Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,800 – $4,700*


1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP


1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 2-door


1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 2-door


2000 Pontiac Grand Prix SE


1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 4-door

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (supercharged engine)

Pontiac’s reworked midsize was a big hit from the start. Sales of the ’97 model ran more than 50 percent of 1996 levels, though naturally its popularity tapered off later. Brashly styled with a confident stance, Grand Prix is a highly capable, sporty midsize car that challenges the class leaders in overall value.

Overview

Redesigned for 1997, bigger in size and racier in appearance, Grand Prix shared its front-drive, midsize platform with Buick’s Century. It was also related to the latest Buick Regal and Oldsmobile Intrigue, both of which would debut for 1998. Coupes and sedans had the same styling, except for rear doors and quarter panels. A wider stance was touted as a revival of Pontiac’s “Wide Track” look of the 1960s. In fact, track width (distance between wheels on the same axle) grew by more 2 inches in front and 3 inches in the rear, compared to ’96 models. Grand Prix came as a base SE sedan or a sportier GT coupe and sedan, as well as with a high-performance GTP package–available for GT models in either body style. Neither Buick nor Oldsmobile offered coupe versions of their midsize models.All Grand Prix models used V6 engines and a 4-speed automatic transmission. A 3.1-liter V6 went into the SE, but those models were delayed for a few months after the car’s introduction in summer 1996. A 3.8-liter V6, available right off the bat, was optional in the SE and standard in GT models. Topping the line, the GTP edition (actually an option package) got a supercharged version of the 3.8-liter unit. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes were standard, as was traction control (but not with the supercharged engine). Also standard was a tire-pressure monitor. A built-in child seat was a new option. Rivals included the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, and Toyota Camry.

Yearly Updates

1998 Grand Prix
Few changes came this year, except that traction control now was available with the supercharged engine. Airbags were “depowered” to deploy with reduced force.
1999 Grand Prix
Detail changes marked the ’99 editions of Pontiac’s midsize coupe and sedan. The nonsupercharged V6 engine gained five horsepower. GT models got a standard rear spoiler this year. Available 16-inch alloy wheels came in a new 5-spoke design. New options included a Bose 8-speaker audio system and a heated driver’s seat.
2000 Grand Prix
Wheels were revised and the nose restyled on Pontiac’s midsize coupe and sedan. The standard 3.1-liter V6, installed in SE models, gained 15 horsepower (now 175). New standard equipment included rear child-seat anchors and an antitheft system that disabled the starter unless the proper ignition key was used. Pontiac also launched a Daytona 500 pace-car replica, with silver paint, unique 16-inch aluminum wheels, functional hood vents, a decklid spoiler, bright exhaust tips, and Daytona decals. Only 2000 were planned. By now, the list of Grand Prix competitors included the Toyota Solara coupe and Chevrolet Impala sedan.
2001 Grand Prix
OnStar, formerly available on all Grand Prixs, was made standard on GTP, optional only on GT for 2001. SE got revised frontal styling, standard rear spoiler, and in-trunk emergency release; dual-zone manual climate-control was standard on GTP.
2002 Grand Prix
New for 2002 was a 40th Anniversary Package which included a rear spoiler, hood ducts, chrome wheels, Dark Cherry paint, and unique red-and-gray interior trim. The SE gained standard cruise control and dual-zone climate control, and GTs got a standard power driver’s seat and CD player.
2003 Grand Prix
Pontiac dropped the 2-dr coupe version of its midsize car for 2003 and makes antilock brakes and traction control optional instead of standard on most of the remaining sedans. Grand Prix was redesigned for 2004.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Three engines were available under Grand Prix hoods. A 3.1-liter V6, rated 160 horsepower, went in the base SE sedan. Optional in the SE and standard on Grand Prix GT coupes and sedans was a 195-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6, which later grew to 200 horsepower. Topping the performance chart was a supercharged variant of the 3.8-liter, whipping up 240 horses. All Grand Prix models had a 4-speed automatic transmission. For 2000, the base engine gained 15 horsepower.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 160-175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185-195
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/29

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 195-200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220-225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/30

17.1

Supercharged ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 280
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/27

18.8

Road Test

Acceleration from a standing start is adequate with the 3.1-liter V6, strong with the 3.8-liter, and almost ferocious with the supercharged engine–with no loss of refinement. The transmission changes gears with world-class smoothness, and downshifts quickly for passing. Our test 3.8-liter SE averaged 22.7 mpg in mostly highway driving–including a high of 27 on the highway and a low of 15 mpg in urban commuting. The GTP returned only 17-18 mpg–on the required premium gasoline–so its supercharged performance does not come cheap.

Road noise is prominent on all models at highway speeds. Wind and engine noise are low, but tire thrum frequently intrudes. Braking is strong, but pedal modulation mediocre. Grand Prix feels agile and sure-footed on winding roads. Steering is more precise than before. The SE and GT have a stable, comfortable ride with little bouncing over wavy surfaces. Their firm suspension absorbs most bumps well and provides capable handling with little body lean. The GTP’s tauter suspension gives slightly sharper handling and it reacts more abruptly to potholes, yielding more tire thump, but the ride still does not rate as harsh.

Head room is plentiful all around. There’s ample room for four adults, and a fifth can squeeze into the rear seat. With front seats pushed all the way back, leg room is still adequate out back. The rear bench is low to the floor and provides little support. Doors open wide to allow easy entry/exit, though the rakish roofline provides a slight impediment. Overall, the dashboard looks busy and cluttered. Gauges and controls are well-illuminated by Pontiac’s traditional red lighting, and most switchgear is clearly labeled, easy to find and use. Uplevel stereos have small buttons that are haphazardly arranged, making it hard to pick out any particular one in a hurry. Visibility is good to the front and sides, but the high parcel shelf blocks the driver’s view of the trunk when backing up. You get ample luggage space in a fairly deep trunk.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP sedan

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 - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 55

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.5 196.5 72.7 54.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.0 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 36.5 42.4 36.1
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.5 196.5 72.7 54.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.0 18.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 36.7 42.4 35.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Grand Prix 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

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

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 89
Injury 65
Theft 99

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: During moderate application, the rear brakes make a moaning sound. New pads are available to correct the problem. (1998-99)
Coolant leak
Description: The 3.8-liter V6 may leak coolant into the engine from the intake manifold. A new gasket kit, revised throttle body nuts, and sealing compound is available. Redesigned manifolds are also available in the aftermarket. (1997-2004)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1997-03)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control cancels when the wipers are running, the cruise control module and ground wires must be replaced. (1997-98)
Door handles
Description: On white cars, the door handles turn yellow from the lock-cylinder grease. The company will replace the cylinders under warranty and there is a colorless grease available. (1997-99)
Doors
Description: The power door locks fail due to a rubber part breaking on the actuator arm inside the door. (1997)
Engine misfire
Description: The 3800 engine develops an ignition miss because the grease in the spark-plug boots causes them to crack. (1997-98)
Engine noise
Description: Ticking on cold startup may be due to excessive piston pin to bore clearance. (1997-98)
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. (1999-2000)
Poor transmission shift
Description: The transmission may not shift out of third gear because the wires from the torque-converter switch rub and short out on the air-cleaner housing. (1998)
Tail/brake lights
Description: If water leaks into the left taillight housing, it must be replaced with a countermeasure housing. (1997)
Wipers
Description: The windshield wipers may not park at the bottom of the windshield because water gets into the motor assembly and freezes. (1997-98)
Wipers
Description: The wipers may not stop in the correct position due to a problem with the wiper motor bracket. (2002)
Check-engine light
Description: Chafed wiring harness near the A/C accumulator can cause check-engine light, no-start, ABS warning light, stalling, or poor drivability. (1999-2001)

Recall History

1997
Description: Windshield wipers may stop working, due to separation between drive pin and crescent in crank-arm assembly.
1997-03 Grand Prix equipped with a 3.8L V6 engine
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold during hard braking. If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame. Dealers will remove the spark plug wire retention channel at the front of engine and install two new spark plug wire retainers free of charge.
1997-98
Description: Faulty power-steering bearings may have been installed on certain vehicles, resulting in difficulty turning the steering wheel. Dealers will inspect and replace all affected parts.
1997-99
Description: When the hazard-flasher switch is used to turn the hazard flashers on or off, the retained accessory power feature can be activated without a key in the ignition.
1999
Description: Driver’s airbag-inflator modules could produce excessive internal pressure. In the event of a crash, the increased internal pressure can cause the inflator module to explode.
2000
Description: Front passenger-airbag modules in a few cars have undersized inflator orifice; in a crash, this can cause inflator module to explode.
2000
Description: Some seatbelt assemblies were not properly heat treated and do not pass the load-bearing requirement.
2001
Description: Passenger airbag-inflator modules may have been built without the correct amount of explosive. Airbag explosion or failure could occur.
2003
Description: Right rear brake hose may be too loose, resulting in loss of brake fluid. Dealer will inspect vehicle and tighten affected brake hoses.

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.