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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
February 21, 2005
Vehicle Overview Pontiac revamped its midsize front-wheel-drive Grand Prix sedan for 2004. Now in its ninth generation, the Grand Prix has styling overtones that are related to the automaker's recently launched GTO.
For 2005, the Grand Prix sedan comes in base, GT and GTP trim levels. A Competition Group (Comp G) handling package is available. An MP3-capable CD radio replaces the previous cassette/CD unit, and a DVD-based navigation system is now available. The Grand Prix may be equipped with a remote starter and dual-zone air conditioning. General Motors' OnStar communication system is standard. A TAPshift (Touch Activated Power) system lets the driver of a model with the Comp G package use paddles on the steering wheel to change gears in the automatic transmission.
Exterior The Grand Prix's smooth bodysides are said to be Coke-bottle shaped, a theme that harks back to the muscle-car era. They extend into twin-port grilles with a two-tone lower fascia. Large corner-mounted taillights flank the rear spoiler.
The Grand Prix has a 110.5-inch wheelbase, extends to 198.3 inches long overall and measures approximately 4 inches shorter than the Pontiac Bonneville. Fog lamps are standard. Standard tires measure 16 inches in diameter, but the GTP edition gets 17-inchers.
Interior The Grand Prix is spacious enough for five adults. The deep trunk holds 16 cubic feet of cargo, and a pass-thru in the 60/40-split folding backseat is installed.
The larger analog gauges have a 3-D look, and the doors display satin-nickel accents. Pontiac's optional head-up display can provide a "stealth" mode provision that allows the driver to extinguish all instrument panel lighting for enhanced visibility during night driving.
Under the Hood A 200-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 is standard in base and GT models. The GTP sedan is equipped with a supercharged version that develops 260 hp. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard on the GT and GTP and optional on the base sedan. Side curtain-type airbags are optional on the GT and GTP.
Driving Impressions While the Grand Prix has many appealing features, it doesn't quite compare to European and most Asian models in solidity. The Grand Prix, and especially the supercharged version, performs energetically. The Comp G sedan has strong passing power and accelerates from a standstill with vigor, but there's little evidence of supercharger action. The Comp G's paddle shifters work well but suffer a little delay.
The GTP's suspension eases over most road flaws, but it gives the impression of avoiding rather than absorbing them. Its handling skills are a bonus, and handling with the Comp G package is even tighter. Ride comfort in the Comp G isn't bad for a performance model.
Headroom is ample in each seating position, but the optional power sunroof steals some space. Comp G riders get snugly bolstered, extra-supportive seats with leather upholstery.