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Pontiac Bonneville



  • 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?
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    I want to like the TL's interior - I guess I'll have to see it in person - but there are a few things that I'm not crazy about: (1) the use of aluminum in the interior; (2) the scale of that display - which seems to draw too much attention away from the gauges and forces the buttons to the side, making the display seem even larger and intruding into the aluminum trim to the point where they become slivers; (3) those huge knobs which once again intrude into the stack's aluminum trim; (4) the alum. shifter bezel which seems to be floating on black plinth which is, again, framed with aluminum.

    It just seems that there are two many bright components broken up by black. Agreed that the Max doesn't pull it off either but I think the Infiniti G35 and the Mazda 6 do a better job. Problem with all of them is that the centre stack isn't driver tilted at all - advantage Bonneville in this respect at least.

    I'll be checking out the TL - like the specs and the reviews. Hard to quibble with a car which targets the 530i for performance - and bests it for size.

  • Thanx for the advice. i agree the dash is sweet in the Bonneville. Quality could be better but still looks good. GOnna start looking for bonneville. Safty Is a big thing. Thanx Again Jason
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    ...well, in a long time. 27 posts in a week isn't exactly buring up the server but there's at least some interest out there.

    No probs Jason. BTW, the dash is far better in the Bonnie than the GP - far more solid. For example, the bar of trim that horizontally bifurcates the centre stack in the Bonneville is far more solid than similar trim in the GP. We note that in extreme cold (like we're having now), there are almost no creaks in the Bonneville - can't say the same thing about the GP.

    FYI, here are a couple of safety links for the Bonneville:
    IIHS - best pick in offset crash test.

    NHTSA - a 4/5/4/4 rating (which is not excellent but, considering the weight of the Bonneville, probably means it would outperform a lighter smaller 5 star rated vehicle.

    While you're at those sites, look up the GP - it's okay but doesn't command those ratings (for example, the '01 gets a 4/4/2/3 in the NHTSA ratings - I doubt that the '99 was better. Plus, the GP is a somewhat lighter vehicle than the Bonnie - although no lightweight.

  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    I agree with all the comments about the "chiclets." They are the least impressive feature of the dash to me. I just like all the gauges, the layout, and the "wrap-around" style. I agree with ice that during the day, the display is just so-so. Maybe the silver-faced display on the GXP will improve that some.

    The stereo in my SSEi is the 8-speaker Monsoon system, which is the same system I had in my '98 TA. I've been pretty impressed with it's sound quality and bass capability. Certainly better than my wife's Bose system in her GTP. Of course the Monsoon system can't compete with those ear-drum busting "thumpers" that some kids put in their cars, but if you don't need a sound system that will shatter your glasses while you are driving, the Monsoon system performs nicely.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    Which big cars will Pontiac stick with now that the mid size G6 is coming? GP or Bonneville?
  • scscarsscscars Posts: 92
    While I haven't heard much about a Bonneville redesign in '05 or '06, the Grand Prix and G6 will complement each other much like the Malibu and Monte Carlo/Impala do over at Chevrolet. The Grand Am that G6 is replacing has a design which dates back to 1992 and is considered by many to be too small when compared to its competition (Stratus, Altima, Mazda 6, base model Camrys, Accords and Galants). The Grand Prix has received its redesign on the chassis that it shares with Regal and Monte Carlo/Impala. Regal comes next in '05 when it becomes LaCrosse (except in Canada ;>) ) and Monte Carlo and Impala in '06.

    Pontiac seems to be very committed to Grand Prix and G6, particularly with the potential of a high-performance Grand Prix G/XP coming in '05 and a G6 convertible in '05 or '06 to supplement the Solstice roadster. Time will tell if Bonneville will get a redesign. If advance press is any indication, the reception that the G/XP is getting may be a good sign of a new day for the Bonnie. Here's hoping that strong sales follow.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    We can only speculate but, about 2 years ago, Lutz killed the budget for the development of a Bonneville replacement. The GXP has been interpreted as a way to extend the Bonneville nameplate - perhaps keeping it alive to live as the RWD V-8 version of the Grand Prix.

    Time will tell.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Dan - thanks for those great center stack comparisons. With all that metal I should think southern drivers will complain lots about the heat factor - particularly in the odd new Maxima.

    BTW - I drove an 04 Max SE and although I loved the spaciousness inside, the door panels in particular were really cheap feeling to the touch. The seats, OTH, were remarkably comfortable. Same for the Infinity G35 seats - a pleasure to settle into for a road trip. The ride is what hurts both of those particular vehicles - way too firm if you're used to a smooth riding Bonnie. The Max GLE does ride smoothly and still has the throttle response for a kick - I drove an old style '03 and LOVED it.

    Going to have to take out a new Maz 6 soon - that's one that is very appealing and quite affordable. Maybe this weekend.

    Great to see all the discussion here now.

    Ice - Please refrain from blowing more cold air this way. We've had plenty already!!
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    I'll gladly trade some of this Florida warmth for that northern cold (note I said "some"). We've had to switch off the heat and crank up the A/C the past few days with temps around 80F (although tonight it's supposed to drop to the upper 30's -- oooh!). It's absurd.

    As far as those shiny faux metal dashboards, I have a friend who just bought a Crossfire and I found that the sun reflected off all that pretty metal right into my eyes! Not pleasant when driving. Beautiful car, but it doesn't have the muscle to back up that brawny styling, and I can't drive it on a sunny day! ;-)

    I've said it before but one of the things that appeals to me about the Bonneville is that it is what's left of Detroit's full-size sedans, and I'm not keen on them downsizing it too much more than they already have. I think a BMW 3-Series or Jaguar X-Type would be just right for me in terms of performance, styling and feature content if only they were not so cramped inside, especially in the back seat (not that I spend much time there). I'd like to see the Bonneville live on with a V-8 and RWD but not like a Crown Victoria!
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    I've often said, Ken, that bad weather always comes from somewhere else: what you call a cold front from Canada, we refer to as an "Arctic air mass". Either way, it's cold.

    Michael, I hadn't even considered the reflection off the aluminum - of course you're right. In any case, I find it way too trendy and expect that it'll be gone within 5 years - not enough to date cars with a small amount of alum/stainless trim but certainly those which overdo it won't look so good. I wonder how the stuff is WRT showing dust, dirt, and fingerprints (I mean, compared with the traditional black instrument stacks.)
  • I really wish an American company made that car, the 300C is unbelievable in both style and power. Hemi? 340 hp? 35k? look at the badass wheels, the interior looks wonderful IMO. It is just horrible that the Germans can make cars that are more American than we can. Geeeeez.

    quite frankly, looking at the 300C also makes me wish Pontiac made a better attempt with the GXP. The Northstar engine they used should blow the Hemi away in terms of refinement, but the engine is too expensive and not as powerful, attributes that in this category of cars, ppl would be turned off by, me included. High power/low price is king. If i wanted refinment, i'd get a CTS (v6 but still).

    The GXP has no Nav system (as far as i know) and is FWD. Dam. Im not knocking it, the GXP looks good, clean and refined appearance, but the all American bravado from the Gerhard Shreoder 300C kinda has it whipped :(

    Well, from a specs/observers point of view thats my 2 cents, what do you guys think?
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    lol - the sun reflection factor off that metal on the stack as well as steering wheel has to be a monumental goof! And can you imagine accidentally touching it on a typical Fla Aug day??? YOUCH!! They must not have heard about the McDonalds coffee lawsuit!!!!

    Michael - I will be delighted to bring you a big box full of cold New England air! You can put it in your freezer and take some out whenever you need it.

    I totally agree with your size comments. Size DEFINITELY matters! LOL The Bonneville feels like the absolutely perfect size to me. I don't like the cramped feeling you get in a car of smaller dimensions - particularly in width. Personal breathing and stretch space is a luxury too! I've had many cars this size - they used to be called 'intermediates' 30 years ago -like my '74 Olds Cutlass coupe, a '78 Chrysler LeBaron, even my first car - an old (even then) 65 Impala - all relatively the same size as this 'full sized' Bonneville. It just feels right. Our other vehicle today is a Suburban - like your Tahoe. Next to those big boys this Bonneville is downright small!
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,953
    Has production started?
    I seem to remember a Nov. or Dec. timeframe for initial dealer ordering . . .
    Anyone seen one at a dealer?
    - Ray
    Just curious . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    Nothing beats the space, comfort and practicality of my Tahoe, and it is my vehicle of choice for road trips. Although I don't use 4WD very much, it's what makes the truck a "go anywhere" vehicle. Over the weekend I got stuck in a traffic jam on I-95 and for awhile considered making an (illegal) U-turn over the median, which was under construction but passable with the 4x4. I didn't do it, but it was nice knowing I could if I wanted to. Last summer I took it on a trip down a historic section of the Old Dixie Highway ( ) and needed 4WD to get out of the sand when I went to turn around for a photo op. Could not have made that trip in the Bonneville.

    I got the Bonneville to have something fun and zippy for getting around town when the weather's nice. My ex-girlfriend had an Alero which was a great car -- I thought of it as a baby-Bonnie -- and was also fun and quite comfortable up front but the back seat is not a place I would want to cram three adults into on the lunch run. I agree, the Bonnie is the perfect size for a sedan. Besides, this is America, where bigger is better! (IMHO, ;-)

    GXP production should have begun by now, I was expecting to see the cars showing up in early February. I was a little disappointed that the only tri-coat paint color is white-gold; an early press release indicated that there would be at least three tri-coat colors. At least they should have made the original show car color (Graystone) a tri-coat.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    According to my dealer. I'm already down for a 24 hour test drive. I'll have to pick a day with bare roads - might wait until March - and you can bet I'll report here.

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Michael - fascinating travelogue there. I can imagine those PAckards and Duesenbergs passing each other with flappers waving as they went to and from the old Ponce De Leon hotel in St Augustine and other grand hotels.

    Is there much scenery to view along the drive or is it mostly lined with tall trees as in those pics?

    Great looking Tahoe BTW - looks like you can go anywhere with those tires!
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    The scenery on that stretch of road is pretty much just trees. Ain't much out there now...

    I imagined more along the lines of Model T's. I think the rich folk rode Flagler's railroads to those grand old hotels. :-)
  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    My dealer says he's had no word on exactly when they'll start showing up other than sometime in "early February." He has two confirmed orders already from current SSEi drivers. When those GXP's arrive I can look at them, but can't drive them. We have had a long time relationship so he said he'd order another one to my specs on a "no obligation" deal wherein he'll let me drive it for a couple days, and if I want to buy it, fine, and if I don't fine, he'll just park it in the showroom. Can't pass up that offer. I'll say more later.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    And a nice reminder of your H Body site - I hadn't seen your Bonnie tips before. Obviously a labour of some passion - in any case, thanks for building the site. A job well done!
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    ...has not been updated in months. Not that I lost interest, I just ran out of things to add to it. One of these days, I'll update it.
This discussion has been closed.