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Expert Reviews 1 of 6
By Rick Popely
January 7, 2000
Vehicle Overview Bonneville has a new design for 2000 that Pontiac says combines luxury with attitude in a full-size sedan.
The Bonneville is built from the same front-drive platform as the Buick LeSabre but has sportier styling, a performance image and a mission to attract younger buyers than its more conservative cousin.
Key rivals include the Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde, Chevrolet Impala and midsize models such as the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.
Exterior Maintaining Pontiac's reputation for bold styling, the new Bonneville has a wedge profile, aggressive-looking twin-port grille, cat's-eye headlamps and body-side ribbing.
Bonneville's wheelbase grows 1.4 inches to 112.2 and overall length grows 2 inches to 202.6, slightly shorter than the Intrepid. SE models come with standard 16-inch wheels and tires, and SLE and SSEi models roll on 17-inchers. The SLE and SSEi also have a standard rear spoiler.
Interior SE models are available with front bucket seats or a three-place split bench seat, but 80 percent of Bonnevilles are sold with the buckets, according to Pontiac. The front seats are the "catcher's mitt" type, the head restraints of which move up and forward in the event of a rear-end collision to reduce the chance of whiplash injury.
The roomy 18-cubic-foot trunk has a wide, long floor. There is a small pass-through opening from the trunk to the interior for carrying long items, but a folding rear seatback isn't available.
Under the Hood SE and SLE models come with General Motors' 205-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6, used in several other large GM cars. The SSEi model comes with a supercharged 3.8-liter engine that generates 240 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard with both.
Safety Side-impact airbags for the front seats and anti-lock brakes are standard on all three models. Traction control is standard on the SSEi and optional on the others, and Stabilitrak, GM's skid-preventing technology, also is standard on the SSEi.
Performance Bonneville separates itself from GM's other large cars with its sporty demeanor and aggressive looks, which may not appeal to all buyers. Besides attitude, the Bonneville offers a functional, roomy sedan with good acceleration and handling.