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2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

4dr Sdn GTP

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 28 MPG Highway

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  • $26,435 original MSRP
Printable Version

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

Printable Version

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

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2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Pontiac Grand Prix has been known as a fine mover, a good stopper, a fair looker and a reasonable handler. In its 2004 manifestation expect general improvements in all those categories, but prepare for a real surprise party in the interior. And not only in eye-appeal and ergonomics but in versatility, flexibility and utility.

The latent creativity of the General Motors design staff has been stirred into activity coming up with more good ideas than a carton of cartoon light bulbs. If the name wasn't already taken for machines more cumbersome this mid-size sedan could be dubbed a "sport-utility vehicle" because it has valid claim to both elements. It's fun in the twisties and, hey, you can stuff a nine-foot kayak into it and still close the trunk!

2004 marks the ninth generation for the Pontiac Grand Prix.

Model Lineup

The 2004 Grand Prix is available as two primary models, GT and GTP, with variations of each. All are five-passenger, four-door, front-wheel-drive sedans with 3.8-liter V6 engines and four-speed automatic transmissions.

GT models come with a V6 engine that develops a comfortably adequate 200 horsepower (at 5200 rpm) and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 4000. Two versions of the GT model are available, GT1 ($21,760) and GT2 ($23,660). GT1 has less standard equipment. ABS, for instance, is optional ($600).

GTP ($25,860) gets a supercharged version of that same engine, increasing the ratings to 260 hp (at 5200 rpm) and 280 ft.-lbs. at 3600. The all-new Competition Group ($1395) is an option package for the GTP that adds a sports suspension system, StabiliTrak Sport, and TAPshift. StabiliTrak Sport is a vehicle-stability system tuned to provide maximum hands-on control during cornering. TAPshift (Touch Activated Power) includes a set of small paddles on the steering wheel allowing semi-manual shifting of the automatic transmission.

Walkaround

A coupe-like tautness characterizes the exterior design of this mid-size four-door sedan, thanks to a more extreme wedge-shape and a roofline five inches longer than the previous-generation model. The rear end is as muscular as a speed skater. Pronounced, enlarged taillights are mounted at the corners. A discreet spoiler finishes the deck lid.

Through the taillights and extended into the sheet metal are two horizontal bulges, like cladding segments escaped from the sides of a Grand Am. If this were a fashion story I would say they were "to add eye interest" to the back. And oddly, they do. Anyway, following a 2004 Grand Prix down the highway is a pleasant occupation. The back is important in appearance and certainly distinguishable from its road mates.

Appearance is the most subjective aspect of any automobile. Suffice it to say I would rather follow this Grand Prix than spot it in the rearview mirror: I'm not delighted with the front end of this 2004 model.

The slightly sculptured hood is a good beginning, but when shaping lines come off the hood swooping down to trace around the grille something goes wrong for me. The resulting grille with its trademark Pontiac division is straight across on top with bowl-shape curving sides. It appears to me like a tight smirk, ungenerous and simpering. It's off-putting. The headlights are even more slanted and attenuated than on the previous Grand Prix.

The so-called Coke bottle sides are marked (marred I would say) by two parallel character lines through the two doors about a hand's span below the door handles. Gratefully, there's no cladding but these lines bother me. I think one reason the new Grand Prix looks best in black is because black hides these lines.

The black Grand Prix at the press introduction also had a solution for some of my objections to the new grille, a heavier, more important optional chrome surround. (Now if a black Grand Prix came with a crew armed with California Dusters I'd consider it in a heartbeat.)

Interior Features

Inside is where the Grand Prix absolutely shines. General Motors cars have consistently disappointed me in their interior design. I remember the beautiful exterior of a Buick Riviera at an auto show some years back. I circled it in delight. Then I opened the door only to find the same unrelenting, ugly cliff of an instrument panel that the General had plunked into every model from Cadillac to Suburban.

I would guess that changes in GM interiors will demonstrate a singularly visible (and tactile) impact that Bob Lutz has on his new employer's products. He is known to be an admirer of Audi and VW interiors, probably the world's best, and the Grand Prix reveals progress in that direction in choice of textures, in shapes and in the feel of whatever is touched. Leather and satin nickel set the tone for the Grand Prix interior style, materials pleasant to both eye and fingertips continue the experience.

The Grand Prix seats are supportive and comfortable. The steering wheel fills the hand just right. The outside mirrors are remarkably large for a sedan. That's a feature SUV drivers often mention as a reason they like SUVs. Here are large mirrors with an informative view of the world behind and yet add no noticeable wind noise.

The instrument panel, pleasing in its three-dimensional, simple layout, is readily visible through the smart three-spoke steering wheel. The large center speedometer stands out from and overlaps the tachometer (on the left) and the circle containing the fuel and temperature gauges (on the right). Backgrounded with a shadowy grid pattern, these watch-like dials yield their information with simple, uncluttered, handsome functionality.

Technology allows the speedometer to be rimmed with only one set of numbers to designate speed in both miles and kilometers per hour. How? Punch in your choice on the Driver Information Center (DIC) and the numbers change. Cross a border, make your selection and read Ks, punch again and it's miles. No cluttering inner-ring of numbers. How cool is that?

You'll find the head up display (HUD) almost subliminal in its presence. You can select the amount of information it gives and at night, to conserve your night vision and limit reflections, you can douse the instrument panel lights completely, fly in stealth mode, and still keep tabs on what's important.

The Driver Information Center with a four-line read-out is just to the right and above your fist in a console canted slightly toward the driver. Below an organized cluster of white icons on simple black buttons and dials keep the driver tuned in, warm or cool, etc. Pleasing to look at and nothing bewildering.

As comfortable as the seating, as pleasant to look at and feel as the interior is what is really special is its functionality and flexibility. Not only do the back seats fold down in pairs or singly (60/40 split) to effectively increase cargo capacity, the back of the front passenger seat folds forward, table flat.

All this flat and nearly flat space can be accessed through the trunk (with a particularly low lift-over height.) Thus it's easy to fold the appropriate seats and load long objects into the vehicle. That kayak mentioned above or a roll of carpet or a ladder or skis or Italian market umbrellas. You can close the trunk door on anything up to nine feet long. That trunk opening besides being lower is also about ten inches wider. Boxed bikes anyone?

Lots of interior toting room is worthless if you can't get the objects you are toting through the holes in the vehicle. In shopping mall parking lots anywhere in the country you'll find cartons that once held TVs, microwave ovens, computer components and barbecues. They had to be stripped of their packing to manipulate them through the doors. Cognizant of that problem, Grand Prix designers played dentist: "Open wider, please." And now the doors swing out to a few degrees shy of 90, improving ingress and egress for people and stuff.

Driving alone may not be an efficient use of fossil fuels but the fact is most cars most of the time carry only a driver. The solo driver can particularly appreciate the fold-flat passenger seat: it's a veritable desk at the elbow with indentations to keep coins at hand and a webbed elastic pouch to keep such things as mail ready for the slot from finding the floor at the first stop light.

Or have you an unlucky skier in the family? Put him in the back seat and rest that cast-clad leg on the fold-flat front seat. Mobility in luxury.

Driving Impressions

If memory serves, the Pontiac Grand Prix has always been fun to drive. The 2004, more rigid in body than before and still solidly wide of track, has become a most gratifying performer.

The ideal touring car makes itself transparent to the driver. The driving experience is noticeable, not the vehicle providing that experience. Anyone test-driving such a car has to consciously force attention through to the vehicle instead of simply enjoying the ease of motion, the willingness of the engine, the responsiveness of the brakes. The testing driver has to notice what the designers have worked to make seamless. I made myself notice and allowed myself to enjoy.

To maintain peak performance athletes might clamp an oxygen mask to their face. That's what an engine is doing with a turbo- or supercharger: forcing more oxygen inside. While a turbo comes into play after the engine is spooled up a bit, the supercharger is there from the get-go.

The 3.8-liter V6 in the Grand Prix is normally aspirated in the GT model but supercharged in GTP versions. That lowers gas mileage slightly, but accounts for the addition of 60 horsepower (to 260) and the reduction by some two seconds in the time it takes to reach 60 mph from zero. We're talking just 6.5 seconds in the Comp G, a comforting figure when merging or passing in tight situations. At that the gas mileage is respectable: The GT gets 20 city and 30 highway with two mpg less for the supercharged versions.

Usually when power even approaching 200 hp is put through the same wheels that steer the car (i.e., the front wheels) a phenomenon known as torque steer ensues. This is that disconcerting tug at the steering wheel under rapid acceleration. It's like the front wheels are in a race with each other. Happily, there's little to no torque steer in the 2004 Grand Prix. Pull away smoothly with the right foot down hard and the Grand Prix is as stable as an Acura.

The four-speed automatic shifts in smooth increments. An electronic control system (ETC) has a speed-based response mechanism meaning that the car is tractable around town without goosey overreaction but answers the call for power instantly at highway speeds.

The Comp G has steering wheel mounted shifting paddles, more thumb-controlled buttons really, called TAPshift (Touch Activated Power). Unlike the road-car systems modeled more closely after Formula 1 (left paddle for downshifts, right for upshifts) the controls in the Grand Prix both do the same thing: press down on either to select a lower gear, up on either for a higher gear. (All is controlled so you can't over-rev.) Quick to respond, TAPshift is a way to experience the control of a manual in hard pushing while retaining the leave-it-be ease of an automatic for stop-and-go crowds.

The ride quality of a car is perhaps on a par with styling when it comes to subjectivity. The traditional American ride is far softer than the traditional European ride. But disappearing is that extra-soft billowiness that separates a car from the surface it's riding over and is thus dangerously misleading in turns. Why that American ride is going away could be because those who've preferred it are spending more time in rockers and less on the road. And, too, because suspension engineers are finding ways to allow for some softness on the straights and yet snug down to business when it comes to serious cornering. (Improved chassis rigidity is one example.)

The ultimate feel of the road, and thus a car that loves quick kinks and endless esses, requires a tight suspension. The knit-back gloves driver is grinning, but others may be groaning at a ride too rough for them.

I separate suspension systems into three levels. One: you can't tell what your tires are running over on the road except that it's pavement. Two: if you run over a dime you'll know it. Three: you not only know it's a dime you know what year it was coined.

These levels are descriptions, albeit extreme, of what the engineers have brought about in the three Grand Prix models. The GT offers the most traditional ride; the GTP is tighter for secure cornering yet retains enough ease to satisfy the soft-ride devotee.

The Comp G itself is grinning through the corners. And why not? Its suspension system renders it capable of 0.83G lateral acceleration force. Included in the Comp G package is StabiliTrak Sport, a four-wheel stability system that is unlike anything in the market segment. You'd grin too. And it does it without jarring a tooth on the straights. Nicely done, suspension guys. As for stopping, the brakes in the 17-inch wheels of the Comp G pull it to a stop from 60 mph in 139 feet. Commendable and satisfying.

Summary

In the early '60s when Pontiac first released its Grand Prix, I muttered: "There Detroit goes again, bouncing its image off of others peoples' trophies." Pontiac had never been near Grand Prix racing, not even as a spectator. I expressed some doubt their American public could even pronounce the name right (which would be poetic justice). Bonneville, now that's another matter. That was earned.

Pontiac prevailed. My attitude mellowed. I quit taking car names literally. And I can say honestly that I like the 2004 Grand Prix a lot. I welcome the commitment GM is making to the function of the machine as a utilitarian transporter of people and things and a stimulator of the brain's pleasure center. Having car guys in charge matters.

Many Americans who turned to Europe and Asia for cars to suit their needs would like a reason to buy American again. Pontiac has given them grounds to consider the 2004 Grand Prix. It is hot to drive and cool to live with.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: GT1 ($21,760); GT2; GTP ($25,860); GTP Competition Group ($27,255)
Engines: 3.8-liter V6; 3.8-liter supercharged V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic; 4-speed automatic with TAPshift
Safety equipment (standard): front-seat airbags
Safety equipment (optional): ABS, traction control, side-curtain airbags
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Oshawa, Ontario

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Pontiac Grand Prix GTP ($25,860)
Standard equipment: air conditioning, cloth front bucket seats, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, fog lamps, twin exhaust tips, 16-inch wheel covers, rear spoiler, body-color sport mirrors, backlight radio antenna, tinted glass, Driver Information Center, remote keyless entry, anti-theft system, power mirrors/door locks/windows, cruise control, rear defogger, tilt steering, tachometer, CD radio with 6 speakers, two auxiliary power outlets, side protective moldings; GT2 adds Steering wheel radio controls, premium lighting (rear assist handles, lighted vanity mirrors, reading lamps front/rear, overhead console with glasses storage), Lifestyle Package (right front folding seatback, reversible cargo mat, covered cargo storage, cargo net), ABS (with enhanced traction system), Magnasteer, variable effort power steering, Driver’s Package (power driver's seat, floormats); GTP adds full-function traction control, driver's power lumbar, OnStar
Options as tested (MSRP): Premium Audio Package ($695) includes 6-CD player and Monsoon speakers; Leather Trim ($795) includes leather-appointed seating, heated driver and front passenger seats, power driver lumbar
Destination charge: ($635)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $27,985
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.8-liter supercharged ohv V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 260 @ 5200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 280 @ 3600
Transmission: 4-speed automatic with TAPshift
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 18/28 mpg
Wheelbase: 110.5 in.
Length/width/height: 198.2/71.6/55.9 in.
Track, f/r: 61.6/60.8 in.
Turning circle: 37.4 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.8/54.5/42.2 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.2/54.3/36.2 in.
Trunk volume: 57 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 10001000 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent, MacPherson struts with coil springs, lower A-arm, 20mm solid anti-roll bar
Suspension, r: independent, tri-link coil over strut, 17.2mm anti-roll bar
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 3583 lbs.
Tires: P225/55HR17 Michelin Energy
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 17 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of January 28, 2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-762-2737 - www.pontiac.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix 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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Rollover Resistance
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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
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Rear Head side Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

HID Headlights Std
Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Std
Printable Version

2004 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.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

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

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan

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