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2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

4dr Sdn SE

Starting at | Starting at 19 MPG City - 30 MPG Highway

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  • $25,220 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

Printable Version

2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

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2001 Pontiac Bonneville

Source: New Car Test Drive

One of the best full-size American-branded sedans.

by John Rettie

Base Price (MSRP) $25,075
As Tested (MSRP) $27,670

With its distinctive appearance, there's no mistaking the Pontiac Bonneville for anything else. Pontiac's flagship sedan comes with an aggressive stance, a sporty driving character, and can seat up to six people. In the past, manufacturers from Germany and Sweden held the crown as the top-producers of sports sedans, but this Bonneville can give the Europeans a run for the money.

The Bonneville was redesigned last year, and changes very little for 2001. The OnStar navigation and security system is now standard on SLE and SSEi models, and heated front seats are optional on all models.

Model Lineup

Three trim levels are available in the Bonneville lineup: SE ($25,075), SLE ($28,045), and SSEi ($32,415). A price spread of more than $7,000 lies between the base SE and the top-of-the line SSEi. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes and front and side airbags are standard throughout.

All Bonnevilles come with 3.8-liter V6 engines. The SSEi gets a supercharger that boosts engine power to 240 horsepower. The SE and SLE have a normally aspirated (non-boosted) version of the same engine, which produces 205 horsepower. Performance of all three models is good, although most driving enthusiasts will appreciate the extra oomph of the supercharged SSEi.

Base SE includes a comprehensive list of features that will suffice for the majority of potential buyers. Standard equipment includes a four-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, power doors, power windows, power mirrors and a reasonably good AM/FM stereo cassette system.

SLE adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, 6-way power driver seat, remote keyless entry, an upgraded sound system, tire pressure monitor, alloy wheels and a performance suspension.

SSEi pushes the Bonneville into near-luxury segment price territory. But for this price, the buyer gets the supercharged engine, traction control, improved magnetic variable-assist power steering, leather upholstery, 12-way power seats, a head-up display, Bose stereo system, automatic mirrors and a universal garage door opener.

Many of the standard features on the more expensive models can be ordered as options on the lower-priced models.

Walkaround

The Bonneville has a look that some might think borders on gauche. It has an assertive pointed nose with the signature Pontiac grille dipping down into the front bumper.

SE and SLE models come with two fog lamps mounted in the outer edge of the bumper, while the SSEi gets two fog lamps mounted nearer the center that gives the car an even more aggressive appearance. Extra body cladding on the lower sides of the SSEi provides a racy Coke-bottle shape and carries the theme back to the high and curvy trunk line. The base SE model gets steel wheels with metal covers while the other models get alloy wheels with an aggressive spoke pattern that complements the body quite nicely.

Interior Features

This is a comfortable, roomy interior. With the optional front bench seat, there is room for six people although passengers will find the center seat in the front and rear a little cramped. Rear-seat head- and legroom is good for two passengers. The standard seating configuration includes spacious bucket seats in front that hold driver and passenger in quite snuggly, especially with cloth material, which is a lot less slippery than the optional leather. The six-way power front driver seat option offers a multiple adjustments.

The cockpit has a sporty character with a center console that wraps around the driver much like one expects in a sports car. The edge of the center panel curves up over the top of the instrument panel in one large sweep. No less than eight fluidic vents in the dashboard can be aimed in any direction. Within the instrument pod there is a group of six small but easy to read gauges clustered in front of the steering wheel. An oil pressure gauge and voltmeter join the speedometer, tachometer, fuel and water temperature gauges. The second set of audio controls on the steering wheel are convenient yet are still found on few other cars, despite their obvious safety value.

In addition, the SSEi is fitted with a driver information message center that can display a variety of vehicle malfunction warnings. Individual setting for the driver's seat, mirror, and climate control and radio preferences can be programmed as well. All models come with "catcher's mitt" front seats with integrated seatbelts and headrests that grab one's body in the event of an accident for increased safety. Rear-seat passengers are not forgotten as they get a decent sized center armrest with cupholders and storage box. Pass-through access to the trunk for skis and other long items is available when the console is folded down.

Driving Impressions

Fortunately, the Bonneville's driving characteristics match up to its looks. Even in the standard SE configuration, the Bonneville has enough power to provide respectable performance. Thanks to the engine's relatively large capacity it has more torque than most of its rivals, which is what counts when it comes to quickly leaving a stop light, and enough power to accelerate on to the highway. The transmission shifts smoothly and the car responds promptly to the driver's input.

The Bonneville has a stiff body shell that acquits itself well in handling twisty roads. This is a solid-feeling car, and doesn't wallow like so many full-size American models of years gone by. Pontiac's advertising brags about its cars having a wide track (which lends itself to secure handling). But while the Bonneville is indeed wide, the Dodge Intrepid has nearly the same dimensions.

Even though the car has front-wheel-drive it does not suffer from too much torque steer - thanks to a careful suspension design. (Torque steer is a phenomenon found on front-wheel-drive cars that pulls the steering wheel in one direction under hard acceleration.) Traction control (optional on the SE) helps keep the front tires from spinning under heavy acceleration. All models have a standard load-leveling rear suspension system, which helps make the car handle consistently regardless of the cargo load.

Naturally, the SSEi model - with its slightly stiffer suspension - handles better than the SE but still gives a smooth ride without being too harsh. The base SE has a little softer ride, but offers better control than other cars of similar size, such as the Toyota Avalon and Dodge Intrepid.

A clever tire-inflation monitor that constantly informs the driver of each tire's inflation status is a useful standard feature. An optional StabiliTrak system helps provide additional stability by selectively applying the brakes to the front wheels in emergency situations to counteract skids. The SSEi is also available with a head-up display, which projects information such as vehicle speed onto the inside of the windshield on the driver's side.

Final Word

Anyone who needs a full-size car with a sporty character should enjoy the Pontiac Bonneville. It has a unique look that fits Pontiac's performance image. The Bonneville, especially the SSEi, is actually competitive with several near-luxury import models such as a Lexus ES 300 or even a BMW 3 Series. Indeed it would be appropriate to slot it in between those two popular cars; the Bonneville is sportier than the Lexus, but not on par with a BMW. Nevertheless, if a roomy interior is important, it beats both those cars hands down. In its base SE form the Bonneville is closest in comparison to the Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

 

Printable Version

2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

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

Security

Alarm Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

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

2001 Pontiac Bonneville Sedan

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