New audio equipment, including a window-rattling Monsoon premium system, is the biggest change for the midsize Grand Am, which returns in two-door coupe and four-door sedan body styles.
The standard sound system for the base SE model is a stereo radio with a cassette player. A CD player replaces the cassette player and adds a seven-band equalizer on the SE1 and GT models. The GT1 goes a step further by offering both cassette and CD players. GT models also get the eight-speaker Monsoon system as standard equipment.
The Grand Am is built from the same design as the Oldsmobile Alero. The two share engines and their front-drive chassis but have different styling and interior features.
A low nose and high tail give the aggressively styled Grand Am a pronounced wedge profile. The ribbed lower-body cladding and a twin-port grille are traditional Pontiac styling cues.
Both the coupe and the sedan ride a 107-inch wheelbase and measure 186 inches front to rear. The overall length is a couple inches shorter than the best-selling midsize cars, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, and about a foot shorter than the Ford Taurus.
Pontiac says all models seat five, but the coupes narrower rear seat is better suited for two people than three. Front buckets are standard across the board. All models, except the base SE, have a split, folding rear seatback that supplements the 14.6-cubic-foot trunk.
Whereas the similar Olds Alero has a simple, functional dashboard, the Grand Ams looks cluttered and has small audio controls that are difficult to use while driving.
Under the Hood
The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 150 horsepower and teams with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. V-6 models come with a 3.4-liter engine that generates 170 hp and the automatic transmission only.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on all Grand Ams.