1988 Pontiac Bonneville SE 3.8 V6 from North America
160,000 km, new waterpump, new fuel pump and fuel line.
215,000 km - Rebuilt transmission, my fault, because a rusty cooler line dumped all the fluid and I burned up the clutch packs.
215,000 km - new front struts, new alternator.
220,000 km - fix minor rust and repaint.
220,000 km - front passenger window fell all the way down due to faulty track - a common problem. I was able to lift the window closed.
230,000 km sensor magnet for camshaft position sensor fell off. I never fixed this because it actually was a good thing. The ECM is designed to revert to a 'batch fire mode for the fuel injection, instead of the normal sequential method. I found I got slightly MORE power in this default mode, with no loss in fuel economy.
235,000 km - Ignition module.
240,000 km - front ball joints and one driveshaft.
258,000 km - New steering rack and starter motor needed.
This car has been in my family since new and has been excellent.
This SE model combines the performance parts of the SSE - sport suspension, aluminum wheels, sporty exhaust and shorter final drive gearing, with the LE cloth interior.
It is very roomy, with lots of glass area. Easy to see out and easy to drive. Engine has ample low and mid-range power. Quick take-off and very responsive. Transmission shifts quickly and firmly.
The handling is excellent, level cornering, good road feel and really hangs on in the corners. Nice, firm ride.
The dashboard has excellent gauges, easy to read and very visible. The stereo is easy to use and sounds okay. The seats are way too flat and not supportive but the cloth is very durable and long-lasting.
Mechanically the car was very reliable, and fairly easy to fix. Parts were cheap.
This car is roomy and large, but quite lightweight. The only bad thing is that the structure is not very rigid. After 200,000 km and a bit of rust, I found the body structure would shake and quiver over bumps. If you stepped on the gas or brake firmly, the whole body would twist a bit... you could feel the doors shift on the door frames a bit.
In the early '90's, GM made the Bonneville structure stronger... but a bit heavier.
I stopped driving the car because there were a couple of small rust holes... but they were in critical areas around the front subframe mounts. The subframe was starting to break loose, and would lead to a loss of control.
This car was excellent and I loved it. I wish I could find another, but up here in the Rust belt, they are all gone.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th December, 2009