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Autotrader Find: Pristine 2001 Pontiac Aztek

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2016

Gather 'round, Internet car enthusiasts, because I've discovered a true collector's item: the finest 2001 Pontiac Aztek on Autotrader. It's in nice condition, it's covered just 99,000 miles, and it can be yours for just $5,499 from the appropriately named Rock Bottom Auto Sales in the small town of Hudson, Florida, north of Tampa.

So, why do you care about this Aztek? Because this isn't just any ol' Aztek, people: This is the finest 2001 model on the Internet. And if you're looking for an Aztek, you seriously want a 2001 model.

Allow me to explain.

As you may know if you've studied the history of the Aztek, it made its debut for the 2001 model year. At the time, everyone at General Motors was very excited that they had created this sensational lifestyle vehicle -- and they were so pleased with their automotive achievement that they even gifted it with a 3.4-liter V6 engine that made all of 185 horsepower. This thing was destined to be a gem.

Unfortunately, as we now know, it wasn't a gem. It wasn't even a rock. It was a discarded bottle of contact lens solution you find in an empty parking lot.

The primary complaint about the Aztek related to its styling -- namely, that it was among the ugliest products ever manufactured at any point in human history. Pontiac quickly reacted to this complaint by taking care of the most obvious problem, which was the gray plastic body cladding that inexplicably took up half the car's exterior surface area. By the 2002 model year, the plastic on the side was gone, and all Azteks were one body color. The Aztek was no longer extraordinarily ugly -- instead, it was just ordinarily ugly.

Unfortunately, the removal of the plastic also changed the character of the Aztek. It was no longer hilariously strange-looking; now, it was just a sad, misguided attempt at starting a new fad. And so, the Aztek soldiered on through 2005, with its four final model years free of cladding.

But if you want the true Aztek in its original form, the way General Motors intended to release this thing on the American public, then you have to get a 2001 model in all its body-cladded glory. And this particular 2001 Aztek is the best of the breed.

Trust me: In 35 years, when you're at the Amelia Island Concours winning the award for "Best American Vehicle: 1990 through 2020," you'll thank me. And I'll be standing right there, grinning and giving you a thumbs up as your Aztek rolls across the stage. The rest of the crowd will shield their eyes.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Autotrader Find: Pristine 2001 Pontiac Aztek - Autotrader