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1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

4dr Sdn SE

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $18,795 original MSRP
Printable Version

1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

Printable Version

1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

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1998 Pontiac Grand Prix

Source: New Car Test Drive

Red-white-and-blue star-spangled sports sedan.

by Don Fuller

Base Price $19,345
As Tested $21,215

The Pontiac Grand Prix seems to satisfy all the check points on the list of what an American sports sedan should be: Performance, roominess, comfort, handling, features and a certain swagger to its stance. Best of all, the Grand Prix won't hammer a budget to smithereens.

In many ways, the Grand Prix rises above the mainstream. It has a muscular, competent and aggressive look that attracts assertive personalities without intimidating others. It's an eye-catcher from front to rear. The Grand Prix was originally designed as a coupe, then the sedan was derived from that. So the coupe and sedan share the roof panel and rear window. This design gives the coupe the room of a sedan, and the sedan the grace of a coupe.

The latest-generation Grand Prix marked a return to that old, familiar Pontiac "Wide Track" theme. Compared to most other sedans, the Grand Prix has a significantly wider track width and the fenders have been noticeably flared to cover the tires. That wide track contributes to superior handling, and the flared fenders add to the aggressive look. Overall, the Grand Prix offers sedan buyers a stylish alternative to conservative-looking sedans.

Walkaround

In addition to the coupe and sedan body styles, the Grand Prix is available in three trim levels, SE, GT and GTP. The SE is only available as a sedan; it comes with a lower level of standard equipment. The more fully featured GT boasts the widest appeal and is available in both coupe and sedan. Above that is the hot GTP, which is an option package for GT models. We drove a GT Sedan with a few carefully selected options.

Three engines are available. Standard on the SE is a 3.1-liter V-6, a trustworthy, if modest, performer of 160 horsepower. It provides adequate performance, but the engine is a bit noisy.

Standard on GT models is GM's well-proven 3.8-liter 3800 Series II V-6. An all-around performer, it delivers 195 hp, 220 lb-ft of torque. It's smooth and delivers very good throttle response, especially at lower, around-town speeds.

The GTP package includes a supercharged version of the 3800. Order it and you will have charge of 240 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and the opportunity to experience some impressive rates of acceleration.

All Grands Prix come with four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmissions. Their front-wheel-drive layout helps with traction in bad weather conditions. The suspension is independent front and rear and steering is power-assisted rack and pinion. Four-wheel disc brakes and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard on all models.

Part of the attraction of the Grand Prix is its value. The base SE comes with a high level of standard equipment, including air conditioning, and power locks, windows and mirrors. Also standard are four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a traction control system, which enhances control on slippery surfaces. Especially appealing to safety-conscious buyers is the inclusion of GM's Next Generation dual airbags, which deploy with less force than previous versions. A rear, center-mounted child safety seat is available as an option.

Choose the GT sedan and you get the 3.8-liter engine, P225/60R16 tires on alloy wheels, cruise control, remote deck lid release, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an up-level AM/FM stereo cassette with seek functions and clock. It comes with Pontiac's Magnasteer variable-effort power steering, which uses electromagnetism to adjust steering effort to driving conditions.

Our GT Sedan had an upgraded AM/FM/CD stereo with a graphic equalizer and eight speakers. It came with a rear spoiler, theft deterrent system, and the 1SB option package that includes an overhead console, rear-seat pass-through, steering wheel radio controls, trunk cargo net and remote keyless entry. So equipped, it was only $22,495, a pretty good deal in anybody's book.

We also checked out a fully loaded GTP sedan, with supercharged engine and "everything on it," as your dad used to say, which retailed for only $26,920.

Maintenance, or the lack of it, is another strong point: Automatic transmission fluid and spark plugs are intended to last 100,000 miles, and radiator coolant should go 50,000 miles.

Inside Story

The Grand Prix's interior shows a happy blending of modern design and common sense. The car is notably roomy, both front and rear. It feels much more spacious than a Ford Taurus. Rear-seat passengers should find plenty of room for elbows, knees and feet. And since the coupe and sedan share the same roof, the rear seat in the coupe is as spacious as the one in the sedan.

One of the best instrument panels available is in the Grand Prix. Directly in front of the driver are nice big analog gauges. Computerized "driver information systems" are sometimes little more than electronic trinkets, but the one in the Grand Prix relays useful information, such as service intervals, low tire pressure and fuel usage. True technology addicts may also opt for the well-executed Heads Up Display, which shows speed on the windshield, immediately below the driver's line of sight.

In the center console are a couple of nifty cupholders, and a truly deep storage compartment with a coin holder and spots for either tapes or CDs. In the rear, a large center armrest folds down, revealing dual cupholders and a tray. Just be certain the soft drinks are out before it's folded back up.

Equally spacious is the trunk and, just as important, it's of a good shape with a reasonably low lift-over height. Available as part of some option groups is a handy, and fairly large, rear-seat pass-through, for people who carry skis, tent poles, or masts and booms for small sailboats.

Ride and Drive

Pontiac has long been known for cars that handle well and the Grand Prix maintains that high expectation level. A rigid body structure is less noisy, increases long-term structural integrity and helps reduce the chance of future rattles. An extensively revised suspension does a very good job of isolating road noise and vibration from the passengers while delivering precise, responsive handling, a difficult compromise. The steering offers an exceptionally good feel. The Grand Prix was stable at high speeds on freeways and handled well when winding through mountains and plunging down narrow canyons.

We were pleased to find the freeway ride to have a feel more commonly associated with better European sedans. Instead of being soft and cushy and wallowing down the road, the Grand Prix rolls down the highway level, even, well-controlled. It inspires confidence. The feeling of being in control is, in the end, ultimately more relaxing and comfortable than the too-soft, flabby sensations we used to get from all the mobile sofas that were standard fare for American sedans for far too long.

While we really like the supercharged GTP version with its rampaging performance, we think the GT is the better all-around choice for most people. Its 3800 Series II V-6 is a key factor here. It produces good power, making the Grand Prix GT respond quickly when accelerating away from intersections or freeway ramps. At the same time, it's smooth and unobtrusive, with just a hint of an assertive growl as the throttle is opened. All-in-all, a really nice sedan engine.

For those who have spent most of their motoring lives in traditional sedans, the Grand Prix might be the best-handling, best-performing, best-behaved car they've ever driven.

Final Word

Pontiac's new Grand Prix offers an attractive alternative to buyers who want a four-door sedan, but want leading edge coupe-like styling. It's an eye-catching car among a relatively conservative-looking crowd of sedans. It's roomy and comfortable inside and boasts an excellent instrument panel. The GT model delivers a strong performance with its powerful 3800 Series II V-6 and sports suspension. It offers an excellent value, particularly in terms of performance. Pontiac's Wide Track is back and we're glad to see it.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084

©1998 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Pontiac Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-year/24,000-Mile¹ CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile² Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile³ Powertrain Limited Warranty

¹Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

²Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

³Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2010 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1998 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

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