Compact car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,700 – $5,500*


1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2-door coupe


2001 Pontiac Grand Am SE 2-door coupe


1999 Pontiac Grand Am SE 4-door sedan


1999 Pontiac Grand Am interior


2001 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Engine noise (4-cylinder)
  • Radio controls
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (coupe)
  • Ride

“Expressive” styling and a sporty nature draw a lot of customers to Grand Ams, but the compact isn’t as far ahead in basic engineering and construction. Though less refined than some rivals, it’s competent in most respects and exhibits enjoyable road manners.

Overview

America’s top-selling compact was redesigned for debut as an early 1999 model. About the same length as before, the front-drive coupe and 4-door sedan rode a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase and measured 2 inches wider. Interiors also were revamped. Grand Am was built from the same basic design as the Oldsmobile Alero, but styling differed considerably. Both body styles came in SE, SE1, and SE2 trim, as well as sportier GT and GT1 editions. Pontiac’s 4-cylinder engine remained standard for the SE and SE1. Standard on GTs and the SE2, and optional on the SE1, was a 3.4-liter V6 that made 170 horsepower. Sole transmission was a 4-speed automatic. Antilock brakes and traction control were standard.

Yearly Updates

2000 Grand Am
An available Getrag 5-speed manual transmission was the big change for 2000, making the automatic unit an option for 4-cylinder models. Grand Ams also added standard rear child-seat anchors. When installed in GTs, the V6 engine made 175 horsepower rather than the usual 170.
2001 Grand Am
Revised sound systems for 2001 included an 8-speaker Monsoon unit with CD/cassette and 7-band equalizer. Lower anchors for rear child seats were installed, and wheels restyled. The midrange SE2 version was dropped.
2002 Grand Am
SE and SE1 models traded a 150-hp 2.4-liter 4 cyl for a 140-hp 2.2 liter engine in 2002.
2003 Grand Am
Antilock brakes moved to the options list on the least expensive model. Grand Am sedans lost their lower-body plastic cladding. SE2 sedan is new for ’03 and upgrades SE/SE1 features with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, a six-way power driver seat, cruise control, and 16-inch wheels. Added as a midyear option for GT1s was a Solid Value Appearance package with 30th-anniversary badges and special trim.
2004 Grand Am
The only change in ’04 for the Grand Am was the addition of an MP3 option upgrade available for all models except the SE.
2005 Grand Am
Retail sales of the sedan body style cease during 2005 as Pontiac begins to phase-in Grand Am’s replacement, a new car called the G6.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Grand Ams came with a choice of three engines. A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, rated at 150 horsepower, went into the SE and SE1, teamed with either a 5-speed manual (not available initially) or 4-speed automatic transmission. A 170-hp V6 (automatic only) went into the SE2 and early GT, and was optional for the SE1. Finally, GT models had a 175-horsepower version of the V6, mated only to 4-speed automatic. SE and SE1 models traded a 150-hp 2.4-liter 4 cyl for a 140-hp 2.2 liter engine in 2002.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 150
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/33
24/32
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/146
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/31
22/30
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 195
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/32

19.4

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 205
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/32

Road Test

A Grand Am looks faster than it is in reality, though it’s not really underpowered. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine provides enough zip for most driving, though it generates some idle shake and groans loudly under hard throttle. Acceleration with the 2.2-liter 4 cyl is not as strong, but it’s adequate for most situations–with the bonus of marginally smoother, quieter operation.The V6 is quiet and smooth, swifter in around-town driving, and gets good mileage. Test V6 Grand Ams, when new, averaged 19.4 to 21.5 mpg. The well-behaved automatic transmission downshifts quickly and rarely “hunts” between gears. Manual shift adds a sporty tone, despite its somewhat notchy action. With either engine, the droning note of the sporty exhaust grows tiresome. Road and wind noise are reasonable, but tires roar intrusively and thump loudly over tar strips. Expect a choppy ride over sharp ridges and broken pavement, but the Grand Am is generally stable and resists wallowing. On smoother surfaces, the ride is firm but not harsh. Handling isn’t Eurosedan-precise, of course, but turn-in is reasonably quick, with firm steering as well as good grip and balance in corners. Stopping power is adequate, with good pedal feel.

Excess is the word for interior styling, with deeply recessed gauges and an overall cluttered look. Most controls are close at hand, though audio switches are small and poorly marked. Front leg room is generous and head room good, even with an optional sunroof. The supportive, comfortable driver’s seat adjusts to most body types. Back seat space beats the compact average, but the coupe’s rear seat is narrower, with less head room. Rear visibility is hampered by the rear spoiler (if installed). Although the trunk is spacious, its opening is small with an unusually high liftover that makes loading a chore.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE1

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 - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

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

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 42

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.0 186.3 70.4 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.6 14.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.2 42.1 35.5
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.0 186.3 70.4 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.6 14.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.6 42.1 35.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 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 - 1
20%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

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

Collision 107
Injury 106
Theft 91

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: Pulsation felt in the steering wheel and brake pedal is caused by faulty brake pads and discs. Revised parts are available. (1999-2000)
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)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks under the door and onto the floor due to a bad door gasket. A countermeasure gasket is being installed under warranty. (1999-2000)
Paint/body
Description: The rear spoiler gets distorted in the hot sun. Also, water gets inside requiring drain holes to be drilled. (1999)

Recall History

1999-00
Description: Console cover may not stay closed in a crash.
2001
Description: When shifting from 5th gear into reverse, a shift inhibitor causes the transmission to be in 4th gear, even though the lever indicates reverse gear.
2001
Description: Owner’s manual doesn’t adequately explain child-restraint anchorage system. Dealers will send vehicle owners a supplement to their manual.
2003
Description: In hot weather, accelerator pedal return to the idle position after hard acceleration. Dealers will inspect and possibly replace accelerator and brake pedal assembly.
2004
Description: Inadequate weld on fuel tank may result in fuel leakage.
2005
Description: Rear suspension knuckle bolts could fracture under high loads, which could result in sudden loss of vehicle control, particularly at higher speeds.

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.