Pontiac Sunfire Reviews from Mexico

1997 Pontiac Sunfire GM Twin Cam, L4 2.4 liter

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission GM Twin Cam, L4 2.4 liter Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance111400 kilometres

Summary:

A sedan with a cramped interior, but a great engine

Faults:

First 50,000 kilometers are rather nebulous because I got this from my mother. IIRC, we had some issues with the alternator, and one of the electric windows. We tried to fix it at the car dealer, but official dealers in Mexico are usually overpriced and sometimes change parts gratuitously to charge more money, so we had issues with the car for some time.

At 50,000 km we replaced the battery. We used an unofficial battery (LTH, not Delco) rated for medium sedans, so far with good results.

At roughly 65,000 km we replaced the engine mounts from old age (8 years). By that time we had already switched to an unofficial repair shop that has already been proved reliable by a family friend.

At around 75,000 km the microcontroller was damaged. We had it replaced along with a couple of popped hoses from old age (10 years).

At 90,000 km my brother drove into a ditch and destroyed two injectors, two spark plugs, one of the mounts and a section of exhaust. The towing crane's driver latched the car improperly and ripped apart the oil pan. The Sunfire remained in the repair shop for about two weeks. Against all odds, it survived with performance completely unaltered!

At 100,000 km we replaced a damaged power steering pipe from previous incident, and fixed a couple of oil leaks caused by normal wear and tear (11 years).

At 111,111 km we fixed the air conditioning. Old age (12 years) had rusted both condenser and evaporator, so we had them replaced. The rest of the system was intact.

General Comments:

Performance:

This car is much more than a family sedan. It's bona fide Detroit muscle!

Its 2.4 L, inline-4 GM Twin Cam engine boasts an extremely solid performance, with constant, smooth acceleration along the entire powerband, and the 4-gear automatic transmission not only has a great response, but thanks to its powerful engine, it never shifts unnecessarily to a lower gear.

Even though my family already has more recent cars, I outright refuse to drive them because I just love the kick I get when I step on the gas pedal!

Reliability:

This car was made in 1997, when cars still had mechanical components; the throttle body, for example, is driven by a cable that connects it directly with the pedal. Therefore, maintenance is rather inexpensive and readily available.

The engine is quite reliable for its old age IMO, being the only two serious malfunctions the damaged microcontroller and all the damage it took when it was driven into a ditch.

The engine is even quite rugged: it can run on regular water instead of antifreeze, with minimal amounts of oil available, with no signs of malfunction. It's a greatly reliable car, and definitely a great money investment.

Comfort:

This would be the only low point I would have against this car. The seats are neither too flabby nor too hard, just right, the red and orange lights and the interiors make the car look actually kinda modern, and the driving posture is comfortable.

However, the back seat is quite cramped, and sitting there is uncomfortable. I usually have to move my seat forward so the passengers can have enough room for their legs.

Dealer service:

Not much to bring home about. Dealer service in Mexico is invariably and universally overpriced, slow, sometimes unreliable, and they gratuitously replace parts to sell more. It pretty much comes down to whether you know or not a reliable service shop.

Running costs:

While this car is certainly not as expensive as a large truck, it's not a cheap car either. Driving 20 km five days a week, 10 downhill and 10 uphill, one full tank of gas usually lasts for two weeks, plus an extra for a couple of weekend nights out. The 50 liter tank costs $400 pesos ($30 USD) to fill, which means an average of $800 pesos / $60 USD per month. It may not seem much, but compared with a Civic that can run on $40 monthly dollars, it's not cheap either.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2009

1999 Pontiac Sunfire Sedan 4 dr. 2.4 L4 VIN/T Twin cam

Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.4 L4 VIN/T Twin cam Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired550 kilometres
Most recent distance95620 kilometres
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

Very good car, but very expensive

Faults:

Steering

Every time I turn the wheel, it makes clunking noises. I noticed this 3 months after I bought it brand new.

According to the mechanic is the steering shaft. I have not fixed it yet.

General Comments:

Reliable car. It looks excellent and the engine performance is excellent, even at 7000 foot altitude.

Great engine.

I do not like comfort it has real hard struts and shocks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2003

12th Sep 2003, 20:45

I agree with you 100%. I have a 99 sun fire I bought it used 1 1\2 ago and I have had nothing but problems. my altenator went my water pump. now my motor mount is broken my head lights are not working. I have the same clunking in the steering and I have not got it fixed yet. I have an endless amount of problems with this car and I am trying to get rid of it. at this present moment. I will never recommend anyone buying a sun fire.

Thank you.

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 2 reviews