I've owned the LT trim level of this car for almost three years now, having bought it with 31k miles. Overall, I'd say GM got this car about 95% right. To state the bad, the real annoyances I've seen ...
I've owned the LT trim level of this car for almost three years now, having bought it with 31k miles. Overall, I'd say GM got this car about 95% right. To state the bad, the real annoyances I've seen have been premature brake rotor warpage and occasional steering shaft clunking. The front brake rotors warp after anywhere between 3k and 15k miles to the point it's bothersome enough for me to replace or turn them (cheap and premium rotors fare about the same). I have yet to replace brake pads. There is also a problem with the intermediate steering column shaft clunking which is treated with a squirt of lubricant in the right place. This takes care of it for 5k-10k miles.
Now with the good. The car's drivetrain has been rock solid. 86k miles on the car now and no drivetrain problems at all. I'd have expected a failed fuel pump or water pump by now (considering it's a GM), but nothing yet. The engine has satisfying power with good passing power and feels very peppy and eager to go - it's surprising it has "only" 200hp and can idle up steep hills if coerced. It makes a relatively generic V6 sound. The brake pedal is firm and easy to modulate, and I've never had a problem with stopping distance. The variable electric steering system is very nice, but the car isn't great in a crosswind. Build quality is generally very good, with almost no squeaks or rattles. A rattle from the cowl developed after a new windshield was installed, but that was fixed in about 15 min with some mounting tape. The remote start, auto climate control, heated mirrors and heated seats are great during the MN winters. Traction during the winter is good. The sound system is about as good as it gets at moderate volumes without a subwoofer. Controls are very intuitive, neatly laid out and have a good feel to them. Visibility out of the car is very good (you quickly get used to the D pillars). Headlights are above-average brightness for halogens. The driver's seat is firm and comfortable, but the other seats could use some more lumbar support.
The original SE200 tires were comfortable during winter but squealed on cloverleafs - Yokohama Avid T4s grip much better but are bad on rough roads.
Fuel economy has averaged about 23-24 winter to 27 summer, with best of 31 and worst of 19-20 (computed by hand - 70/30 hwy/city). The trip computer is about 1.5mpg too optimistic.