The Sunfire is the lowest-priced model in Pontiac's lineup and a corporate twin to the Chevrolet Cavalier. Sunfire has different front and rear styling than Cavalier and presents a sportier personality. They share major mechanical components, including engines. Both brands get fresh styling touches and a handful of new features this year. General Motors' PassLock theft-deterrent system, which must read an electronic code embedded in the key before the engine will start, is a new standard item.
A new center console includes a padded armrest, storage slots for coins, tapes and CDs, and two cupholders for the front seats. All models have front bucket seats and a floor-mounted shift lever, and the gear selector indicator is now illuminated on those with automatic. A 200-watt Monsoon sound system with eight speakers is a new option.
Sunfire comes in two-door coupe, four-door sedan and convertible body styles. Appearance changes include new front and rear fascias and integral fog lamps on the GT coupe and convertible. SE models get new side ribs and rocker-panel moldings.
Under the Hood
SE models come with a 115-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. A dual-camshaft 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 150 horsepower is standard on GT models and optional on SEs. Both engines are available with manual or automatic transmission.
Sunfire and its Cavalier cousin aren't the most refined or best performing subcompacts, but both are good values among small cars. They come with a generous helping of standard features, including anti-lock brakes, air conditioning and a rear defogger items that are optional on some rivals.