Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
By Warren Brown
January 15, 1988
THE CAR was electric blue, a loud, shocking blue -- the kind ofblue acceptable at a Mardi Gras party. But there it sat, the 1988Pontiac Sunbird GT Coupe, fresh from the General Motors division that"builds excitement."I was hysterical, laughing
uncontrollably. How could any sane personmake or buy a car this color?Luckily, the Sunbird's body was nice -- attractive lines front andrear, very sporty stuff. I could live with it for a week.Hmph. The week passed, and the Pontiac folks asked
for their machine.I stalled 'em, even though several other test cars crowded the schedule.Somewhere between initial scorn and the return deadline, the Sunbirdand I became serious friends. The car had an engaging personality. Iliked that. It was fun,
and I liked that, too, a lot.I guess what it all comes down to is a reworked cliche: You can'tjudge a car by its paint.Complaints: The test car's awful color leads the list. Heck, evenheavy metal bands have better taste. There's also the matter
of productproliferation. There are six models of the Pontiac Sunbird, which,itself, is one of five representatives of GM's J-car line.The J cars, introduced in 1982, include the Chevrolet Cavalier,Pontiac Sunbird, Oldsmobile Firenza, Buick Skyhawk and
Cadillac Cimarron -- all of which share many of the same mechanical components.Through the magic of computer-assisted design, the J cars lookdifferent from each other. But their numbers and options arebewildering.Pontiac contends that the myriad
versions are necessary to serve manycustomers. For example, the Sunbird GT coupe and convertible are "forthe high performance enthusiast." The more modest Sunbird sedan is for"the budget conscious." And, "for the person who wants aggressivestyling but who
is also interested in value," there are the Sunbird SEcoupe and the SE sedan and wagon, Pontiac says.Baloney! There are just too many choices here. It's time to simplifythings, GM.Praise: The test model Sunbird GT Coupe, despite its
ill-consideredtint, was a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Everything fit properly. Allthe controls were visible and easily accessible. The car -- afour-seat, three-speed automatic -- was easy to operate.Ride, acceleration, handling: Riding comfort
was competitive withthat of more expensive front-wheel-drive compacts -- better than somepricier models, in fact. Handling was a cinch, particularly in urbantraffic.Acceleration? The snippy Virginia driver of a BMW three-seriesmachine was
embarrassed. The lightweight Sunbird GT, with its 165 hp,2-liter, turbocharged, fuel-injected engine, left him communicating inignoble sign language somewhere along Interstate 66. Same to you, fella!Sound system: AM/FM electronic stereo radio and
cassette, byGM/Delco. Excellent, as usual.Mileage: Easily 30 to the gallon (13.6-gallon tank, estimated400-mile range on usable volume), combined city highway, windows up,heater
on, running mostly driver only in Virginia, Maryland and theDistrict of Columbia.Price: $13,717, including $1,670.09 in options and a $400transportation charge. Base price is $11,646.91, and the dealers'invoice price without options $10,899.