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Pontiac Grand Prix - 2000-2005



  • I'm not going to make excuses. Like the above post, you did indeed tested the lowest of the low on the Grand Prix line.

    Not only does is not have the better engine, it has smaller tires (15" vs 16"), better suspension, etc. I own a 2000 GTP, and can tell you the vehicle has fantastic brakes. I don't know for sure if the SE has the same, or has smaller ones.

    You are also missing out on options such as the HUD which is not present on the SE.

    I can't comment on the cloth seats, because I only sat in leather. The seats are hard, but I like them that way. I'm not looking for the best luxury. Plus I don't think you get the 6 way power seats in the SE either.

    As far as the rest of the interior is concerned, with the GT/GTP you get steering wheel controls, so I never have to reach over execpt to turn stuff on.

    Could the switch gear and some of the buttons be of better quality? Yses. Could the interior use some better quality materials / fitting - yes.

    But ask any GT or especially GTP owner, they will overlook that in favor of the total package. (looks, handling, power, style, features). I don't think you can ask the same of an SE owner. Honestly I think POntiac should drop the model.

    Try testing a GTP for kicks and see if your opinion changes.

  • toon1toon1 Posts: 19
    Just one more regarding the Grand Prix. Of course, everyone's opinions and needs are different. When shopping several months ago, I drove a Honda Accord EX. Although a nice car, for my money, the GT was the way to go. Agreeing with the above post, the fit and finish could use a little upgrade, but overall a better package. Please drive the GT before making your decision!
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Hi KC!

    Whether you buy one or not, at least test drive a GT (or a GTP). I own a GT myself, and I am very happy with it. I haven't driven an SE model, but there must be a huge difference, based on your negative comments about the SE.

  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    why did you want to test drive an SE ?

    Also you claim that you are not biased but then you rattle off a whole paragraph how the Grand Prix's interior basically sucked and how much better it was in a [bland] Toyota.

    I find Grand Prix's interior to be ergonomically well executed and well laid out.

    BTW - GTP's brakes are way better then SE's.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    New brakes usually are so-so, for about the first 200 miles. This is normal.

    Did not drive Grand Prix, but know the Pontiac controls from driving a rented GrandAm. They are looking somewhat untasty and industrial, too big and imposing, when you just sit in the car the first time. But, unexpectedly, the controls turn very convenient when driving, especially driving/turning fast. Even before accustomed to the car.

    This is like the big-button phones, designed first for handicapped. Turned to be convenient to healhy people too, especially when the hands and brains are busy.

    As to the SE trim, I believe the 3.1l engine is barely adequate for this car. I like the 3.1l engine in my Malibu, but Malibu is a car of lesser class, than GP. Though, even with the 3.1, Grand Prix (and Malibu) have much better acceleration, than Honda Accord / Toyota Camry with 4 cylinders. For about the same price.
  • I mean why even both with a Grand Prix if you are going to cheap out with an SE. Might as well as get a cheaper but better equipped Grand Am...
  • Thanks for the feedback. I can't afford the GT or GTP, that's why I checked out the SE. Even with the 3.1, I found the engine to have a lot of pickup. The 3.8 must be like a jet.

    I have a buddy who has a GTP and he has the leather seats, which he says makes a big difference in the look of the interior. I also just thought the control panel was a bit crowded together. The car just wasn't for me, what can I say?

    I really did go in with an open mind. I was heavily leaning toward buying the car, before I went in there for the test drive. It's one of the sharpest looking cars out there. I'm glad that I checked it out.

    I went and bought a 2001 Honda Accord LX 5 speed last night. Conservative, yeah. Is it me, yeah. No regrets.

    Being a car enthusiast, I will continue reading the posts. And you guys are right, you hardly read anything negative about the Grand Prix'. Want to read negative, go to the Ford Taurus and Windstar sites. Ouch.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    You can buy a new 2001 Honda Accord LX 5-speed for under $20,000. Kc Flynn...enjoy your new car, what really counts is to buy what you like!
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    Sorry about the long delay, was busy over the long weekend. I agree that the Eagle RS-A are good all-round tires. I haven't had too much chance to test them under aggressive driving conditions (roads are too straight in the city), but they seem to do well in the heavy rain of the Northwest and very well in the occasional snowfall. Treadwear is quite good, I think I can hit 100K km with mine, but that's because there aren't really any twisties where I am.

    As for the flat look, I know that the modern radials do tend to look like that. However, the numerous rice rockets I see with even lower aspects than my 205/55 seem to look just fine. Despite having the correct pressure, mine still look a bit flattish, especially in the front, since it is probably quite front heavy,

    BTW, I actually have a Sunfire GT, not a GP, but I just wanted to get your feedbacks on the tires since they are the same model. Sure, sizes are different, but they should be basically the same.

    As for X-One vs. RS-A, I don't know. I would say that it may be hard to compare them, since they are in a bit of a different league. However, the X-One looks to be an excellent touring tire
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    Why does Pontiac even offer the SE? I've always seen it as interfering with the sporty image of the GP.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Why does Pontiac offer SE? Possibly, because there is enough demand for W-body cars with 3.1l and 3.4l engine... Who knows, it is conceivable even that the demand is higher than for GT and GTP.

    Hard to say definitely, the GM data sales I saw does not provide break-up by model trim, only by model. Though, the Buick Century, a tween of SE, sells very well. Twice better than Regal LS and GS combined - basically the same cars as GT and GTP. And about as well as all trims of GP sedans and coupe combined, including SE.

    On the other hand, the Olds Intrigue, a nice and powerful car which is not offered in a smaller-engine trim, does not sell well.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The 3100 V-6 is not the best engine choice for the W-Body cars. If GM insists in keeping around the Century and the GP SE they should drop in the engine bay the 3400 OHV V-6 (180HP) found in the base Impala sedan. The 3400 has better torque and powerband to propel the added weight of this platform. The 3100 V-6 is much better suited for the P90 or N-body cars such as the Malibu, Grand Am and Alero. Even the Grand Am GT offers the 3400 V-6 engine as standard fare on that trim level..go figure!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I have impression, that at first GM tested the 3400 with a mini-van. Then, starting from 99, the corporation went to put the engine in all new models of about right size. But do not bother to
    redesign the older cars and continue producing them with 3100. Even while there is not so much difference between the 3100 and 3400 engines.

    By the way, GrandAm/Alero is not available with
    3100. Either 4 cylinders, or 3400 v-6.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The only N-body to use the 3100 V-6 is the Malibu.
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
    I had an older version of the 3100, just the plain old 3.1mpi with 135hp in a '90 Beretta. I always thought it was pretty snappy. Of course it was in a fairly light car. It was pretty quick off the line, but quickly ran out of breath above 50mph. I will say this however, till this day I have never driven a car with an engine that responded quicker than that 3.1. It was amazing how fast it would kickdown a gear or just plain accelerate. If my 3800 responded as quick as that, it would take a whole second off 1/4 mile times.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The same with my 98 Malibu and 155 hp 3100. Very fast acceleration from stop. Probably better, than with 200 hp v-6 Camry: several times passed them from traffic lights. But so-so acceleration when entering highway, especially the last leg, after 45-50 mph.

    But now I have impression, that my new Buick accelerates from stop even faster. Only more smooth - did not feel the low-end acceleration at first.
  • I did this when shopping. I cant tell or time 0-60 very well and do not place much value on it. But, everyday, while driving on a highway, I need to accelerate. So, while in overdrive, cruise calmly at 60, floor it, time till 80. This is a good, real life, test of the engine, and transmission downshift ability. I agree, it is not fair to compare auto and manual tranys together this way.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Would consider wrong to floor a new car - even more when it is not mine.

    Any case, I believe the Grand Prix does not need to be floored. Would accelerate beautiful even half-way through, at 3600-4000 rpm.

    I have a tween car, the Buick Regal geezermobil. Need watching speedometer when passing. Otherwise it jumps to 95 mph in few seconds, and does not matter if I drive uphill. Even while I do not use the power shift mode.
  • I try to get one that is a demo that the salesman is driving. For me, I usually look at used ones so they are well beyond the break in period. Try it on your regal. I was not overly impressed with the GP GT but is was not a dog by any means, never drove a GTP.

    I work near an auto plant, they take the vehicles to a parking lot near a train loading spot. It is about a 2 mile drive and they get about 10 punks to drive them there. You can tell because they have shrink wrap on the hood and let me tell you, they do not respect the break in policy. It is a street race for them.

    I wont disclose the make/model but many of you probably have one.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The 60 to 80 acceleration time is a good measure for important real-time situation: highway passing.

    I drive fast and pass often. Though, would not engage in passing, if it requires flooring. Just yesterday drove to next exit and returned, instead of passing, too fast or too close, a group of vehicles clogging access to my exit. Even while passing them was not so difficult technically.

    Other numbers are telling other things. For example, the 0-30 time is much better measure of power in city traffic, while 30-60 used to tell how easy is to merge into highway traffic. 30-70 would be a better measure with the current highway speeds.

    0-60 does not tell much by itself, just combines the two above numbers.

    Most modern engines, including the Cadillac V-8 and Intrigue 3.5l V-6, as well as Camry and Accord V-6, shine at higher rpm, but are so-so in city. Older GM engines, like 3100 in GP SE, provide very good acceleration from full stop, but mediocre one at higher speed. The same, but to lesser extent, is true with the venerable 3800 in GP GT: it provides excellent low-rev acceleration, but only good one at higher speed.

    To highway warriors I would recommend Intrigue, while GT, Buick, Impala or Monte-Carlo better fit the city / mixed driving.

    According to your profile, you have a Cadillac. Never drove one: the car requres higher incomes. But, according to Edmunds, Regal GS, with 88% of the weight of DeVille DTS, have only 80% of its power.

    The above numbers suggest that Regal must be slower than DeVille. Though, the specs demonstrates the opposite: the Buick makes 0-60 in 6.7 seconds, vs. 7.3 seconds for the Caddy. I see the only explanation: a better low-end torque for with the old-technology 3800 engine. I.e., most probably, GS easily wins 0-30.
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
    Yes you have to be careful when passing or you could end up with a ticket. Just today I needed to pass someone very quickly so I gave it a pretty good jab of the throttle. I was going 95mph before I knew it and didn't even realize it the car rode so smooth and quiet. Even though the 3800 is a pushrod, it still is very quick in the upper rpm range and on the highway. Just the other day someone raced me with a mid '90's GTP (3.4DOHC V6). I beat him handily. All the way up to 80mph and I was still slowly pulling away then I let off for obvious reasons. I thought his engine was going to blow up as I passed by him, was very noisy. (We were on an open four lane road, I don't race often). I was pretty impressed that a pushrod took an OHC motor.
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    Punks street racing, huh? I wonder what would happen if someone like 60 Minutes found out. Talk about lawsuit.
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    OHC engines are sometimes overhyped. Just because you have an OHC doesn't mean you can beat a pushrod; there are a lot of factors to consider. Everything considered, the 3800 has to be GM's best pushrod apart from LS6; it's been around for a long time. If it isn't good, it would have never lasted for so long.
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
    The 3.4DOHC engine made 210-215 horsepower. So it is actually a more powerful engine. It had I believe 220 lbs of torque. The 3.8 is so smooth in its power delivery, it just outperforms it every time. Every mag test shows that the 3.8 outdoes the old 3.4 even though it makes slightly less horses. I confirmed that the other night...
  • One thing I notice in my GTP - when getting onto the highway, I allow myself less acceleration room than previously.

    So sometimes people flash me or beep me, or move to another lane, but with that supercharger at full boost, I am up to speed and moving further away from them than before..ha!!

    One ticket repellant is my Valentine One. I've been saved several times. Having a hud does help with speed regulation as well...
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    I know this is tremendously out of topic, but I thought I'd ask you guys on this board because you all seem to be pretty knowledgeable about cars in general.

    Yesterday, I took off from a stop and I thought my gear selector was in the 2 position. When I was going 10-15 km/h, I shifted it up 2 notches, thinking it would go to D. Unfortunately, the selector was already in D, which means that I shifted into R. Oops! There was kind of like a thud, at which point I realized my mistake and immediately brought it back down to N before going to D.

    According to the manual (and common sense), this is very bad for the tranny (the manual says damage may result from shifting into R while moving). I drove back all the way home yesterday and in this morning, looking for anything odd, but it still seems to function like normal. However, I am worried about what that mistake may have done. I am taking the car in on Saturday for an oil change; should I ask them to take a look at the tranny?

    In short, I guess what I'm asking is how bulletproof is GM's 4T-40 tranny? What is the likelihood that I damaged something, and how can I tell if I did?

    Thanks in advance
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,137
    THe only real way to know if you did any tranny damage would be to have them open it up...very costly. They could drop the pan and look for any shavings.

    Not to rain on your parade, but you did probably the worst thing you could do to your tranny short of running it with no fluid.

    That said, if it seems to be running OK, you may have lucked out. The GP transmissions are some of the best in the biz.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    What happen did happen. Either you are lucky, or will need an expensive repair, nothing depends on you already.

    Though, the next time:

    - do not use automatic transmissions in manual mode, except when driving down a long mountain;

    - but, if you need shifting, do not push the safety botton on the shift lever, when switching from 2 or 3 to D.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    I too had the occasion to zip from highway cruising speed up to 90 effortlessly. Left the boogey closing on my six in the dust.

    Anybody input as to when the 3800 starts to run short of breath? Just curious. I'm not interested in trying to find out myself. Someone did post earlier on bumping the 110 speed limiter but did not characterize engine performance in that range.
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
    I always thought the computer would not let the tranny shift into R at speed. I thought there was some kind of a function that would physically keep it from sliding up into the R position. I shift manually from D to OD all the time on the highway when driving out of town. I always push the button and slowly slide it up to the OD position. The worst that can happen is it going into neutral which I've never done. I guess I'll be even more careful when shifting on the road. Note- I only shift from 3rd to 4th at highway speeds, I never downshift manually or upshift manually any other time.

    The 3800 reaches its power peak (200/240hp) at 5200rpm. The redline is at 6000rpm, I have a orange line starting at 5500rpm. Revving the engine faster than 5200rpm is fruitless, as power begins to drop off and the engine really undergoes stress. Your engine will rev all the way to redline if pushed really hard, but it really is pointless, unless you like noise. The fastest I ever get mine is about 5000rpm. I have before hit redline while being way to aggressive with the throttle. I know the engine can handle it, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable. BTW, I have a friend with a '99 SVT Contour. His redline is at 6750rpm. He accidentally downshifted to first gear when he wanted to shift into third coming from fith gear. His tachometer jumped all the way to over 8000rpm for just a split second. Needless to say he wasn't happy. Man, this turned out to be a long post!
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