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Pontiac Grand Am

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  • sweet16sweet16 Posts: 3
    I am looking into purchasing a Grand Am. I am a New Grad and this will be my first New car. I have been researching prices and options like crazy. I have yet to test drive/go to a dealer. Can someone let me know if they are happy with their Grand AM? Or if I should check out some other cars?? Thanks. - SG
  • photodoctor - I wish I had a dog and that was the problem! I'll be taking it to Arrow Pontiac for the warranty fixes.

    Sweet16 - In general, this is the best car I've ever own. For the money, the GT model I got is a great value. The only problems I've had are related to typical GM quality issues - interior parts and brakes. But even those haven't been that often or serious.

    The GT is a rocket and I get compliments everywhere I go. My car is bright red, and people keep asking how I keep it so clean, even if I haven't washed it in over a month! So far I've got 33,000 miles and all the mechanics of the car are working perfect. I average 24-25 mpg in mixed driving. In summary, I am very pleased with my purchase. And my neighbor's 16-year old daughter wants my car!
  • sweet16. Let me add my 2 cents. I concur with midlifecrisis, the Grand Ams are a good value, plus they're fun to drive. I also have the GT in red with the chrome wheels. It's a real "looker". I happen to like their distinct looks, but of course styling is a matter of taste. Apparently many agree because the GAs are a big seller for GM. Have you considered leasing? It's not for everyone but it could save you on the monthly payments, especially if you wait for Pontiac to offer a nice leasing incentive.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide !
  • corkfishcorkfish Posts: 537
    Buying a Grand AM? Geez, just look at the posts on this board, they're all mechanical problems. You can buy a 2 litre sentra for the same or a less money that will offer the same performance as the Grand AM and doesn't look nearly as silly ( the thing looks like something a ninth grader would draw during study hall, I laugh every time I see one). The new Sentras coming out this fall will have 6 speed gearboxs and will do 0 to 60 about a full second quicker than a Grand AM.
    Plus, a [non-permissible content removed] car will last forever with little or no problems.
  • Nice touch corkfish - give Sweet 16 your opinion that the car looks like something a ninth grader drew.

    Oh by the way - I bought a new Sentra once. Got rid of it because it had a lot of mechanical problems. And it looked like something only a seventh grader could fit in.
  • sweet16 - I think the majority of Grand Am owners are quite satisfied with their cars, whether they have SEs or the GTs that midlifecrisis and I own.
    Those of us on the above website just recently rated our GAs on a scale of 1 to 10. 80% of the respondents gave their cars an 8, which I did. I figure that 10 is the perfect car which hasn't been built yet, so a rating of 8 out of 9 is pretty good I'd say. Plus, new car bugs are not the sole property of GM. All car companies have their problems, including the Japanese. That's what warranties are for.
    My advice: go test drive as many as you can and then decide and see who will give you the best deal.

    Midlifecrisis - I think we should get together and start a Red GT club, here in NJ !!!
  • Make that rating as follows.... 77% rated their GAs an 8 or better. 18% gave their cars a 10!!!
    40% gave theirs an 8.
  • I got my GA back from the dealer yesterday. They fixed the inside door material and replaced a faulty window regulator. They also order new dashboard material to be installed. I was so happy to get the car back. Even after one day, I need the car to enjoy driving again!
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Where is your deaker located in NJ? Thanks.
  • Arrow Pontiac is located in Mount Holly, Burlington County. I would recommend them to anyone with the service I've been getting. They've even fixed a couple things that I didn't ask them to fix!

    We'll see how things go when the car's warranty runs out in a couple months.
  • Has anyone had exceptional service in the Central Massachusetts area? I need to find somewhere better than I am going at the moment. Thanks.
  • Since we're talking about service...does anyone live in the Northern Virgnia area who can recommend a good service shop?

    I have been taking mine to the Farrish Pontiac dealer in Fairfax. They are pretty good, they fixed all the warranty problems I had without any issue. They replaced my rotors when I had brake vibrations, and I didn't even tell them to! I also got them to paint the side mirrors silver, to match the body color of my 00 SE. My black mirror casings were fading and I told them I was aware of a service bulletin out on them. One of the service techs didn't want to do it, but then I talked to the service manager and he took care of it.
  • rose_budrose_bud Posts: 15
    Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to get the Grand Am GT. I've read through the posts here and from what I've read, it looks like even though there may be some problems here and there, most folks LOVE their Grand Am and are pleased they bought it.

    I currently have a 1991 Ford Convertible LX Mustang. Before anyone says anything about Ford, I must tell you that this car has been fantastic. I haven't had any major problems with it and it's still soooooo much fun to drive. I love it, I love it, I love it. But, it's got a bunch of miles on it (146K) and as my daily roundtrip commute is around 70 miles, I thought it was time to get something new.

    I looked at the Camry Solara before I decided on the GA. The Camry is a beautiful car and looks like it's made solidly. But, I just don't want to spend that much money! And the Toyota dealers I went to didn't make me feel comfortable.

    I am looking for a fully loaded car and I will be getting a VERY loaded Grand Am for about $6000 LESS than a Camry Solara. If I include the interest that I'll be saving on my car loan my savings are even higher.

    I test drove the SE and the GT Grand AMs and I fell in love with the GT. It handles great and it's an extremely comfortable ride. Plus it looks hot. I'd love to get RED like 'midlifecrises' but I don't want to attract that much attention on the road (I'm shy) so I think it'll be silver for me.

    I'm a little concerned about having problems with the car, but since I'm saving so much (over the Camry Solara) I can afford to get an extended warranty if I feel I need to.

    I would love to read more about how the car behaves itself after 50K miles as I'd like my new car to last well over 100K. Anyone out there have more than 50K on their GA?

    By the way, I love to read what WHACKO says. WHACKO is so funny! What a riot...
  • trentw1trentw1 Posts: 2
    Rose_bud --
    Consider how much time you are willing to spend sitting at the dealer's waiting for warranty work.

    Our 99 Grand Am has hit 40k miles and is in need of it's second set of front brake discs. In all, we had it back to the dealer for:
    Key cylinder replacement @6k (the car thought the key was still in when it wasn't, couldn't lock doors w/ power button - still a neat feature)
    Weather strip replacement @3k (it fell off at the bottom of the driver's door - just a little glue needed)
    Battery replacement @5k (left my wife stranded in a shopping center parking lot, no lights left on or anything - guess some batteries just aren't made as well as others)
    Front disc replacement @14k (see numerous other messages for description of GM brakes)
    Electrical problems @20k (started car, windshield wipers came on and washer pump started pumping all fluid out on its own - now that was fun to watch)
    Front head lamp replacement @28k (is not a owner maintenance item - owner's manual instructions were for some other car, definitely not the 99 - maybe it's easier on the newer models)

    and a few other minor problems. Overall, its a nice little car w/ the V6, but my wife & I constantly recall how much we really wanted a Camry. When we get our '02 Oddessy, the Grand Am will become our 'backup' vehicle - expect to put less than 2,000 miles per year on it until it dies.

    Seriously consider the extended warranty w/ service included.
  • rose_budrose_bud Posts: 15
    Trent,

    You've brought up items that do indeed instill some concern and dare I say, FEAR in me.

    I appreciate you taking the time to put down some of the problems you've had. This certainly isn't an easy decision for me to make...
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Well, if that worries you, then I wouldn't buy American at all. We have a 99 GA (with an extended warranty) and at 30K miles little annoying things are beginning to happen like door locks stop working, mirror housings fading, radio is intermittent, etc.

    Even though this stuff is under warranty, my time is money. That greatly influenced our recent car purchase, and every one I make from now on. I don't care if someone gives a 100 year warranty, I don't have time to deal with annoying little things that shouldn't have happen to begin with.

    Well, just my 2-cents, as unpopular I'm sure it will be.
  • rose_budrose_bud Posts: 15
    Yup, I hear ya. I would be hating life if the car was in the shop all the time, even if I didn't have to pay for it to get fixed.

    I really and truly am trying to weigh the possible problems I might have with the car against all the great equipment I'll be getting for the price.

    I appreciate your input.

    What kind of car did you recently purchase?
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Don't get me wrong, one of the things that drew me to GA was all the "stuff" you get for the money, and if throw on top of that any discounts like the notorious GM rebates (how else they gonna sell cars?) and GM Card Bucks like I had, well it's a pretty good deal on the surface. To get a mid-size V6 sedan for under $20k is a pretty good deal.

    But there is a definite difference (from my ownership experience) between say a Toyota/Nissan/Honda product and a GM/Ford/Chrysler product. The GA is full of cheap plastic and tacky looking Pontiac buttons and switches. It's amazing that there is such a thing between "nice" plastic and "cheap" plastic, but if you shopped the Solara you probably noticed the difference in the cabin quality aesthetics.

    What did I get recently? Not a fair comparison, but I got a Lexus RX300 4WD w/navigation system. I wanted the ultimate in saftey, luxury and reliablity. Heck, the dealer will even come and pick the car up if it needs service. But in all fairness, it's not valid for this conversation... you almost get 2 non-GT GAs for what I paid for the Lexus ;-)

    I guess what really matters is if you get a good Pontiac dealer near you. GM dealer service is very spotty, some are fantastic and some won't even give you the time of day. If you have a good dealer near you and you like the styling of the GT GA, I say go for it. At least the plastic cladding on the GT is less obnoxious than on the SE2 sedan I got. Also, notice my complaints are only on non-drivetrain stuff. The 3.4L V6 in the GAs are an old push-rod design, but they are very reliable and proven. The GA is one of the biggest selling cars in the country.

    Good luck.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 318
    I've only had the chance to rent a Grand Am (1999) on one occasion, but my wife (5' 2") and I (5' 11") both liked driving the car very much. Tight steering, taught suspension (little body roll, but not harsh over the expansion joints on the overpasses) and good, although not great visibility. Definitely a car where you have to use your (nice and large) mirrors judiciously - looking out the windows isn't enough, due to the high window sills and thick pillars.

    Road and wind noise on the highway are pretty good. The seats were quite good, but we did feel a bit stiff after 6.5hrs with only one break. Not too bad though. Interestingly enough, the driver's side power window had the same "squeal" somebody else complained of. Driving mostly on cruise control at 70mph with the A/C on, we got 35mpg U.S..

    The interior and exterior styling are a matter of personal taste - I like something that isn't trying so hard to get your visual attention, I guess.

    I asked the car rental shop's owner how the car had been, and he said he has several Grand Am's and they've all been very reliable. He did say "you can't be stingy on the pad replacement" though - meaning he's replacing the brake pads fairly frequently to save the discs.

    In the end, however, we ended up getting an Oldsmobile Alero - which is built on the same N-body platform as the Grand Am. In my opinion, it has all the things I liked about the Grand Am, with none of those I didn't like. Better seats, should be comparable mileage, comparable engine power (it's the same 3.4L engine), no body cladding, the ability to turn off the interior vents one-by-one, fewer problems with interior trim and other areas, based on CAA Autopinion and Consumer Reports.

    Ultimately, though, you've got to do some test drives. Several, so you get a bid "jaded" and can find the faults in a newer car right away. Personally, I have a checklist I evaluate all cars against - with all the things I'm looking for. This is the subjective and enjoyable part of cars that stats and surveys cannot convey. Car reviewers try to, but, still, that's THEIR opinion not YOURS. And it's going to be YOUR car. If I listened to Consumer Reports on all things, I'd be driving a 4cyl. Accord or Camry and be bored as h*ll ! I sure wouldn't be going out for drives at night for no reason other than my enjoyment.
  • ronsmith38ronsmith38 Posts: 228
    I'll post this again, as yesterday's post appears to have gone into the bit bucket.
    Have you considered the Olds Alero? It is mechanically the same as the GA, about the same price, but has a 5Yr/60,000Mi warranty. Besides I think it looks much sharper than the GA. I assisted my daughter in the purchase of one (Alero), and she loves it.
  • If you've been driving a mustang convert. and you're considering a GA, then you gotta go with the GT. I don't think you'd be happy with the SE. Let me add that Nissan is coming out with an upgraded Altima that's reported to be a hot little car. Actually, "little" is not the proper word. It's being given larger dimensions, akin to the Maxima, and much higher performance, all at a very competitive price. If I was in the market for a new car I'd check that baby out.

    I agree 100% with Rick (#1131) that you can't take Consumer Reports, and other reviews, solely on their advice. (I had a 95 GA/GT which I loved but CR hated.) You have to test drive 'em, and not just around the block. Take it to the freeway too. If the dealer wants your business he'll let you give it a real run.

    Lastly, the color. You gotta get the red! Hey, I'm rather conservative too but the red with the chrome tech wheels is a real "looker". As with midlifecrisis I'm getting compliments all the time on my GA.

    Good Luck !
  • camryv6camryv6 Posts: 42
    I THINK THE PONTIAC GRANDAM IS TO PLASTICLY LIKE THE SIDES AND STUFF. AND IT HAS ALOT OF ROAD NOISE. AND EVERYTHING FELT CHEAP. SO I BOUGHT A (RELIABLE )CAMRY..I RENTED ONE FOR 3 WEEKS.
  • rose_budrose_bud Posts: 15
    I really appreciate the posts with all the information.

    There has been a family emergency so I need to put off my research for a few weeks.

    Thank you again.
  • I looked at a Camry before buying a GA GT. What a yawner! I spend almost 10 hours a week in my car, so why would I want something that makes me fall asleep from boredom? Sure the car has better than average reliability, but I want a vehicle that has some kind of personality. The color-matched body side molding on the GT makes a very nice statement and is functional in preventing paint dings. The people who dislike the cladding must be in the minority because I get compliments everywhere I go.

    Besides, Camry's are all my parents ever buy. Let me say that the GT is not your father's Camry!
  • rose_budrose_bud Posts: 15
    Thankfully my family emergency had been taken care of faster than I had hoped. Back to the research.

    midlifecrisis - So, you really do still love your car? That makes a difference to me. I felt in reading your last few posts that maybe you were starting to get frustrated or disappointed with some problems your were having with it.

    I have looked and I can't find anything else out there that has all the equipment for the price. Plus the other cars I've driven (Alero for one) just don't feel very sporty. The steering was too loose. Does that make sense? I'm not very car technical...

    Are there more things to be careful of with a red car? Like fading? I understand that black tends to heat up the inside more than other colors. And Silver will not show dirt as quickly as other colors.

    rdeschene - I'm taking your advice and am testing driving a few more cars today. Hope you all had a great weekend!
  • The current generation Camry is soooo boring. There's no way you can be a car enthusiast and buy that car. I'll admit, the new (2002) Camry is much better looking and it's probably more reliable than a GA, but the GA GT is so much better looking. I've seen a lot of black one's with chrome wheels recently, and they are definitely head turners.

    By the way, Camry's have problems too. A friend of mine has a '99 with the 3.0 v6. At 26,000 miles, his check engine light came on. The car was running very rough. When he took it in to the dealer, all 6 fuel injectors needed to be replaced. The dealer told him this is a very common problem on the 3.0 engines. Right after that, he bought an extended warranty.
  • Glad to hear the family emergency is behind you. Now on to the fun stuff..... Shopping for a car!!!
    We just had some heavy rain here in NJ and when it let up I asked myself: do I want to put my baby to bed tonight without an evening bath? Absolutely not I said. So when the rain had stopped there I was washing and drying my red Grand Am and putting it in the garage. Would I have done that for a Camry? Nah !!!

    and to the question of red paint....
    The red's today are much better at holding up against fading. Sure, It helps to keep it garaged like I do but they'll
    do just fine without that luxury.

    If you decide on a GA, whatever color you get make sure you also get the chrome tech wheels. They really look super.

    Russ (photodoctor)
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    My red '99 GrandAm is still knocking on the 60 thousand mile door and going strong! Seems I have been hovering at the high 50s forever.

    But the car still looks and handles new. And folks kid with me, saything that I need a RED car. It still is bright, and admittedly, I wash it once a week.

    It does show some chipping on the front of the hood, where rocks and junk fly on it from vehicles ahead of me. But, I dob those with a factory-red paint stick and no one notices the damage. At about 100k, I'll probably have the car re-painted. Tempted to repaint it with a bright metallic red scheme, just to irritate all the Camry owners in this area with their golden car bodies.

    I'm tempted to do a cosmetic renewal of the car at the 100k mark anyway, such as replacing the carpet, and maybe replacing the seat fabrics.

    I have budgeted enough for a complete makeover, including replacing the serpentine belt, and all coolant hoses. Also servicing the auto tranny, and replacing the SE struts with GT struts.

    Obviously, this car is a keeper for me and I'd like it to stay as fresh as I can make it, as it ages.
  • bill211bill211 Posts: 21
    Well I went out a purchased the 2001 Arctic White GT1 with leather seats and sunroof and all I can say is this is one hot car. I can see where some people dislike the SE model though and there is no comparison to the top-line model. Do yourself a favor and spend the extra few thousand. It's been a month now and have a couple of thousand miles on it. Put alot of miles on it last week on a road trip. Holy smokes, this car rocks on the open highway. You pass with ease in this car. I had a Mustang GT and the Grand Am has better road manners if you ask me. With the sun roof open and cruising at 70. all you hear is is a slight breeze. I swear this car could get more dates than me, as I get at least 2 or 3 people a week saying, "hey, nice car", or. "wow thats a sharp looking car". Anyway I recommend the GT1 to anybody wanting a full featured auto for around $20,000. No problems and the brakes are fine. I do notice how easily the rotors oxidize while washing the car, but this hasn't seemed to effect the brake system. The only caveats are a couple of times a lowered civic would pull behind me and I would not see it in the rear view mirror because I see right over their roof, could be dangerous if backing. And the other is the Silicone Dot matrix on the back glass, not allowing window tint to adhere to it. However its so high in window you dont see it in the rear view, and appears only as a slight foggy area from the outside. Also one interesting note is that after taking the car out on the road, it appears to get better gas milage. 25 in the city, 35 on the highway. I was very surprised to see this so I ran the tank near dry twice to make sure. The numbers are right unless GM is putting more than the listed 14.3 gallon tank. Also with all the sport-tuned add-ons that come with the GT1, It is very surdy and sure footed at 125 MPH as it is at 45MPH. Happy driving Grand-AM owners, I know I can't get enough.

    ps. I dont recommend driving faster than the posted speed limit, but it happens some times.
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