2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 3.8L V6
A nice beater
Well... it hasn't been meticulously maintained.
I would change the oil, and fix things that posed an immediate issue or popped the SES light. 2 MAF sensors, coolant elbows, rear shocks, 4 wheel bearings, O2 sensor, parking brake, brake lines (rusted and leaking at 220k miles), 4 window regulators/motors, head unit and speakers (stock clock stopped working, all speakers eventually blew. Wasn't a bad choice to upgrade anyway), battery, starter, various little things here and there. Nothing unusual for a high-mileage vehicle, although this was my first and only, so I don't know.
Currently, 2 power windows are busted again. The A/C and windshield washers have never worked since I've owned the car, fuel gauge doesn't work, major water leak on front passenger floor, SRS light on (probably due to corrosion from the leak), oil is burning, undiagnosed rattling noise at cold start that disappears after 5 seconds of driving, low oil pressure at idle for over a year.
This seems like a whole lot, but the car has never left me stranded. Considering I've spent maybe $5000 on the car in 5 years, that's not too bad. It's braved daily commutes of 60 or 30 miles, long road trips, even a few cross-country. I enjoyed my time with this car.
I give it a 10 for performance, not because it's a race car or anything, but because it has the perfect level of power for anything you throw at it (besides racing.) Getting up to highway speed is smooth and quick, and it's easy to accelerate even from 75 to 85 for a quick pass.
I must note the auto transmission is buttery-smooth and flawless, even after 240k with ZERO service. Fluid looks perfect. It gets a bit silly sometimes when you slam on it, but it feels very nice and smooth otherwise. Power delivery and response is immediate, even at high speeds.
It's also a very capable handler for such a big car. Very little body lean and the car grips the road confidently. Steering is very responsive.
Braking distance is impressive! I can't give a number, but I've had so many moments where I thought the car would not stop in time, and it did. So A+.
I feel as though I've been a bit spoiled. I'm looking at newer, low-mileage cars, and few feel as confident, responsive, and capable as my rotting Grand Prix. It's quite a fun car to drive, in a utilitarian manner.
It's also quite comfortable for long trips. Not perfect, you'll need to stretch your legs now and then, but the driving position feels very natural. I must add that the cruise control is more competent than any other car I've driven (not a lot, but still). That's impressive for its age. It can handle hilly terrain without a hitch, and I find controlling it from the turn signal stalk to be a lot more convenient and easy than buttons on the steering wheel.
Also, the features are pretty great for an older car. Traction control, trip computer, 4-wheel disc brakes, automatic dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, dual lighted vanity mirrors... pretty neat!
I would definitely recommend this as a first car or a winter beater. It's responsive and steady enough to teach a kid to really drive, with simple, unobtrusive controls. I've also found the handling in the snow to be quite decent. It's also pretty spacious, easy to work on, and parts are cheap. The exterior styling is great and unique. Still a beautiful car that attracts a lot of attention.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th November, 2015
15th Nov 2015, 03:46
Regarding the transmission getting silly, you may want to check out this brief-but-informative article - http://etereman.com/blog/general-motors-transmission/a-history-lesson-on-the-gm-4t65e-transmission-and-discussion-of-some-common-problems-and-their-cures