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


1993 Pontiac Grand Prix LE 4-door sedan


1996 Pontiac Grand Prix SE 2-door coupe


1995 Pontiac Grand Prix 4-door sedan


1993 Pontiac Grand Prix interior


1990 Pontiac Grand Prix interior

Pros:
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Handling
Cons:
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat comfort
  • Ride (optional suspensions, tires)
  • Road noise

We rate the Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable, and Honda Accord higher overall. But with the gradual improvements bestowed on the Grand Prix, it is a good choice as well.

Overview

A redesigned front-drive Grand Prix arrived in 1987 in 2-door coupe form only. By 1990, the lineup added a 4-door. Grand Prix was similar to the Chevrolet Lumina, Buick Regal, and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Initially, the new sedan came in either LE or sporty STE trim. The Grand Prix coupe came in LE, SE, and Turbo trim. A 160-horsepower 2.3-liter 4-cylinder was the standard engine on the LE, while a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6 powered the SE and STE models. The V6 could also be ordered for the LE. A turbocharged version of the V6 was standard on the Turbo Grand Prix Coupe, and was an optional engine for the STE sedan. Antilock brakes were standard on the Turbo Coupe, optional on all other models.

Yearly Updates

1991 Grand Prix
Although the limited-edition Grand Prix Turbo coupe has been retired, the GTP retains the Turbo model’s flared fenders, hood louvers, and lacy alloys wheels. In place of the turbocharged 3.1-liter V6 sits a brand-new 3.4-liter, double-overhead-cam, 24-valve V6. Where the turbocharged engine provided 205 horsepower, the new engine delivers 210 horsepower with a 5-speed manual and 200 horsepower with GM’s new electronically controlled 4-speed automatic. The new engine is an available option on all other Grand Prix models, except the LE sedan. Also, all coupes get new front-end styling marked by a new grille, four mini headlamps, and standard fog lamps.
1992 Grand Prix
For ’92 all Grand Prix models adopt the front-end look of last year’s STE model, while the 3.1-liter V6 becomes standard equipment and antilock brakes are more readily available.
1993 Grand Prix
A 4-speed automatic transmission is newly available with the base 3.1-liter V6, and automatic door locks are now standard on all versions of the Grand Prix. To get a car comparable to last year’s GTP requires specifying the optional 3.4-liter V6, along with the Aero Performance Package.
1994 Grand Prix
Heading the list of changes to the ’94 Grand Prix are dual airbags, a simplified model lineup, and a new base engine. With dual airbags standard, the seatbelt anchors have been moved to the door frame on sedans, but remain anchored to the doors of all coupe models. As part of the model-simplification plan, only the SE model returns in both 2-door and 4-door formats, as both LE and STE sedan models are dropped, along with the GT and GTP coupe. With the model change, antilock brakes become optional on all models. Taking a look at powertrains, the base engine remains a 3.1-liter V6, but this year’s unit is an entirely new design, and makes 160 horsepower compared to 140 from the previous V6. The optional twin-cam 3.4-liter V6 has been upgraded to produce 210 horsepower with the 4-speed automatic.
1995 Grand Prix
With all the adjustments made last year, few changes were made to the 1995 Grand Prix.
1996 Grand Prix
A variety of detail changes to the Grand Prix took place in its last year prior to a complete makeover for 1997. This year the optional 3.4-liter 24-valve V6 engine provides 215 horsepower, five more than last year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Powering the base Grand Prix LE model in 1990 is a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Quad 4, while a 3.1-liter V6 comes standard on SE and STE models. The V6 can also be ordered for the LE. The Quad 4 provides 160 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 155 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. The normally aspirated V6 delivers 140 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm. A turbocharged version of the V6 is standard on the Turbo Grand Prix Coupe, optional for the STE sedan. The turbo engine cranks out 205 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. The turbocharged V6 is replaced in ’91 with a brand-new 3.4-liter, double-overhead-cam, 24-valve V6, and comes standard on the new GTP model. This engine delivers 210 horsepower at 5000 rpm with a 5-speed manual, 200 horsepower with GM’s new electronically controlled 4-speed automatic. Torque is rated at 215 pound-feet at 4000 rpm. The new engine is an available option on all other Grand Prixs, except the LE sedan. Beginning in ’92, the 3.1-liter V6 becomes the standard engine, replacing the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Quad 4. For ’93, a new 4-speed automatic transmission is available for the base 3.1-liter V6 as well. For ’94, the base engine remains a 3.1-liter V6, but the entirely new design produces 20 more horsepower than the previous engine, with 160 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Also the optional twin-cam 3.4-liter V6 is upgraded in ’94 to produce 210 horsepower with the 4-speed automatic, the same as when equipped with the 5-speed manual–dropped for ’94–making the 4-speed automatic the only available gearbox, as the aging 3-speed automatic is also eliminated as member of the powertrain team.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 140-160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180-185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
19/28
19/27
19/30

20.1

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

21/29

Turbocharged ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

16/25

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 210-215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200-215
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/27
17/26
18.7

Road Test

It’s best to avoid models with the noisy 4-cylinder engine. However, the 3.1-liter V6 provides ample acceleration with much less noise and vibration. Turbo engines provide outstanding acceleration, but suffer from “turbo lag” and poor fuel economy. The best engine choice is the dohc 3.4-liter V6, which provides the acceleration of the turbo engine without the lag and ruckus.

Inside, the cabin of the 1990-1993 Grand Prix with its backlit red gauge cluster works hard to emulate the continental flair of the BMW. However, Pontiac is not quite able to capture the European maturity or purposefulness. Revisions to the cabin in 1994 bring long overdue improvements. The new controls are both simpler to use and easier to reach. Large, soft-touch rotary dials replace the climate system’s fussy, undersized switches and sliders. Select either the coupe or sedan and you should find the cabin capable of transporting four adults in relative pleasure–but the back seat is too low and uncomfortable.

Pontiac’s suspension tuning gives the Grand Prix somewhat more composed road manners than the Lumina, Regal, and Cutlass Supreme, especially over bumps and dips. Cornering ability is especially impressive on cars equipped with the Y99 rally suspension package, but drivers must endure a harsher ride.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix SE 2-door 3.4-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 - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

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

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 46

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 194.8 71.9 52.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.9 16.5 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 36.6 42.3 34.8
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 194.9 71.9 52.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.5 16.5 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 37.7 42.4 36.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Grand Prix 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

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 73
Injury 75
Theft 67

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. (1991-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: TH-125 or 440-T4 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (1990-94)
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: 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. (1991-95)
Steering noise
Description: The upper bearing mount in the steering column can get loose and cause a clicking, requiring a new bearing spring and turn-signal cancel cam. (1994-96)
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

1990
Description: Stoplamps may not illuminate.
1990 w/Kelsey-Hayes steel wheels
Description: Cracks may develop in wheel mounting surface.
1990-91 in 15 states
Description: Due to corrosion of front engine cradle bolts, where road-salt usage is heavy, steering shaft could separate from steering gear.
1991
Description: Front-door shoulder-belt guide loops may be cracked.
1991 coupe
Description: Fog lamps and low- and high-beam headlamps can be operated simultaneously on some cars, causing circuit breaker to overload and trip.
1992
Description: Reverse servo pin of 4-speed automatic transmission may bind.
1993
Description: Manual recliner mechanisms on some front seats will not latch under certain conditions, causing seatback to recline without prior warning.
1994-95
Description: Wiper/washer may operate intermittently, or not at all.
1995
Description: Seatbelt anchor can fracture in crash.
1995
Description: Center rear-seatbelt anchor plate could fracture in a crash.

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.