Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Pontiac Aztek Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Pontiac Aztek Overview

Body
It'll Grow on You

The Aztek took a lot of heat when it was first introduced, yet its boxy styling and somewhat radical rear end have begun to grow on Americans, as is evidenced by the fact that the Aztek is now entering its fourth year of production. Beyond its unique look, the Aztek still offers one of the most versatile and functional interior layouts ever seen in a small SUV, or as Pontiac calls it, a sport recreation vehicle (SRV.)

For the 2004 the Aztek line gets a boost in the visual department with the addition of the Rally package; available in Fusion Orange, Silver Metallic and Jet Black, the Rally trim also includes a lowered front suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, a cargo area speaker system with separate audio controls and optional Rally-embroidered leather seats. All Azteks are powered by their front wheels but offer the option of GM's excellent Versatrak all-wheel-drive system. Should the front wheels begin to slip, the Versatrak system routes the engine's torque to whichever rear wheel has the best traction. As the Versatrak system is permanently engaged, the process is completely invisible to the driver and requires no input from you whatsoever.

The Aztek is powered by a robust 3.4-liter V6 engine that develops 185 horsepower and 210 lb-ft. of torque. This is the same engine found in GM's minivans, so you can imagine how well it performs in the smaller Aztek. The V6 pulls strongly off the line, delivers smooth acceleration and has loads of power for passing and merging; the engine is relatively smooth, though it does get a bit rowdy sounding when pushed hard. You'll like the way the Aztek's standard four-speed automatic transmission delivers quick, seamless shifts and you'll never feel it hunting for the right gear, even when you are constantly on and off the throttle as happens in stop and go traffic. Fuel consumption figures for the Aztek are surprisingly good, especially for an all-wheel-drive vehicle. With the Versatrak option in place, the Aztek still manages to earn an EPA rating of 18-mpg city and 24-mpg highway.

On the road, you'll find the Aztek to ride and behave very much like a large sedan. Even though its tall profile and high seating position may make it feel like an SUV, its fully-independent rear suspension helps the Aztek to remain poised and balanced, even when traveling at high speeds. You'll find the Aztek does exhibit some body lean when taken quickly into sharp turns or sudden maneuvers, but the heavily-weighted steering always lets you know where the vehicle is and the optional traction control (front-wheel drive models only) can help keep things from spinning out of control. The Aztek's brakes also perform to expectations, though you may find it takes some time to adjust to the somewhat soft brake pedal. The only other detraction from an otherwise great ride is a lack of side visibility caused by the thick interior pillars and high rear end. On the plus side, we must give credit for the large glass panel on the lower lip of the rear hatch; it provides excellent rearward vision and looks darn cool to boot.

The Aztek's interior is a thoroughly pleasing place to be, starting with the driver's point of view. Slip into the nicely-bolstered bucket seats and you'll find a space-age dash that presents you with more data than a full set of encyclopedias. You can opt for the head-up display that projects speed, engine rpm and fuel onto the lower part of the windshield, just like the system found on fighter planes; there is also an on-board tire inflation monitor and of course the OnStar telematics system. We also love that Pontiac backlights just about every switch on the dash—including the steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise control—in a deep red hue.

Some of the other cool standard and optional items include a removable center-console cooler, power lumbar adjustments for the front seats, front side-impact airbags, an AM/FM stereo with CD and MP3 playback ability, a DVD-based entertainment system, heated leather seats and power glass moonroof. Also on the list is a trailering package that includes a heavy-duty engine oil cooler and alternator, load-leveling rear air suspension and an auxiliary rear air compressor outlet. Yet of all the Aztek's many toys, we think that the coolest option is the camping package that includes a tent to fit over the open rear hatch and an inflatable mattress that fits snuggly into the rear compartment.

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