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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Pontiac Bonneville Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Pontiac Bonneville Overview

Pontiac's Big Sedan Gets Big Boost of Performance

The Bonneville continues to be a strong seller for Pontiac, offering full-size room and comfort built on a performance-oriented platform. For 2004, the Bonneville gets even more exciting with the addition of the sleek new GXP edition. The GXP includes a revised front and rear end treatments to complement its streamlined exterior styling; it also receives 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a sport exhaust, leather interior and, oh yes, a power-happy Northstar V8. The GXP replaces the SSEi model in the line up; the V6 SE and SLE remain unchanged.

Though its performance abilities are but one of the Bonneville's strong suits, it is first and foremost a sedan. On SE and SLE models you'll find the big Pontiac has room for six adults, with ample rear-seat head and legroom. And the Bonneville's wide stance translates into more front and rear shoulder room than is offered by such heavy hitters as the Lexus ES300 and Nissan Maxima. Up front, a comfortable 55/45 split-bench is standard on both SE and SLE models; it features a six-way power driver's seat and a folding center armrest. Optional bucket seats with a dividing center storage console can be ordered as part of an upgrade package on both the SE and SLE. The performance-oriented GXP gets an amazingly comfortable pair of leather bucket seats with suede inserts; the seats include memory functions for the power lumbar and power recliner position (driver's side only). Also included in the GXP package is carbon fiber trim, suede door inserts and a brushed aluminum shift handle. Side-impact airbags, a dual-zone climate control system and the eight-speaker Monsoon sound system are all standard on the GXP.

The Bonneville's dash is further proof of the car's sporting intent. Its large instruments provide readouts for temperature, speed, engine rpm, oil pressure and volts and are backlit in a soothing orange glow. Radio and HVAC controls are located just to the driver's right and have been redesigned to minimize the number of small buttons and switches; compared to previous Bonnevilles, the new design is much more user friendly. You'll also appreciate that all the switch gear-including the power window buttons and optional steering-wheel mounted controls-are backlit in the same orange light, negating the need to switch on the overhead dome to locate controls.

And because we know that sedan buyers care about more than just passenger room, we are happy to report that the Bonneville's deep 18-cubic-foot trunk can easily fit two sets of golf clubs and that its clever wrap-over deck lid design minimizes the lift height required to place objects inside. A 3800-V6 engine that produces 205 horsepower is standard on the SE and SLE models. When combined with the engine's 230 lbs-ft. of torque, the V6 makes easy work of moving a fully-loaded Bonneville. The excellent GM four-speed automatic kicks down quickly, making the most of the engine's strong low-end power—a fact you'll appreciate when pulling into traffic or passing slower moving vehicles. The SLE gets a beefed up differential that makes it a bit quicker off the line and its larger 17-inch wheels and tires help it outperform its SE cousin on twisting hairpin turns. The Bonneville delivers a compliant ride, devoid of shake or vibration and its interior sound levels are extremely low, even at highway speeds.

As good a road car as the SE and SLE models are, the real meat and potatoes can be found in the high-performance Bonneville GXP. The GXP receives a testosterone injection from a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 that bumps the Bonneville's power output to 275 horses. The GXP also gets a much more aggressive suspension, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with custom-painted red calipers, an advanced magnetic power steering setup for improved road feel and handling and the StabiliTrak traction control system. On the road, the GXP corners better, accelerates faster and stops quicker than the SE and SLE; it also displays far less body roll and lean during aggressive driving. As good as the other two are, if you really want the most from your Bonneville, this is the model to get.

We'd be remiss if we didn't talk about some of the equipment the Bonneville offers. Base SE models come standard with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, front-side impact airbags, cruise control, rear defroster, illuminated entry, AM/FM stereo with CD and 7-band graphic equalizer, tilt-steering wheel and the PASSKEY theft-deterrent system. To this already impressive list, the SLE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate controls, a driver information center, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, one year OnStar service plan, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls and a high-performance axle ratio.

When you look at all the Bonneville has to offer and then consider its base price starts just over $26K, it is clear the Bonneville value story is one reason the name continues to be a best seller for GM's most visually vibrant division.

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