.

    The GXP appears to be nothing more than a child whose father is an SSEi and mother is an Aurora.

    The 275 Hp engine is almost insulting. My modded 00 is running about 300Hp.

    Reports are that 04 may be the end of the Bonneville line due to lagging sales (duh!).

    All it would take is to dump the big Northstar in the GXP, put a GPS dispaly/radio in the center console, find a way to cover up those stupid open cup holders and go back to the more supportive bucket seats in th 97-99 SSEi. (BTW - Who's idea was the suede inserts in the seats??)

    I find it interesting the Pontiac contiues to compare its top of the line to the Chrysler 300M. Why not the 300C? This is just what they did in the test drive of the 2000.

    I would rather keep my 2000 SSEi for 10 years rather than buy a 300 (something to do with coming of driver age in the 60s)

    The Maximas (we won't even talk about the Altima), Acuras, Infiniti's and now the 300C are all going to outshine a potentially exciting car, but, the powers that be at GM (especially Powertrain)are somewhere in a boardroom discussing lagging sales.

    Those of you truly interested in a new High Performance Bonny need to start emailing, mailing or calling Pontiac will all be a memory soon.

  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    Thanks for the nice selection of dashboards. I agree with you, I can't put up with the stain-less steel look. Abstracting it, I'd zone in the 6's and the S80's.

    I don't know what to make of the thin central stack in the S40 with an empty space behind it. Interesting, but until I see one personally, I'm not sure how it fits the interior.
  • scscarsscscars Posts: 92
    Iceman: Great response! These satin nickel or fake aluminum finishes that are showing up on the center stacks of everything from Lincolns to Mazdas is not particularly inspiring. It looks as if Volvo is using smaller knobs and buttons than they used to, but I've liked their overall interior design going back to the 740 series in the late '80's. Recent S60 and S80 models in '00-'02 had a very classy interior and center stack.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    TL dash is hot.

    Maxima, not. What WERE they thinking?
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