Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door hatchback
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $3,300*


1991 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 2-door hatchback


1991 Pontiac Firebird 2-door convertible


1990 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 2-door hatchback


1991 Pontiac Firebird 2-door convertible interior


1990 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am V-8 engine

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V8)
  • Handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Wet-weather traction
  • Passenger room (rear)
  • Ride

Firebirds can deliver plenty of performance, and the ragtops certainly have eye-appeal, but you’ll pay a high price–in high insurance premiums to start with, followed by the lack of comfort and poor fuel economy.

Overview

A restyled Firebird (and similar Chevy Camaro) went on sale in spring 1990 as an early 1991 model. The new rear-drive Firebird was mechanically unchanged, but sported new front and rear fascias, smaller retractable headlamps, and a restyled rear spoiler. Firebird was available in both 2-door hatchback and convertible form with four engines. They included a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6, a 170-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, a 200-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, and a 235-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. The 5.7 V8 came only with an automatic transmission, while the other engines offered both an automatic and a 5-speed manual gearbox. A driver-side airbag was standard on all Firebirds, but antilock brakes were not offered.

Yearly Updates

1991 Firebird
New for the base model is a Sport Appearance Package that mimics the look of the pricey Trans Am/GTA. Also, Trans Am models trade last year’s standard 15-inch tires for 16s, mounted on the GTA’s lacy spoke wheels. Both the 5.0-liter V8 and the 5.7-liter V8 provide more performance, adding five more horsepower than last year. But that’s only a start. A new Street Legal Performance package for the 5.7 and high-output 5.0-liter V8s provide up to 50 additional horsepower.
1992 Firebird
Very little changes for Pontiac’s 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe as it awaits a redesigned 1993 model.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Pontiac provides its entry-level Firebird with a 3.1-liter V6 that offers 140 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm. The step-up Formula models receive a 5.0-liter V8 that provides 170 horsepower at 4000 rpm and 255 pound-feet of torque at 2400 rpm. The Formula’s V8 is optional for the base model. Standard on the Trans Am and optional on the others is a High Output 5.0-liter V8 that delivers anywhere from 200 to 230 horsepower, depending on the exhaust system, transmission, and other equipment. The high-end Trans Am GTA features the 5.7-liter V8, which is an optional engine for both the Trans Am and Formula. Its horsepower ratings range from 235 to 240 at 4400 rpm, and torque figures reach 340 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. The 5.7 V8 comes only with an automatic, while the other engines offer both an automatic and a 5-speed manual gearbox.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/27
18/27
18.2
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/305
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 255
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/26
17/26
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/305
Engine HP 200-230
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 285-300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
16/26
17/25
16.5

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/350
Engine HP 235-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 340
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/25

Road Test

Firebird celebrated its 25th year in 1992–the 11th model in the then-current generation–and its age was beginning to show. All models can pack a strong V8 punch and carve corners with the best of them–as long as the pavement is smooth and dry. But a light rear end, wide performance tires, and a powerful engine can add up to real trouble in rain or snow. Also, the Firebird’s firm suspension tuning on sportier models results in flat cornering, but a bone-jarring ride.

Inside, leg and head room are adequate in front, but forget about carrying adults in the back seat. The instrumentation consists of large, round gauges that are easy to read, but the airbag-equipped steering wheel sticks out far from the dash, crowding the driver’s chest.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Pontiac Firebird convertible 5.0-liter

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 - 9
90%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 42

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.0 195.1 72.4 49.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.4 15.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.1 36.1 42.9 28.3
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.0 195.1 72.4 49.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
31.0 15.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.0 35.6 43.0 28.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Firebird 2-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

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

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 145
Injury 119
Theft 153

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: TH-700-R4 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (1990-92)

Recall History

1990
Description: Fuel return hoses on 5.0- or 5.7-liter V8 engines may break at either crimped coupling.
1990
Description: Plastic components of seatbelt-buckle assemblies could be weakened by exposure to direct sunlight and high interior temperatures.
1991
Description: Metal latchplates of seatbelts may not engage buckle assemblies.
1992
Description: Fuel-filler neck’s solder joint can develop cracks or leaks.
1992
Description: Automatic-transmission shift control cable can separate.

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.