Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Overview
|A Dash of Spice in the Bland Soup of Family Sedans|
There are many family sedans on the market today, most of which are so similar in shape and size that it becomes difficult to tell them apart. The Pontiac Grand Prix is one family sedan that does not fit into any cookie-cutter mold; it is bold and stylish with enough power under the hood to place it in contention with some pricey European sport sedans.
There are three trim levels in the Grand Prix lineup: SE, GT and GTP. Regrettably, the sizzling GT and GTP coupes have been discontinued this year, leaving only the sedans to carry the Grand Prix name. The entry level SE is the most affordable and offers the stylish and racy look of the GT without the additional bells and whistles. Powered by a 3.8-liter V6, the SE displays good acceleration and passing ability that for most consumers should feel more than adequate. If you fancy a bit more sport in your sedan, you can plunk down an additional two grand and get the GT model that offers 200 horsepower (25 more than the SE), 16-inch wheels and tires, a power driver's seat and speed-sensitive power steering. At the barn-burning end of the Grand Prix spectrum resides the mighty GTP. Equipped with a supercharged version of the 3.8-liter engine, the GTP cranks out 240 horsepower that transforms the Grand Prix from a quick sedan to a speeding bullet.
Though their missions are all different, the Grand Prix trio share many of the same features, including interior space and layout. The Grand Prix features a comfortable set of twin bucket seats that you sit in rather than on. An impressive instrument cluster that includes a temperature gauge and tachometer flanks a thick-grip steering wheel; at night, the entire dash is illuminated in an easy-on-the-eye orange light. The radio and heating controls are within easy reach, but you may find the myriad of small buttons take some time to memorize. Luckily, on GT and GTP models, there are redundant audio controls built into the steering wheel adjacent to the cruise control; all the steering-wheel-mounted buttons are backlit for easy use at night. The Grand Prix is one of the few sedans in this class that features standard dual-zone air conditioning.
The Grand Prix is also big on space, with excellent front and rear-seat legroom and plenty of headroom for tall drivers. There is a new rear-seat pass through that allows for long items, such as skis, to be carried with the trunk lid closed. Also new this year is an overhead console, interior assist grips and rear seat reading lights. On GT and GTP models, you can order some really cool options such as the Eye-cue Head-up display that projects the car's speed, fuel level and audio controls onto the lower portion of the windshield. There are also a number of really fine audio choices including a six-speaker Bose system.
The Grand Prix really shines on the road. It possesses an enviable suspension that delivers a compliant ride on smooth pavement but turns the Grand Prix into an aggressive, low slung touring performer when pushed into the turns. The Grand Prix's impressive handling is due in part to its wide-track design that places the wheels toward the four corners of the car. This creates a very stable platform that is aided by the aggressive 16-inch tires found on the GT and GTP models. Though it is a front-wheel-drive car, the Grand Prix exhibits very little torque steer and only moderate understeer. For an added measure of safety, Pontiac has equipped all the Grand Prixs with standard ABS brakes and traction control.
The Grand Prix does rest on an aging platform andas good as it islacks some features currently available on the newer competition. There are no side-impact airbags for example, nor is there a side curtain airbag offered. On the other hand, the Grand Prix's reasonable price and lengthy list of standard features make it an excellent candidate for anyone shopping the sedan segment.
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