Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,300*


1992 Pontiac Grand Am 4-door sedan


1993 Pontiac Grand Am SE 2-door coupe


1996 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2-door coupe


1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE interior


1992 Pontiac Grand Am GT interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Ride (GT)
  • Road noise

Grand Am has been far more successful than its cousins at Buick and Oldsmobile because Pontiac provides the right blend of image and price.

Overview

This front-drive 2- or 4-door compact got new styling, and shared its platform with the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Achieva, and Chevrolet Corsica/Beretta. Grand Ams rode the same 103.4-inch wheelbase, but were stretched over six inches in length, to 186.9 inches. Interior dimensions and trunk capacity were nearly identical to the previous year. Pontiac once again provided two trim levels–SE and GT–both with 4-cylinder engines. Optional for both the SE and GT was GM’s 160-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. Four-cylinders came with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. All V6s got a 3-speed automatic.

Yearly Updates

1993 Grand Am
Grand Am’s three 4-cylinder engines all lose five horsepower in ’93 as GM tries to refine its harsh and noisy Quad 4 series of engines. Inside, Grand Am’s climate controls are revised, while the SE gets new instrument-panel graphics.
1994 Grand Am
For ’94, a driver-side airbag, new V6 engine, and a new automatic transmission are the key changes to Pontiac’s best-selling model. Despite the new airbag, the Grand Am retains its door-mounted front seatbelts that can be left buckled for automatic deployment as “passive” restraints. Replacing last year’s 160-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 as an option on both models is a 3.1-liter V6 rated at 155 horsepower. It comes only with a 4-speed automatic.
1995 Grand Am
Standard on both SE and GT is a revised version of the 16-valve Quad 4 engine. It finally receives two internal balance shafts, designed to make it run smoother. Horsepower is rated at 150 with a standard 5-speed manual. Engineering changes include the addition of variable-effort power steering as an option and rear suspension revisions designed to improve handling.
1996 Grand Am
New front and rear fascias, grille, hood, headlamps, taillamps, and exterior trim treatments give the Grand Am a bolder, more aggressive look. Along with dual airbags, Grand Am buyers will be pleased to find an entirely new instrument panel. Another new base engine, dubbed the Twin Cam, is a 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. The 3.1-liter V6 remains an optional choice. Both engines come with new 100,000-mile spark plugs and long-life, 5-year/standard 100,000-mile engine coolant. Traction control is a new feature for 1996, and comes when the automatic transmission is selected.
1997 Grand Am
The only change for ’97 is the addition of air conditioning to the standard equipment list of all models.
1998 Grand Am
In anticipation of an all-new model, only standard antilock brakes are new for ’98.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Pontiac base SE model comes equipped with the single overhead-camshaft Quad OHC. At introduction, it provides 120 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. It comes with a manual 5-speed and optional 3-speed automatic. Optional for the SE is a dual-overhead-cam Quad 4, producing 160 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 155 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. The automatic is the only gearbox provided. The Grand Am GT comes standard with a High-Output, double-overhead-cam version of the Quad 4. It pumps out 180 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 160 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. Engineering changes for ’93 result in all three 4-cylinder engines losing five horsepower. Optional for both the SE and GT versions is a new V6 powertrain. Paired with a 3-speed automatic, GM’s 3.3-liter V6 is the first to appear under the hood of a Grand Am since 1987. It delivers 160 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 2000 rpm. A 4-speed automatic arrives for ’94, along with a smaller 3.1-liter V6 replacing the 3.3-liter unit. It generates 155 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. A revised, 150-horsepower Quad 4 with balance shafts arrives in ’95, while for ’96 the Quad OHC base engine is replaced with a new 2.4-liter Twin Cam. It produces 150 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 150 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. It’s paired with either the standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic gearbox.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 115-120
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 140
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
24/33
24/31
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
23/33
22/32
20.8
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 155
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

21/29

21.9

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 155-180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150-160
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
21/31
22/29
21.7

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.3/204
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

19/29

Road Test

Acceleration with the base 115/120-horsepower Quad OHC is only adequate, and the engine becomes rough and raucous above 3000 rpm. Later 4-cylinders and V6s provide excellent acceleration and both V6s are smooth. All engines are fairly fuel efficient, but still have a ways to go before they catch the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

The base suspension furnishes a fairly well-controlled ride, but allows lots of body lean in turns, and the base tires have only modest grip in the corners. The SE’s optional handling suspension package and wider tires improve the Grand Am’s road manners without adding undue ride harshness. The GT handles crisply during sudden changes in direction, but tends to jolt and thump more over bumps. The standard antilock brakes stop the Grand Am quickly and precisely.

Though interior dimensions change only fractionally, the rear seat feels more spacious, partly due to new thin-line front seatbacks, more toe room under the front cushions, and a rear seatback that’s not as vertical as before. Entry into the sedan is tight because doors are narrow at the bottom. With the new instrument panel, all gauges are larger and provide unobstructed views. Also, radio and climate-control systems are closer to the driver. Access to the trunk benefits from a new lid that opens at a 90-degree angle.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2-door

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 45

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.4 186.9 68.7 53.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.2 15.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 36.5 43.3 33.9
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.4 186.9 68.7 53.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.2 15.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 37.0 43.3 34.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1998 Grand Am 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 107
Injury 106
Theft 91

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: 4T60E transmissions may drop out of drive while cruising; shift erratically; or have no second, third, or fourth gear because of a bad ground connection for the shift solenoids. (1994)
Automatic transmission
Description: TH-125 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (1992-94)
Engine noise
Description: A tick or rattle when the engine is started cold may be due to too much wrist-pin-to-piston clearance. (1994-95)
Engine noise
Description: Bearing knock was common on many 3.3-liter engines due to too much clearance on the No. 1 main bearing. (1992-93)
Engine noise
Description: A rattling noise from the engine when the car is started after sitting is often caused by automatic-transmission pump starvation or a sticking pressure-regulator valve. (1994-95)
Engine noise
Description: Ticking on cold startup may be due to excessive piston pin to bore clearance. (1994-98)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1998)
Ignition switch
Description: The ignition switch may not return from the start to the run position and the accessories such as the radio, wipers, cruise control, power windows, rear defroster, or heater may not work because the screws that hold the switch in place were overtightened. (1992-94)
Radiator
Description: Some cars mysteriously lose coolant. The common problem is a bad seal on the pressure cap on the surge tank that is connected to the radiator. (1992-94)
Traction control indicator light
Description: The ETC warning light “ETC OFF” may glow and the cruise control stops working. If the computer failure memory is cleared, everything returns to normal. No current fix. (1996)
Transaxle leak
Description: The right front-axle seal at the automatic transaxle is prone to leak. GM issued a revised seal to correct the problem. (1992-94)
Valve cover leaks
Description: The plastic valve covers on the 3.1-liter engine were prone to leaks and should be replaced with redesigned aluminum valve covers. (1994-95)

Recall History

1992
Description: Bolts and nuts that attach bearing-hub assembly to rear axle are insufficiently tightened on some cars.
1992
Description: Small number of cars have incorrect upper spring seat at right rear.
1992 coupe
Description: Passenger-side easy-entry seat adjuster on some cars may fail to fully lock into position after seatback has been tilted and seat slid forward.
1994
Description: Welds in rear assembly of fuel tank may be insufficient to prevent leakage in certain rear-impact collisions, increasing risk of fire.
1996
Description: Steering-column lower pinch bolt was not properly tightened. This could cause loss of steering control.
1996
Description: Front and/or rear hazard warning lamps might not work.
1996
Description: Interior lamps might come on unexpectedly while vehicle is being driven.
1996
Description: If the key is held in the “start” position for an extended period, high current flowing through the ignition switch can melt internal switch parts.
1997
Description: Omitted fuse cover could result in short circuit and possible fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.